“Stimulus” Versus Smart

Supporters, mostly Dimocrats, of the fake Obama flim-flam “stimulus” scam are like witch doctors in a grade “B” Tarzan movie.

These flim-flam enablers wave a talisman or a shrunken head and shout magic words and fearful crowds run away mumbling. The talisman and “magic” words Obama and the flim-flam enablers wave and scream are “Keynes!”, “Stimulus”, “Jobs”, “deflation”, and we are all supposed to run away bowing. In Tarzan movies the witch doctor would then throw powder which would result in flames and smoke and the natives would bow as they retreated in awe.

When the “magic” words and the talisman or shrunken head does not work – fear. They use fear – catastrophe imminent before sunset – rush rush.

When the scare tactics fail the Obama flim-flam scam resorts to promises of “goodies” for a particular cause or group, to hell with the overall economy and “smart”.

We will not retreat in awe, fear or legal bribes and enticements. We know what we are talking about. We don’t have to be lectured on John Maynard Keynes, macro-economics, or the problems of deflation or inflation.

That scarey-hopey-dopey worked on grassroots Republicans. George W. Bush and his enablers used a different talisman and different “magic” words for their purposes – but the tactics were the same: cow the thinking with scare words.

In the present case Obama’s flim-flammers say “we must have stimulus”. They ignore us when we say “we must have smart”.

* * *

We have said it before, we will say it again: Republicans in congress are being absolute, total, 100% hypocrites. They enabled George W. Bush with unthinking support. Now these same Republicans care about fiscal responsibility and deplore scare tactics.

Dimocrats in congress are now as bad as Republicans: unthinking support, no fiscal discipline, “bribes” with government money (today organized religious groups were Obama beneficiaries of government bribes money), and scare tactics.

* * *

Those doing the hopey-dopey dance want to intimidate rational argument. We have seen, even in our comment section, the effects of intellectual intimidation when rational thinking people devalue their own common sense opinions because they are not “experts” (“I don’t know too much about economics so I am confused and therefore I will accept what the experts say – Hail Obama”).

The typical method for intellectual intimidation is this: (1) use exclusionary language (abbreviations or jargon are especially helpful) to make a topic seem much more complicated then it is; (2) when challenged, employ a detail from a theory or a theorist that appears to say something (usually some claptrap) to silence the opponent; (3) declare victory.

Years ago we read Michael Guillen’s Bridges To Infinity, and Guillen explained intellectual intimidation:

… the great German mathematician Leonhard Euler confronted the eminent French scholar and atheist Denis Diderot with a spurious mathematical proof for the existence of God. Euler, it seems, accepted an invitation to meet Diderot, who at the time was in attendance at the royal court of the Russian Czar. On the day of his arrival, the story goes, Euler strode up to Diderot and proclaimed: “Monsier, (a+bn)/n=x, donc Dieu existe; repondez!” [Sir, a+bn)/n=x, therefore, God exists; respond!”]

In the past, the French scholar had eloquently and forcefully refuted many a clever philosohical argument for the existence of God, but at this moment, at a loss to comprehend the meaning of this mathematical equation, Diderot was intimidated into silence.”

* * *

Now Obama Hopium addled addicts are blaming Republicans for foolish tax cuts. But it was Obama who pushed tax cuts. During the election Obama had a “tax cut calculator” to entice voters. Obama promised tax cuts and now Hopium addled addicts are blaming Republicans for Obama’s foolishness. Of course, Obama can’t be trusted by friend nor foe – in January 2009 Obama promised the “stimulus” bill would be 40% tax cuts (which we opposed) and it is not even half that. Obama lies while he is lying.

Don’t come crying to us with the hopey-dopey-flim-flam-“stimulus”-scam. We opposed the bailouts in December and now we find out that $78 Billion (yes Billion) at the very least was wasted.

Obama and his Hopium addled addicts need to explain why we should believe their hopey-dopey-flim-flam-“stimulus”-scam will work. They need to explain why they are rushing this scam. They need to explain why fast is better than smart.

Obama and his Hopium addled addicts say “stimulus” “stimulus” as if that is supposed to impress. But not all “stimulus” is equal. They are arguing that we do not need to look at where the money is going because it is “stimulus”. Anytime you spend a trillion dollars it can be considered to be a “stimulus” – but is it smart? Just printing a trillion dollars can be considered “stimulus” because of the additional ink and printer time required. But is it smart?

Why not take a trillion dollars and throw it from the air? That cleanup alone would be a stimulus. Why not shred a trillion dollars and dump it on city streets? That would be a stimulus – many would have to be hired to collect the shredded paper – but is it smart?

Wasting a trillion dollars can be a “stimulus” but is is smart? Bribes can be a “stimulus” but is it smart? Explain Obama enablers why wasting money, albeit stimulative, is smart and should be done in a rush rush fashion.

The experience in Japan is a lesson. The New York Times today writes about how the same scam did not work in Japan:

Two decades of generous public works spending have showered this city of 61,000 mostly graying residents with a highway, a two-lane bypass, a university, a prison, a children’s art museum, the Sun Village Hamada sports center, a bright red welcome center, a ski resort and an aquarium featuring three ring-blowing Beluga whales.

Nor is this remote port in western Japan unusual. Japan’s rural areas have been paved over and filled in with roads, dams and other big infrastructure projects, the legacy of trillions of dollars spent to lift the economy from a severe downturn caused by the bursting of a real estate bubble in the late 1980s. During those nearly two decades, Japan accumulated the largest public debt in the developed world — totaling 180 percent of its $5.5 trillion economy — while failing to generate a convincing recovery.

Explain that, Obama enablers and Hopium addicts. Don’t come to us waving slogans and shouting claptrap and shouting “Keynes” and “stimulus”. Explain why trillions of dollars spent did not result in a convincing recovery.

Why the rush? We Democrats are supposed to believe in rational thought not obedience to a Mess-iah. Why the rush? Let’s examine what to do rationally instead of listening to the unqualified clown from Chicago.

Now, as the Obama administration embarks on a similar path, proposing to spend more than $820 billion to stimulate the sagging American economy, many economists are taking a fresh look at Japan’s troubled experience. While Japan is not exactly comparable to the United States — especially as a late developer with a history of heavy state investment in infrastructure — economists say it can still offer important lessons about the pitfalls, and chances for success, of a stimulus package in an advanced economy.

The rush, rush, the Chicago razzle dazzle is necessary because the Obama flim-flam “stimulus” scam is a political scam directed at the 2010 and 2012 elections not to help the economy.

A genuine economic stimulus is necessary and desirable but not the Obama flim-flam “stimulus” scam:

In a nutshell, Japan’s experience suggests that infrastructure spending, while a blunt instrument, can help revive a developed economy, say many economists and one very important American official: Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who was a young financial attaché in Japan during the collapse and subsequent doldrums. One lesson Mr. Geithner has said he took away from that experience is that spending must come in quick, massive doses, and be continued until recovery takes firm root.

Moreover, it matters what gets built: Japan spent too much on increasingly wasteful roads and bridges, and not enough in areas like education and social services, which studies show deliver more bang for the buck than infrastructure spending.

It is not enough just to hire workers to dig holes and then fill them in again,” said Toshihiro Ihori, an economics professor at the University of Tokyo. “One lesson from Japan is that public works get the best results when they create something useful for the future.”

“…it matters what gets built”. We need to spend the few dollars we have now with intelligence not on politically motivated programs. The financial houses and scammers who made billions if not trillions from preying on Americans want the Obama flim-flam “stimulus” scam – that is why they funded Obama’s flim-flam race-baiting, gay-bashing, woman-hating campaign.

We need to spend our money wisely and with deliberation. Pointing out whatever good is in the Obama flim-flam “stimulus” scam is not enough. A dollar spent on something worthwhile and twenty dollars wasted is not a reason to be for the “stimulus”. An economic stimulus bill should not be an omnibus wish fulfillment boondoggle.

In the end, say economists, it was not public works but an expensive cleanup of the debt-ridden banking system, combined with growing exports to China and the United States, that brought a close to Japan’s Lost Decade. This has led many to conclude that spending did little more than sink Japan deeply into debt, leaving an enormous tax burden for future generations.

Let’s repeat the central lesson here. Cleaning up the banking system was what helped. The waste of money merely led to debt for future generations. Repeat, rinse, repeat:

In the end, say economists, it was not public works but an expensive cleanup of the debt-ridden banking system, combined with growing exports to China and the United States, that brought a close to Japan’s Lost Decade. This has led many to conclude that spending did little more than sink Japan deeply into debt, leaving an enormous tax burden for future generations.

The Obama Hopium addled addicts and Dimocrats who repeat claptrap must read this and explain why we are wrong and they are right. Don’t try to razzle dazzle or imtimidate us. Explain!

Economists tend to divide into two camps on the question of Japan’s infrastructure spending: those, many of them Americans like Mr. Geithner, who think it did not go far enough; and those, many of them Japanese, who think it was a colossal waste.

Among ordinary Japanese, the spending is widely disparaged for having turned the nation into a public-works-based welfare state and making regional economies dependent on Tokyo for jobs. Much of the blame has fallen on the Liberal Democratic Party, which has long used government spending to grease rural vote-buying machines that help keep the party in power.

It’s a political program to grease vote buying by Obama and his Chicago crime lords.

The article quickly provides an “on the other hand”: “it saved the economy from an outright, 1930s-style collapse,” “direct comparison of Japan and the United States is inevitably misleading,” “it was never tried wholeheartedly,” “Japan spread its spending out over several years, diluting the effects,” and other excuses which all lead to “more spending” without talking about smart spending.

The bottom line however:

Most Japanese economists have tended to take a bleaker view of their nation’s track record, saying that Japan spent more than enough money, but wasted too much of it on roads to nowhere and other unneeded projects.

Dr. Ihori of the University of Tokyo did a survey of public works in the 1990s, concluding that the spending created almost no additional economic growth. Instead of spreading beneficial ripple effects across the economy, he found that the spending actually led to declines in business investment by driving out private investors. He also said job creation was too narrowly focused in the construction industry in rural areas to give much benefit to the overall economy.

Yesterday Harry Reid said “Do we have the votes? I believe we do.” Reid was wrong. Obama enablers are wrong.

The fight continues today.

Smart power beats a fake “stimulus” any day.

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297 thoughts on ““Stimulus” Versus Smart

  1. Well, this I agree with. I mean, fixing potholes when we should have a major high-speed railroad project? Obama screwed this up totally. What about really investment in education? Eh, this is so disappointing.

  2. Admin!
    You are BRILLIANT!
    Thank you for this!
    “We have seen, even in our comment section, the effects of intellectual intimidation when rational thinking people devalue their own common sense opinions because they are not “experts” (”I don’t know too much about economics so I am confused and therefore I will accept what the experts say – Hail Obama”).
    I’m ordering a dozen books on the history of farming from the local library for an article i haveta write and i’m gonna add bridges to Infinity to my request list!
    BTW – I heard BHO’s ‘weatherization’ suggestion in the links you provided and i am LMAO!
    One of the agencies i interviewed up here in Appalachia in the Catskills has a ‘weatherization’ crew – it’s one guy in a beat-up truck who drives around trying to find folk to enlist for the ‘weatherization’ process. It’s just another POS position with a grand title aimed at letting the agency hire more people to justify their large budgets, 90% of which goes to pay the salaries of the administrators and not to help those in need.

  3. JEEZ!
    I just read that California mandated ‘furloughs’ have begun, the average government worker’s salary has bee slashed by 9.2% and the CA unemployment rate is almost 10%!

    I doubt ‘weatherization’ investment is gonna do a d@mn thing in CA!

    BHO is a dunce!

  4. Here’s an excerpt from the Goldberg article wbboei cited yesterday and while I’m no goldberg fan, this is spot opn. (IMHO)
    “The stimulus bill has failed. Barack Obama has failed. The Trojan Horse of Hope and Change crashed into the guardrail of reality, revealing an army of ideologues and activists inside.

    Now, before I continue, let me say that Barack Obama will still be popular, he will still get things done, and he will declare victory after signing a stimulus bill.

    But Obama’s moment is gone, and politics is about nothing if not moments.

    The stimulus bill was a bridge too far, an overplayed hand, ten pounds of manure in a five-pound bag. The legislation’s primary duty was never to stimulate the economy, but to stimulate the growth of government, the scope of the state.

  5. I LOVE Charles Krauthammer’s piece today

    February 06, 2009
    So Much For Hope Over Fear
    By Charles Krauthammer

    “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”
    — President Obama, Feb. 4.

    WASHINGTON — Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.” Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

    And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn’t understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.

    The Daschle affair was more serious because his offense involved more than taxes. As Michael Kinsley once observed, in Washington the real scandal isn’t what’s illegal, but what’s legal. Not paying taxes is one thing. But what made this case intolerable was the perfectly legal dealings that amassed Daschle $5.2 million in just two years.

    He’d been getting $1 million per year from a law firm. But he’s not a lawyer, nor a registered lobbyist. You don’t get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence.

    At least Tim Geithner, the tax-challenged Treasury secretary, had been working for years as a humble international civil servant earning non-stratospheric wages. Daschle, who had made another cool million a year (plus chauffeur and Caddy) for unspecified services to a pal’s private equity firm, represented everything Obama said he’d come to Washington to upend.

    And yet more damaging to Obama’s image than all the hypocrisies in the appointment process is his signature bill: the stimulus package. He inexplicably delegated the writing to Nancy Pelosi and the barons of the House. The product, which inevitably carries Obama’s name, was not just bad, not just flawed, but a legislative abomination.

    It’s not just pages and pages of special-interest tax breaks, giveaways and protections, one of which would set off a ruinous Smoot-Hawley trade war. It’s not just the waste, such as the $88.6 million for new construction for Milwaukee Public Schools, which, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, have shrinking enrollment, 15 vacant schools and, quite logically, no plans for new construction.

    It’s the essential fraud of rushing through a bill in which the normal rules (committee hearings, finding revenue to pay for the programs) are suspended on the grounds that a national emergency requires an immediate job-creating stimulus — and then throwing into it hundreds of billions that have nothing to do with stimulus, that Congress’ own budget office says won’t be spent until 2011 and beyond, and that are little more than the back-scratching, special-interest, lobby-driven parochialism that Obama came to Washington to abolish. He said.

    Not just to abolish but to create something new — a new politics where the moneyed pork-barreling and corrupt logrolling of the past would give way to a bottom-up, grass-roots participatory democracy. That is what made Obama so dazzling and new. Turns out the “fierce urgency of now” includes $150 million for livestock insurance.

    The Age of Obama begins with perhaps the greatest frenzy of old-politics influence peddling ever seen in Washington. By the time the stimulus bill reached the Senate, reports The Wall Street Journal, pharmaceutical and high-tech companies were lobbying furiously for a new plan to repatriate overseas profits that would yield major tax savings. California wine growers and Florida citrus producers were fighting to change a single phrase in one provision. Substituting “planted” for “ready to market” would mean a windfall garnered from a new “bonus depreciation” incentive.

    After Obama’s miraculous 2008 presidential campaign, it was clear that at some point the magical mystery tour would have to end. The nation would rub its eyes and begin to emerge from its reverie. The hallucinatory Obama would give way to the mere mortal. The great ethical transformations promised would be seen as a fairy tale that all presidents tell — and that this president told better than anyone.

    I thought the awakening would take six months. It took two and a half weeks.
    letters@charleskrauthammer.com

    realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/02/obamas_shine_wears_off_faster.html

  6. Here are three interesting articles related to the bailout and more!

    http.. //pumasunleashed.wordpress.com

    Anyone know if there are existing summarys out there of what should and should not be included in the Stimulus pkg?

  7. Sorry, O: ‘I Won’ Won’t Cover This
    By Rich Lowry

    Faith-based economy policy?

    Barack Obama, a reputed master of the persuasive art, has settled on his central argument for the stimulus bill: I won.

    That Obama is reduced to this crude appeal is a symptom of the intellectual collapse of the case for his stimulus bill, a congressional spendfest untethered from its stated goal of providing a rapid “jolt” to the economy.

    SNIP
    As far as political arguments go, “I won” has its power – provided it’s made on behalf of an agenda ratified by the American electorate. But Obama didn’t campaign on a sprawling, nearly $1 trillion new spending plan.

    The bill came out of the House with a price tag of $819 billion. It would spend more in 2011 alone than in this year, and more in 2012 and beyond than in this year. Why far-off spending priorities have to be set in a rush now is something no one can explain – except that congressional Democrats want to toss bulging sacks of cash out the door.

    Obama writes that the bill “is more than a prescription for short-term spending – it’s a strategy for America’s long-term growth and opportunity.” Fine. A long-term strategy deserves long-term deliberation, the hearings and other processes meant to exercise a check on legislating in a panic.

    The Congressional Budget Office notes that “large fiscal stimulus is rarely attempted” and its effects “are very uncertain.” The bill is basically a $1 trillion bet on an utterly unproven theory – that scattershot government spending is a magic elixir for an economy in the grips of a financial crisis.

    When Barack Obama ran last year, he didn’t say he’d engage in faith-based economy policy on a grand scale. He didn’t say he’d toss aside the normal processes of governing. He didn’t say he’d quickly act to add waste to the federal budget. And he didn’t say he’d try to brush away criticism with the mere assertion of his victory.

    On the stimulus, when Obama says “I won,” he’s out of better arguments.

    realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/02/sorry_o_i_won_wont_cover_this.html

  8. Collins goes to mailbox is full.

    Rest of numbers have been constantly busy.

    I will keep trying.

    Tell them to vote NO for spending and go back and work on a REAL stimulus bill, NO to an even SMALL spending bill. We need a bill that is going to help not hurt. We are hurting enough, we don’t need more problems.

  9. # wbboei Says:
    February 5th, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    Daley refuses to release stimulus project list

    ——————————-

    Thank you Mrs. Smith. Mayor Daley is the slime ball to watch. He wants taxpayers to shut their eyes and ask not questions while he pinches their wallets. Paris gypsies who pick the pockets of tourists could learn new tricks from this crook.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I’m just wondering if the “COAL BILL” Obama sponsored for $147M will be included in the Stimulus pkg. The Bill was for research into Carbon Sequestration. That issue is DOA. Obama equated Kennedy’s speech: “If we can put a Man on the Moon”, “we surely can develop a successful Clean Coal Program”.

    WRONG- If anything it’s been proven over the last 100 yrs, it can’t be done, to the tune of hundreds of millions of Tax Payer dollars wasted in subsidies going to Coal Co’s. It needs to be stopped!

  10. djia

    When I worked for the government we had strick laws on how long it should take to obligate and disburse the money, which the governemnt checked on. Why we should include in an immediate stimulus package money not to be used until 2011 is a mystery to me.

    The Milwaukee school money is interesting also. I don’t call it patriotism to request such funding for a school system that is not in need of it. At least in New Mexico I know that we are always short not only on school buildings, but the equipment that needs to go in the schools. This state holds the record on portables. We don’t build a school that does not have at least 6 portables right away. The elementary school near me has 12 or more, and has for years. So why would all that money go to Milwaukee?

    One thing you find out about delegating (which he has little experience at delegating a large important staff) is you need to make sure they are up to the task. Well, O you can let the SOS just run with it, as she can do it. The rest of your group needs a tighter reign. But then, what do you know about writing Bills to get the country out of a deep recession? Oh that is right, you don’t have to, as you are special.

    DON’T BLAME ME, I DID NOT VOTE FOR HIM – Quick where is my bumper sticker.

  11. It is not just $147mil but…See NQ and Amy for more..

    • $2 billion earmark to re-start FutureGen, a near-zero emissions coal power plant in Illinois that the Department of Energy defunded last year because it said the project was inefficient. (Wow – in IL? A $2 Billion earmark? Huh – maybe people really should have paid attention to Obama’s penchant for pork for IL.)

  12. Sorry NewMexicoFan, the video is embedding disabled – too bad though, it’s funny. “I want receipts.” Did Wanda support Obama though?

    The video is really good and shows why this “stimulus” bill is dead. Obama might win this battle but he has already lost the war.

  13. Dot48, reports are that all numbers are busy and voice mailboxes are full. They are getting bombarded with NO calls. Keep trying.

  14. Have been trying for an hour and a half. Collins number now says it can’t be reached. The rest are still busy. I hope this really is people calling and them not taking the fucking phone off the hook.

    Just heard that the bill cost went up .. 938 Billion now. NO FUCKING WAY does this need to pass. People please tell everyone you can to try to contact their representatives.

  15. Obamas stimulus plan reminds me of the man who is out of work and decides to rob a bank. When he gets arrested and charged he pleads not guilty–and raises the affirmative defense as follows:

    1. I wasnt there

    2. Even if I was there I didnt do it.

    3. Even if I was there and I did do it–IT WAS A STIMULUS PLAN

  16. Admin

    Thanks for trying. I don’t know if she did support him or not, hopefully someone on the blog knows. All I know is I loved some of her ideas, and when she said THE PEOPLE RECEIVING THE BAIL OUT did not want to have restrictions, she say HELL I WANT RECEIPTS. I loved it.

  17. wbboei, good one. I was just thinking about that while writing this comment at NQ. He is voting present again so he can weasel out in the future? That is not possible, is it?
    ———————
    This is very disappointing but for many of us here it is not a surprise. His wife went around on the campaign trail saying that it is not rocket science, it is not as though we don’t know what to do, the right thing to do but we lack the will to do it. He said it too and now it was all a roadshow and the bots bought it lock, stock and barrel.

    The way they were talking about in the campaign, the ideal would have been for 0bama to do this stimulus plan scientifically — like a portfolio optimization, where do we get the best bang for our money now? But we see that there was no intent on his part to get his hands dirty. I even doubt his intellectual ability to get his hands dirty. He is a lazy bum! (who gives/shouts speeches (written by his 20 and odd year old speechwriter) off his teleprompter — he gave one last night).

  18. Just contacted both of my DIMocrat senators here in WV .. they are taking tally in their offices of yes and no.

    So PLEASE contact your own representatives.

    I was a bit disappointed in Byrd’s lady though, she forced me to give my name and address and zipcode. While I’m not afraid to voice my opine I would rather she just have asked where I lived.

  19. reckon Bambi has got his “email” junkies on the phones right now. Cannot get through to those above now, says “all circuits are busy”. How much you wanna bet they’ve received “instructions” to maybe even possibly hack the phones. I don’t put anything past the bots in botville.

  20. Economics, an opaque field with more unintelligible terms than most, leads sane people to say “I don’t understand this so I’ll trust the experts.”

    The mistake here is that you don’t need to know how to cure under-capitalized banks or increase liquidity.
    You just have to listen to the people who say they do know and insist that they explain how THEIR solution will work.

    ‘It’s a stimulus’ is not an explanation. Sending everyone a check is a stimulus and we saw how that worked.

    What politician has a handle on how the banks getting into mortgages and brokerages and insurance contributed to their failures? Who is talking about the endless mergers and buyouts that have destroyed jobs and ruined companies (now too big to fail)? When was the last time a merger was disallowed? Anyone remember the Sherman Anti-trust provision?

    Incidentally that same urge to merge has left us with very little independent press or TV. We are verging on one newspaper and a couple of media companies.
    That’ll keep us well informed.

    Not only has the govt encouraged banks to acquire other banks with their bailout but refused to let Bank of America drop their buyout of Merrill Lynch because of their huge undisclosed debt.

    We need to stabilize the banks – it will take money and strict rules, including divestiture. There was a time when banks could only bank and could not cross state lines. Anybody considering going back to some of that?

    We need to improve jobs. We need to invest in worthwhile projects like construction and computerization. We need the banks to go back to lending money for cars — very few people buy cars without a loan — and the auto industry will revive.

    We need to expand small business loans — that’s where so many jobs are and where the innovations will come from.

    I’m not an economist and I know that much. I also know that $80 million to build schools in a declining population that has empty schools is nuts. I know that now is not the time to pay Filipinos for something or other — mostly non-citizens. I know that the ‘moderates’ who are laboring to save 100 billion are helping but are too timid — they should cut out more and then put in something smart that would actually stimulate the economy.

    If I know all this, what’s the matter with Washington?

  21. Great article, Admin!

    “We have said it before, we will say it again: Republicans in congress are being absolute, total, 100% hypocrites. They enabled George W. Bush with unthinking support. Now these same Republicans care about fiscal responsibility and deplore scare tactics.

    Dimocrats in congress are now as bad as Republicans: unthinking support, no fiscal discipline, “bribes” with government money (today organized religious groups were Obama beneficiaries of government bribes money), and scare tactics.”

    —————————————

    As stop gaps for each other, they are sorely inept. At best and at varying times one or the other blows hot air, tries to be dignified and outraged. At worst they all claim to be doing it for the people.

    The Pollyanna in me hopes that out of the ashes can arise an independent party that will embrace the best idiologies of both groups and stomp the repubs and dims into the ground permanently.

  22. Dot — I sympathize but the senators are trying to figure out if these calls are from a few people calling over and over.

    They are a bit surprised that their constituents are truly aroused. Calling offices is very effective.

  23. djia Says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 9:09 am
    I LOVE Charles Krauthammer’s piece today

    ——————————–

    I love that this man is going against the grain. This is the second piece in the last week that I have been enjoyed.

  24. I want to go back to local banks and newspapers. A few years ago, a friend who had stayed out of debt, and banked at a local bank tried to get a bridge loan while they were selling their home. The approval of the loan was at the state office level. This friend had put a lot of money in that banks CDs, and because she had used very little credit, they turned her down. I called the local bank, and read them the riot act.

    Up until that time, they were going to leave their money in that local back. After that treatment, they pulled all of it out and moved it somewhere else.

    When we had local control of the banks and newspapers, we got better service and better news. They were not tied to a large corporation.

    In addition, have you tried to get help with your computer equipment or software lately. There are no telephone numbers, and when they do have them, they are answered in India. I see no continuity to that serve. Some say they follow up, but their ability to solve minor problems seems nonexistant. I grew up in a time when the customer was always right, and you showed them the upmost service. That is no longer true.

    Why should I show any loyalties when the Corporations and Government show so little to me. Why should the poor people bail out the rich. It is not like I get the telephone number of the CEO of microsoft to get any service. In fact it is difficult to find any of the corporate numbers anymore.

    With this bail out don’t I own a portion of those corporations? I WANT PHONE NUMBER NOT ANSWERED BY A PHONE TREE.

  25. NMF…any comments…lol…?

    Val Kilmer ponders run for New Mexico governor

    Actor considering running for governor in 2010, when Democrat Bill Richardson’s second term ends

    By Deborah Baker | Associated Press Writer
    February 6, 2009

    SANTA FE, N.M. – Holy hornet’s nest, Batman! The New Mexico governor’s mansion?

    Fresh from the inauguration, actor Val Kilmer is pondering running for governor in 2010, when Democrat Bill Richardson’s second term ends.

    “I’m just looking for ways to be contributive,” Kilmer told The Associated Press on Thursday. “And if that ends up being where I can make a substantial contribution, then I’ll run.”

    But there’s no decision yet.

    “It’s really day to day,” he said over tea at a local restaurant.

    Kilmer, 49, grew up in Los Angeles but has called New Mexico home for more than two decades. He’s currently registered as a Democrat and said he cast a ballot for Barack Obama from Bulgaria, where he was filming.

    A Kilmer candidacy could throw a monkey wrench into the well-oiled Democratic machine of Lt. Gov. Diane Denish, who’s already running for the job.

    Kilmer’s screen credits include Batman in “Batman Forever” in 1995, brash fighter pilot Lt. Tom ‘Iceman’ Kazansky in the 1986 hit “Top Gun,” and rock icon Jim Morrison in the 1991 Oliver Stone film, “The Doors.”

    Kilmer said if he ran it wouldn’t have to be a conventional campaign. While the actor decides, he’s getting out and about and has been listening to people — something he says he’s pretty good at.

    “What I do for a living is listen,” he said, making a bold prediction: “If I run, I’m going to be the next governor.”

    baltimoresun.com/entertainment/movies/news/bal-val-kilmer-governor-0206,0,150960.story

  26. I am so ashamed of our congress. They are supposed to be working for the people of this country, but they don’t know what the h*ll they are doing. What a hodge podge of spending waste. This bill is going to speed along the destruction of SS and Medicare. There will be no money. This rush-rush feels like the build up to the Iraq war. This process has no plan, and has not been thought out very well.

  27. birdgal, I so totally agree. I need to shut down the fracking computer and the tv and find something to occupy my mind. Figure skating ain’t doing the trick. Social security is next on the chopping block — within weeks. UHC .. never going to get there. I’m fucked.

  28. Dumb question, but if some of this ‘Stimulus’ isn’t going to be spent till 2011 or so, couldn’t it be changed before then?

  29. Admin: thank you for your brilliant analysis. You are batting 1000.

    Ten years ago, in a book called “The Vision of The Annointed” Thomas Sowell wrote about what he described as “a very distinct pattern of failure” which emerges when policied favored by the annointed (holier than thou left wing elites) are instituted and then fail miserably. These people are not brilliant but arrogant and verbally adept.

    1. STAGE 1: THE CRISIS: Some situation exists whose negative aspects the annointed propose to eliminate. Such a situation is continually characterized as a “crisis”, even though all human situations have negative aspects and even though evidence is seldom asked for or given . . .

    2. STAGE 2: THE SOLUTION: Policies to end the crisis immediately are advocated by the annointed who claim those policies will lead to beneficial result A. They buttress their argument with selective evidence-and ignore contrary evidence. They cite honored prophets e.g. Keynes etc and cite phony statistics to buttress assumptions and arguments.

    Critics say these policies will lead to detrimental result Z. They buttress their arguments with hard evidence–such as the counter example of Japan which you site–again brilliantly. And they point out as you do that they have other motives for advocating these policies– crass political expediency. The annointed dismiss their objections as absurd, simplistic, dishonest.

    3. STAGE 3: The policies are instituted over the objection of critics and they lead to detrimental result Z.

    Harley Schlanger told me that his boss asked the former Japanese Finance Minister whether the public works initiative would work before Obama and his dims proposed it. Citing the case of Japan he responed with an emphatic no. He went on to say that it is like being in an airplane. If you are lucky enough to take off and fly up to the crest of the mountain and think you have made it when you get there all you can see ahead to the horizon is the Himalayas.

    The opportunity cost was the decade and dollars lost pursuing the wrong approach to the problem–or crisis as they call it. The solution is to reform the banking system. However, and despite my initial support for Getner for other reasons, Gingrich and others claim he is nothing more than a front man for New York banks and if that is the case he is deadly part of the problem.

    4. STAGE 4: When detrimental result Z occurs, the annointed attribute the failure caused by their misguided policies to other factors. They put the burden of proof on their critics to demonstate to a moral certainty that their policies alone were the sole cause of the worsening situation. No burden whatsoever is placed on those who predicted so confidently that their solution would improve the situation despite its cost. Indeed, it is often asserted that things would have been even worse were it not for the wonderful solution that mitigated the inevitable damage. (Note: you should expect that whatever happens, within a year, CNN will be saying those very words on behalf of bambi.)

  30. The American People need to understand that the elites have destroyed the existing system through their greed and inepitude, they want the middle class to cover the cost of their Ponzi schemes and dear sweet innocent bambi is their tool and their means to that end.

  31. admin,

    I looked up the NYT article you quoted and it is not clear to me whose opinion is being stated in the pargraph about education and social services. The paragraph above tells about Geithner’s opinion and the paragraph below tells about Ihori’s opinion.

    Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who was a young financial attaché in Japan during the collapse and subsequent doldrums. One lesson Mr. Geithner has said he took away from that experience is that spending must come in quick, massive doses, and be continued until recovery takes firm root.

    Moreover, it matters what gets built: Japan spent too much on increasingly wasteful roads and bridges, and not enough in areas like education and social services, which studies show deliver more bang for the buck than infrastructure spending.

    “It is not enough just to hire workers to dig holes and then fill them in again,” said Toshihiro Ihori, an economics professor at the University of Tokyo. “One lesson from Japan is that public works get the best results when they create something useful for the future.”
    h…….w
    nytimes.com/2009/02/06/world/asia/06japan.html?_r=2&hp

  32. Click on the Stimulus Watch link. Select your state, and then click on your town of city.

    If you do this before calling or faxing your Senator, you will have VERY GOOD AMMO.

    It lists ALL of the local area projects in the Porkalus Bill for your reference.

    http://www.stimuluswatch.org/

  33. Maybe this song should be resurrected by the people as their fighting song. Maybe it’s time to march on Washington again as the Vets did during the depression.

    youtube.com/watch?v=4F4yT0KAMyo

  34. Thanks Turndown. Perhaps he learned the right lesson and can see past the interests of the New York banks to need for serious reform, and if he means what he says then he needs to convince bambi to back off on supporting the existing Pelosit bill. What I would say to him is this: talk is cheap. Results are what matter. It is symptomatic of Obamas weakness that he would subcontract the writing of a bill which he claims is the make or break legislation of his presidency to the likes of Nancy Pelosi. It is like giving the keys to your car to an alcoholic.

  35. He’s headed on vacation this weekend according to Politico. Making a trip to Camp David. We knew it. He can’t go more than 2 weeks or so till he has to vacation.

  36. PUMAs and Hillary supporters are split on the stimulus right now. Some want it and some don’t. I honestly don’t think it matters which side you are on. I agree with admin that the stimulus plan sucks and ultimately will not work. Obama made fatal mistakes from the start and has compromised away the most important aspects of the bill. It’s a watered down plan, the Republicans will never support Obama or help him, and Obama is an empty suit who appears desperate and propped up by Axelrod and the Democrats. At least the Obots will now learn that there is no such thing as unity in politics and there never will or should be unity. Republicans and Democrats want different things and Obama is going to destroy himself, our country, and the economy trying to please both.

  37. # dot48 Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 11:58 am

    He’s headed on vacation this weekend according to Politico. Making a trip to Camp David. We knew it. He can’t go more than 2 weeks or so till he has to vacation.

    WOW. This is ridiculous. He already went on numerous vacations to Hawaii last year and this year before the inauguration. Regular people only get vacation time once each year and some of us don’t even get that. He gets paid by us to fix the country. Right now we are in the biggest mess since the Great Depression and he goes on vacations and has the time to read to children? This man truly is the next Bush.

  38. I’m for a stimulus bill that works. If Bambi and his party freaks can come up with I’ll cheer em on. If not, then they wrote it, they own it. I don’t blame the repubs for not backing this bill and I highly commend those democrats with balls that also are not supporting it.

    If Hillary were in his shoes right now and she had put forth this bill, I’d be as against it as I am right now.

    It’s pork laden and even though I called Robert Byrd’s office (king of pork) to oppose it, I really know he won’t listen to WV — we went for Hillary and many of them supported him.

  39. He’s headed on vacation this weekend according to Politico. Making a trip to Camp David. We knew it. He can’t go more than 2 weeks or so till he has to vacation.

    ———————

    Now thats taking the piss, most americans are lucky they get 10 days a year and he is going to bugger off when he feels like it. Why am I not surprised?

  40. I watched that Segment with Miller on O’Riley and it was quite evident that O’Riley was taken aback by Miller’s unabashed fondness for Hillary…even with his juvenile jabs at Bill, you could see Miller didn’t want to attack either, but O’Riley kept egging him on. As I stated here during the campaign, O’Riley , Hannit, and other “righties” who seemed sympathetic to Hillary would revert back to their normal “Clinton derangement” syndrome once this was over. O’Riley is a hypocrite b/c he is doing it to avoid taking overtly partisan shots at Obama b/c he still wants whatever limited access he has to BO, but Hannity, at least while predictably bashing all that is Clinton, is even more scathing at BO.
    The MSM, and particularly MSNBC and CNN also continue to point out how similar BO and Bill’s first few weeks in office were in an attempt to explain the abject fialure that is BO.

  41. The MSM, and particularly MSNBC and CNN also continue to point out how similar BO and Bill’s first few weeks in office were in an attempt to explain the abject fialure that is BO.
    ————————-
    This is not an effective defense for three reasons

    1. dropping poll numbers

    2. no margin of error on economy

    3. cant have it both ways re BC

    Also BO is incompetent

  42. If Hillary were in his shoes right now and she had put forth this bill, I’d be as against it as I am right now.
    ——————————-
    DOT I agree with you of course. But I am confident that Hillary would not have put forth a bill like this one.

    I am quite certain she would have gone nose to nose and toes to toes with that alcoholic Pelosi and scared of his shadow Reid, and forced them to come up with a bill which was responsive to the interests of this county rather than to the special interests those two roll over for.

  43. He’s headed on vacation this weekend according to Politico. Making a trip to Camp David. We knew it. He can’t go more than 2 weeks or so till he has to vacation
    ———————————–
    A strategic retreat. A leader would stay in town and be personally available. This hearkens back to his reluctance to go to Washington and insert himself into the deliberations over the disasterous bank bailout plan. When he was finally forced to show up he was pitifully ineffectual. I guarantee you Hillary would not be retreating and hiding at this critical moment in the fledgling presidency. Being available by blackberry aint good enough.

  44. Problem is, you have 3 primadonna’s such as Pelosi, Obama and Reid all vying for the big prize.

    Its like having the ugly sisters all fighting over which one gets to have Prince Charming.

  45. JanH

    I laughed at that the other day (about Kilmer). HRC took this state, even though O tried very hard to steal it. O is trying to put key people into some key positions in NM, and it is not always working. I did not even know he lived in the state. Diane comes from a rancher family here. She has two years to run. There will not be any O coat tails in 2010. In addition, the Richardson name is being discussed everywhere. We hear pay to play constantly.

    Maybe we should just let Hollywood run the country. All we need is some good script writers to tell it how it should be (we can get those from the newspapers who will have many unemployed), but not how it is.

  46. dot48 Says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 11:58 am
    He’s headed on vacation this weekend according to Politico. Making a trip to Camp David. We knew it. He can’t go more than 2 weeks or so till he has to vacation.

    ——————————————————————————

    Earlier this week, I said that he would be taking a trip to Camp David. He really cannot stand the heat in the WH.

    He is such a hypocrite. He is using the politics of fear. Why isn’t he helping with this stimulus package. Just threatening, is not acting like a leader. Jerk, Jerk, and triple Jerk.

  47. He is eager to check out his new digs at Camp David. Poor, poor waffle man. Leave him alone. He wants to play in his new, glorious surroundings.

  48. I wonder if there is any way to ask the four teetering Republicans:

    1. their phone lines are being overloaded

    2. their constituents cannot get through

    3. reason: suppress voice of constituents

    4. proof: Reid wants to outlaw polls

    5. proof: move on plan to target congress

    6. conclusion: reject his bill on the merits and the underhanded tactics being deployed

  49. A Republican Fannie Mae
    The worst mortgage idea since Barney Frank’s last one.

    By Mitch McConnell.

    How’s this for a bright idea to boost home prices and goose the economy: Have two government-chartered entities exploit Uncle Sam’s low borrowing costs to subsidize mortgage rates. Lower borrowing costs will make housing more affordable and increase demand for unsold homes. If this sounds hauntingly familiar, that’s because it is.

    Think Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, whose mortgage-rate subsidy helped get us into this mess.

    Well, here we go again, though this time the Republicans are offering the free lunch. Under a proposal endorsed this week by Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell, Fannie and Freddie would serve as the conduit for 30-year mortgages with fixed 4% interest rates. This is based on an idea that economists Glenn Hubbard and Christopher Mayer first floated on these pages, targeting a 4.5% fixed rate. Let’s just say this proves we don’t agree with everything we publish.

    10-year Treasury yields are currently around 2.9%, the government could in theory borrow the money, lend it out at 4% and make these mortgages available at minimal cost. These mortgages would encourage buyers to buy and so stem the decline in home prices. If they were made available to those refinancing, they could also help people struggling to pay their mortgage bills or facing resets on adjustable-rate loans.
    That’s the theory.

    The problems are price-fixing, taxpayer cost, and a misunderstanding of housing trends. True, the government would not set the prices of the houses themselves. But by fixing the price of home financing, the government would be nationalizing one more branch of the housing market. The feds tried this recently with student loans, and the result is that the private market largely collapsed. After this all-too-predictable result, Congress did what comes naturally: It blamed lenders who withdrew from the market for being “greedy.” And it had the government — the taxpayer — become the main lender to students.

    If the government wanted to avoid this fate, it could instead let banks make the loans and subsidize them for the difference between the 4.5% rate and the market rate. But wait — if the government has fixed the price, there is no market rate, so there’s no way to know what a “fair” rate of subsidy is. This was one of the problems with Congress’s 2007 student-loan reform. Lenders and lawmakers had different ideas about how to define fair compensation, so the lenders walked.

    Proponents nonetheless claim this would help consumers by lowering their mortgage payments and stopping the house-price decline. In fact, the impact on home prices or housing demand is likely to be small. Some supporters claim a 4.5% mortgage rate could add 12% or more to house prices. But other estimates put the home-price boost at closer to 1%-3%, a tiny improvement in a dismal market. Home prices in many markets are still too high compared to long-term trends, and they are likely to keep falling until they get back to that norm.

    Mr. Hubbard says 4.5% mortgages could boost homeownership back to levels last seen in 2004, at the height of the boom. That seems unlikely. Those who have had their credit destroyed by foreclosure are probably not the best candidates for jumping back into the housing pool. Most of the people who would take advantage of these loans either would have bought a home anyway, because they need one, or already own a home and want to (but don’t need to) lower their rates.

    But even if this did happen, it’s not clear why it should. These days even Barney Frank agrees that homeownership rates were artificially high at the end of the boom. Getting back to those levels would only presage another bust. That bust would be scheduled for shortly after this supposedly temporary program ended, assuming it ever does. Right now, 30-year mortgage rates are hovering around 5.5%. These are already nearly as low as they’ve been in a generation. Even if they only went back up to current levels after the program ended, rates would seem high to homeshoppers merely because they are higher than they were. So any new demand generated now would have to be set against the depressed demand in the future.

    Harvard’s Ed Glaeser estimated on these pages Thursday that a $10 trillion program might cost the Treasury $135 billion or so. But that assumes that all those mortgages are paid back in full. And keep in mind the money would have to be borrowed — in addition to the $3 trillion or so the Treasury will already have to borrow in the next two years. If interest rates and thus federal borrowing costs rise to the 1990s average for the 10-year note of 6.5%, look out.

    We realize Republicans feel obliged to have their own “stimulus” plan, and that doing something for housing scores well in polls. We also remember when the subsidy to Fannie and Freddie was considered costless too. Tens of billions later, the tab is still growing. This one could be larger.

    online.wsj.com/article/SB123388493959055161.html

  50. Surprised he aint renamed it yet to Camp Barry or Camp Larry. Either would fit
    ————————–
    or Camp Woebegonne

  51. Re New Mexico and Val Kilmer I have a better candidate. Since citizenship is no longer an issue Poncho Villa would be an improvement over Val or Judas. He makes no bones about his criminal behavior, does not give interviews and does not cater to wealthy interests. And he certainly knows the territory–better than Pershing did.

  52. Obama does not like bitter Americans with opinions on the economy:

    http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D96675KG0&show_article=1

    “President Barack Obama says in Washington these days, everyone’s an economist—or thinks they are.

    Obama introduced a team of outside economic advisers Friday at a White House ceremony in which he also renewed his demand that Congress act quickly on his economic recovery package.

    As the country struggles with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, Obama said there has been no shortage of advice on how to solve the nation’s woes.

    “You’ve got some economists and some folks who think they’re economists. By the way, these days everybody thinks they’re economists,” he joked.”

    Meanwhle… the economists at the Congressonal Budget Office are not to happy with Obama’s plan:

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/04/cbo-obama-stimulus-harmful-over-long-haul/

    President Obama’s economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

    CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.

    CBO estimates that by 2019 the Senate legislation would reduce GDP by 0.1 percent to 0.3 percent on net. [The House bill] would have similar long-run effects, CBO said in a letter to Sen. Judd Gregg, New Hampshire Republican, who was tapped by Mr. Obama on Tuesday to be Commerce Secretary.

  53. This is an interesting excerpt from a longer newsletter by the Republican Trust. It pinpoints the sell out by Obama. It is payola to his cronies and pet causes. It is NOT a jobs creation program. ONLY FIVE PER CENT (5%) of this mortage on our future goes to job creation if this is true.
    ——————————–

    Obama promised to be nonpartisan. But he’s been anything but.

    We now know the stimulus program includes billions for bureaucrats’ new cars, Hollywood movie makers, arts programs, anti-smoking campaigns, efforts to reduce sexually transmitted diseases, and a litany of programs totally unrelated to the economy.

    Obama promised massive infrastructure programs to create new jobs. But get this: Less than 5% of the $800 billion plus program goes for such programs.

    What a joke.

  54. Quite frankly, Obama’s speech last night was an act of desperation and an attempt to go back to the “Campaign Playbook” of portraying anyone questioning his majesty as being either 1) a racist 2) Republican 3) a Hillary supporter and 4) someone that actually has a High-school diploma. The “fired up” stuff worked well during the primaries/campaigns, but looked juvenile and petty last night. Could you ever imagine Hillary acting like that??? When he was done he just stood there not knowing what to do…looking for adulation, but more likely, a clue.

  55. The Gibbs news conference just started. These are always a great laugh. Gibbs will either improve greatly or be fired soon – he is currently terrible.

  56. “but looked juvenile and petty last night”
    ************
    and petulant. A person with NPD doesn’t like to be challenged. He looked weak and un-presidential and it only going to get worse..much worse.

  57. CBO: Obama stimulus harmful over long haul

    President Obama’s economic recovery package will actually hurt the economy more in the long run than if he were to do nothing, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Wednesday.

    CBO, the official scorekeepers for legislation, said the House and Senate bills will help in the short term but result in so much government debt that within a few years they would crowd out private investment, actually leading to a lower Gross Domestic Product over the next 10 years than if the government had done nothing.

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/04/cbo-obama-stimulus-harmful-over-long-haul/

  58. Question: what is 2+2?

    Obamaeconomist: what do you want it to be oh messiah?

    Watch him appoint Larry Tribe to the US Supreme Court to replace either Stevens or less likely Ginzberg. Bad.

    But we digress.

  59. admin Says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 1:40 pm
    The Gibbs news conference just started. These are always a great laugh. Gibbs will either improve greatly or be fired soon – he is currently terrible.

    ————————————————————————–

    I only saw Gibbs once, and I was shocked at how awful he was. He should be under the bus very soon.

  60. Gibbs will either improve greatly or be fired soon – he is currently terrible
    ——————————–
    I would imagine that Linda Douglass is angling for the position.

  61. djia Says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 9:20 am
    Sorry, O: ‘I Won’ Won’t Cover This
    &&&&&&&

    “I won” is completely arrogant, but we here expect this from Ofraud.

    “I won” is childish, but we here expect this from Ofraud.

    “I won” is take two of the W. years, but we here expect this from Ofraud.

    Hey, Ofraud, how about listening to us when we say: “We were right again”. Not arrogant, not childish, just true.

  62. found this nugget at another forum

    get ready to get your wallet, bend over and get screwed again and again (talking about the “stimulus” bill

  63. “You’ve got some economists and some folks who think they’re economists. By the way, these days everybody thinks they’re economists,” he joked.”

    ——————————

    You mr. obama are not an economist even if you think you are. You mr. obama a certain part of a mule’s behind.

  64. birdgal posted this:

    read all about the “stimulus” projects here. Lil ole WV only got one project ..

    h t t p : / / w w w.stimuluswatch.org/

  65. “You’ve got some economists and some folks who think they’re economists. By the way, these days everybody thinks they’re economists,” he joked.”
    —————————
    Yes, Bambi. You have got obamaeconomists and then you have CBO economists who are neutral. The neutral cbo economists are telling you and the rest of us that this is a bad plan, and it will make the long term situation worse not better. And so, my dear messiah, the problem is not that everyone is an economist but that you have turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to the economists who are objective for partisan political purposes to the detriment of the country writ large.

  66. Obama headed to Camp David?
    By JONATHAN MARTIN | 2/6/09 11:01 AM EST

    Headed to the ranch?

    President Obama may make his first trip to Camp David this weekend, according to White House aides
    ww.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18493.html
    **********
    He is living up to expectations..2 1/2 weeks on the job and he needs a vacation.

  67. Re SC, Obama will probablly appoint someone in the middle to keep the reproductive rights issue in the balance, thus keep it hostage for a second term.

  68. David Brooks’ op-ed today from NYT sheds some light.

    My $$$ comments interspersed.

    nytimes.com/2009/02/06/opinion/06brooks.html?_r=1

    The Gang System
    ———————–

    By DAVID BROOKS
    Published: February 5, 2009

    Barack Obama is a potentially transformational figure. In political style and intellectual outlook, he is unlike anything that has come before. On matters of policy substance, however, he’s been pretty conventional. The policies he offered during the campaign matched those of just about every other Democrat.

    So an important question for the Obama presidency is this: Will his transformational style eventually lead to transformational policies, or will his conventional policies eventually force him to shelve his transformational style?

    $$$ Ummm, we think we know the answer to that one.

    In the first major episode of his administration, the stimulus package, the conventional policies so far have won. The Obama administration sent a series of stimulus principles to Capitol Hill and allowed the Old Bulls in the House and Senate to write legislation. They produced sprawling bills that gathered dozens of traditional liberal ideas. The resulting bills would have been no different if Nancy Pelosi had been elected president, or Harry Reid, or any other conventional Democrat.

    The substance of the legislation set up the polarized debate that followed. Liberal interest groups were happy. Conservative Republicans were united in opposition. But something interesting happened this week. The momentum of the debate was set by moderates. Conservative protests wouldn’t have amounted to much without nagging moderate unease.

    Moderate economists looked at the package and complained about the vast parts that don’t even pretend to stimulate. Education reformers took a look at the education section and noted that the huge amount of money is not leveraged to produce any real reform.

    $$$ Krugman’s piece today touches on some of these complaints, that Obama is not up for the good fight. That is where Hillary excels, putting up her dukes, but in a fair way. She realizes that combat and negotiation are necessary parts of governing. Obama appears to believe that an extensive vacationing schedule is the most important aspect of appearing “presidential”; apparently, the only president he’s paid attention to was the guy before him.

    Infrastructure reformers noted the bill mostly funds 1950s-style projects. Researchers from the Tax Policy Center graded each of the measure’s tax provisions for effectiveness. They gave out zero A’s, six B’s, seven C’s and two D’s. The measure earned a 2.26 G.P.A., not exactly the kind of report card you’re proud to take home to momma.

    $$$ For all we know, this is what Obama’s grades were; fair to muddling. But that too is under lock and key, along with his real birth certicate proving he was born on Galacticon-97J1X.

    Most of all, moderates were concerned about deficits. Public debt is now exploding and will soon be a whopping 70 percent of G.D.P. The stimulus would produce roughly $350 billion in interest costs alone. We can’t afford a wildly inefficient stimulus, they argued, which contains no exit strategy to return the country to fiscal balance.

    On Thursday, moderate unease translated into political action. Forty-nine moderate Democrats in the House belatedly signed a letter calling for cuts in the package, and protested the way they had been trampled by the Democratic leadership. Over in the Senate, a gang of roughly 20 moderates, led by Republican Susan Collins and Democrat Ben Nelson, huddled in the Dirksen Building to cut and focus the stimulus bill. They talked of trimming $90 billion or more.

    The big news here is that there are many Democrats who don’t want to move in a conventional liberal direction and there some Republicans willing to work with them to create a functioning center. These moderates — who are not a party, but a gang — seemed willing to seize control of legislation from the party leaders. They separated themselves from both the left and right.

    What we’re seeing may be the formation of a regular gang system. In the past, moderate gangs — like the judicial Gang of 14 — have appeared or disappeared depending on the issue.

    But exploding federal deficits are a galvanizing issue for those in the center. Concern over these deficits will influence every piece of domestic legislation. In the coming weeks and months, there will be housing legislation, another round of TARP bailouts, the budget debate, the health care and entitlement debates. In each case, the Moderate Gangs will occupy the crucial ground, even if the Democrats do wind up with 60 Senate votes.

    +++++++++++++
    Barack Obama is not initiating events (he’s had surprisingly little influence on the stimulus bills’ evolution). +++++++++
    But circumstances now present him with a precedent-setting moment of decision. Does he embrace the Gang System and try to use it to create a new style of politics? Or does he remain an orthodox Democrat, deferring to the Old Bulls on legislation, enforcing party discipline and trying to pick off a Republican or two here and there to pass laws?

    $$$ That whole “leadership” thing Obama likes to pretend he is…he’s not. He’s a poser. He play POTUS on TV. He doesn’t initiate, he reacts. That’s a good strategy when you’re trying to sneak your way up the career totem pole, but it doesn’t work once the spotlight hits you, when you are given primary responsibility.

    The liberals already are mobilizing against the Moderate Gangs. On Thursday, the liberal interest groups were intensively lobbying against the stimulus cuts. But there’s no way that Obama, who spent two years campaigning on postpartisan politics, can reject the single biggest manifestation of postpartisanship in the country today. If he does that, his credibility will be shot.

    Obama didn’t plan them. He didn’t create them. He isn’t yet leading them. But the gangs could be the big new fact in domestic politics. If nurtured and used creatively, they can be the lever by which Obama transforms the landscape of government and creates a broad postpartisan coalition.

    We’ll see if he seizes this opportunity, or whether it’s just business as usual.

    $$$ As I said before, ummm, I think we know the answer to that one.

  69. # Mrs. Smith Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 9:17 am

    Anyone know if there are existing summarys out there of what should and should not be included in the Stimulus pkg?
    ———————————————————————–
    The following doesn’t cover what should and shold not be funded, but the summaries and comments are pretty telling…just by laying out the facts and people’s initial reations to the facts.

    pumapac.org/2009/01/26/hr-1-aka-boy-i-hope-no-one-actually-reads-this-damn-bill/
    ——————————————
    and as I warned, the summaries are sometimes out of order, but this hardworking group read ALL 647 pages in 10-page chunks and summarized them.

    That’s more that any House member, Senator or mr obama did, I’ll betcha.

    Just he title of the blog makes it worth reading – “hr-1-aka-boy-i-hope-no-one-actually-reads-this-damn-bill/”

    PS – take it in small chunks.

  70. # JanH Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 2:09 pm
    “You’ve got some economists and some folks who think they’re economists. By the way, these days everybody thinks they’re economists,” he joked.”
    ——————————
    You mr. obama are not an economist even if you think you are. You mr. obama a certain part of a mule’s behind.
    ********
    The well know economist, Penny Pritzker is on of his economic advisors.

  71. moononpluto Says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 11:47 am
    Click on the Stimulus Watch link. Select your state, and then click on your town of city.

    If you do this before calling or faxing your Senator, you will have VERY GOOD AMMO.

    It lists ALL of the local area projects in the Porkalus Bill for your reference.

    http://www.stimuluswatch.org/

    ————————————————————————————————-

    Thank you Moon. Very interesting site.

    click on most expensive. There is a 600 million dollars allotted for a heritage walk project, which is a noble undertaking, but the price tag is over inflated.

  72. Re SC, Obama will probablly appoint someone in the middle to keep the reproductive rights issue in the balance, thus keep it hostage for a second term.
    ——————————-
    Turndown: Tribe is a big time crony of Obama. As such he will appoint him. Tribe will be is eyes and ears on the SC.

  73. SHV

    So what is Penny Pritzker known for? Surly she would not agree to giving Milwaukee $60K for school constuction, when they have excess school building.

  74. “The well know economist, Penny Pritzker is on of his economic advisors.”

    ——————————-

    Maybe so, but is she advocating his “everything but the kitchen sink should go into this stimulus plan” philosophy of his?

  75. and now, for the Krugster piece:

    nytimes.com/2009/02/06/opinion/06krugman.html?em

    On the Edge
    —————–

    By PAUL KRUGMAN
    Published: February 5, 2009

    A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to economic recovery. Over the last two weeks, what should have been a deadly serious debate about how to save an economy in desperate straits turned, instead, into hackneyed political theater, with Republicans spouting all the old clichés about wasteful government spending and the wonders of tax cuts.

    It’s as if the dismal economic failure of the last eight years never happened — yet Democrats have, incredibly, been on the defensive. Even if a major stimulus bill does pass the Senate, there’s a real risk that important parts of the original plan, especially aid to state and local governments, will have been emasculated.

    $$$ Dems on the defensive??? Say it ain’t so, Joe.

    Somehow, Washington has lost any sense of what’s at stake — of the reality that we may well be falling into an economic abyss, and that if we do, it will be very hard to get out again.

    It’s hard to exaggerate how much economic trouble we’re in. The crisis began with housing, but the implosion of the Bush-era housing bubble has set economic dominoes falling not just in the United States, but around the world.

    Consumers, their wealth decimated and their optimism shattered by collapsing home prices and a sliding stock market, have cut back their spending and sharply increased their saving — a good thing in the long run, but a huge blow to the economy right now. Developers of commercial real estate, watching rents fall and financing costs soar, are slashing their investment plans. Businesses are canceling plans to expand capacity, since they aren’t selling enough to use the capacity they have. And exports, which were one of the U.S. economy’s few areas of strength over the past couple of years, are now plunging as the financial crisis hits our trading partners.

    Meanwhile, our main line of defense against recessions — the Federal Reserve’s usual ability to support the economy by cutting interest rates — has already been overrun. The Fed has cut the rates it controls basically to zero, yet the economy is still in free fall.

    It’s no wonder, then, that most economic forecasts warn that in the absence of government action we’re headed for a deep, prolonged slump. Some private analysts predict double-digit unemployment. The Congressional Budget Office is slightly more sanguine, but its director, nonetheless, recently warned that “absent a change in fiscal policy … the shortfall in the nation’s output relative to potential levels will be the largest — in duration and depth — since the Depression of the 1930s.”

    Worst of all is the possibility that the economy will, as it did in the ’30s, end up stuck in a prolonged deflationary trap.

    We’re already closer to outright deflation than at any point since the Great Depression. In particular, the private sector is experiencing widespread wage cuts for the first time since the 1930s, and there will be much more of that if the economy continues to weaken.

    As the great American economist Irving Fisher pointed out almost 80 years ago, deflation, once started, tends to feed on itself. As dollar incomes fall in the face of a depressed economy, the burden of debt becomes harder to bear, while the expectation of further price declines discourages investment spending. These effects of deflation depress the economy further, which leads to more deflation, and so on.

    And deflationary traps can go on for a long time. Japan experienced a “lost decade” of deflation and stagnation in the 1990s — and the only thing that let Japan escape from its trap was a global boom that boosted the nation’s exports. Who will rescue America from a similar trap now that the whole world is slumping at the same time?

    Would the Obama economic plan, if enacted, ensure that America won’t have its own lost decade? Not necessarily: a number of economists, myself included, think the plan falls short and should be substantially bigger. But the Obama plan would certainly improve our odds. And that’s why the efforts of Republicans to make the plan smaller and less effective — to turn it into little more than another round of Bush-style tax cuts — are so destructive.

    So what should Mr. Obama do? Count me among those who think that the president made a big mistake in his initial approach, that his attempts to transcend partisanship ended up empowering politicians who take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh. What matters now, however, is what he does next.

    $$$ Hopey changey posty-partisany. Where’s the fight? Where’s the beef?

    It’s time for Mr. Obama to go on the offensive. Above all, he must not shy away from pointing out that those who stand in the way of his plan, in the name of a discredited economic philosophy, are putting the nation’s future at risk. The American economy is on the edge of catastrophe, and much of the Republican Party is trying to push it over that edge.

    $$$ If you’re waiting for Obama to grow a spine, it will take millions of years of evolution. The man is an invertebrate!

  76. Barack Obama is not initiating events (he’s had surprisingly little influence on the stimulus bills’ evolution). +++++++++
    But circumstances now present him with a precedent-setting moment of decision. Does he embrace the Gang System and try to use it to create a new style of politics? Or does he remain an orthodox Democrat, deferring to the Old Bulls on legislation, enforcing party discipline and trying to pick off a Republican or two here and there to pass laws?

    $$$ That whole “leadership” thing Obama likes to pretend he is…he’s not. He’s a poser. He play POTUS on TV. He doesn’t initiate, he reacts. That’s a good strategy when you’re trying to sneak your way up the career totem pole, but it doesn’t work once the spotlight hits you, when you are given primary responsibility.
    ————————–
    Brooks was one of the first to buy into this transformational figure nonsense. So to me at least his judgment and bona fides remain highly suspect.

    However there is nothing in the two paragraphs cited above that I do not agree with in their entirety.

    Excellent post RGB.

  77. If he gives in to the bulls they will own him and define his presidency. He will be a hero to the hard left–and a pariah to the rest of us. Carter redux.

    If he confronts the bulls then there will be a bloodbath. He does not have the guts to do it himself. He can send Emanuel in but on the odds he will stagger back into the White House with daggers in his back.

    It will be interesting to see what happens. His presidency and its probable failure is being cast in stone as we speak. Like Goldberg said what is politics but a series of defining moments.

  78. Thanks, wbb. Yeah, Brooks slopped up that “transformational” crappola. Yet another disillusioned Talking Head waking up with a Hopium Hangover.

    Hey, Dave, grab MoDo and Herbert and head over to the BHO Detox Center.

  79. # NewMexicoFan Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    So what is Penny Pritzker known for? Surly she would not agree to giving Milwaukee $60K for school constuction, when they have excess school building.
    ***********
    Among their other endeavors, the Pritzkers were the owners of Superior Bank in Hinsdale, Illinois when it was seized.
    Yes, I did say seized.
    Penny Pritzker, Barack Obama’s great Chicago (of course!) friend was a pioneer you might say! She was a failed subprime lender who set the tone all the way back to 2001. She did it before it was even in style.

    /uppitywoman08.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/obamas-finance-chair-failed-bank-owner-penny-pritzker-and-wall-street-today/

  80. Japan Says Clinton’s Visit Shows Country’s Importance to U.S.

    By Viola Gienger and Takashi Hirokawa

    Feb. 6 (Bloomberg) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Tokyo as her first stop on a four-nation tour this month shows the importance the U.S. places on ties with Asia’s biggest economy, Japan’s top government spokesman said. In her first trip abroad as President Barack Obama’s top diplomat, Clinton will spend a week going to Tokyo, Jakarta, Seoul and Beijing beginning Feb. 15. The agenda will focus on efforts to halt North Korea’s nuclear-arms program, the global financial crisis, security and climate change, State Department spokesman Robert Wood said in Washington yesterday.

    “Making Japan the first overseas destination is meaningful and a concrete demonstration of the importance that President Obama and the secretary attach to the Japan-U.S. alliance,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said today in Tokyo.

    Clinton is inheriting a diplomatic initiative involving China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and the U.S. to persuade North Korea to shut down its nuclear-arms development effort. The negotiations ground to a halt last year when North Korean officials refused to sign an agreement on steps to verify the extent of the nuclear program. The U.S. warned North Korea this week that test-firing a missile would be viewed as “provocative” after reports the communist state was preparing a rocket launch after declaring the Korean peninsula was on the brink of war.

    “Certainly the issue of North Korea will come up in conversations” Wood said. “We all want to see how we can get the North Koreans to abide by their international obligations.”

    Korean Tensions: Kim Jong Il’s regime announced Jan. 30 it was scrapping all military and political agreements with South Korea, accusing the government in Seoul of pursuing confrontational policies that were pushing the nations toward conflict. The Chinese government, an ally of Kim’s government, subsequently urged North Korea to resume dialogue and cooperation with South Korea and recognize their common interest in maintaining regional stability.

    China, the fastest-growing major economy, is also crucial in stabilizing the world economy. Clinton has said she wants the State Department to take a stronger role on international economic issues, while ensuring that such topics don’t dominate relations with China to the exclusion of other interests such as human rights and regional stability.

    ‘Tremendous Signal’ : Clinton chose Asia as her initial destination to “send a tremendous signal” of the region’s importance to American policy, Wood said. Japan is seeking to highlight the importance of North Korea’s abductions of Japanese nationals in the 1970s and 1980s within the framework of the six-party talks. U.S.-Japan relations were strained last year when then- President George W. Bush removed North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism, something Japan opposed as it eliminated an incentive for Kim’s government to comply with a demand to return the abductees.

    Clinton will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso and Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone, Kawamura said. “I’d like them to discuss the abduction issue,” he said. Other topics will include the possibility of a summit between Obama and Aso, he said.

    Indonesia hosted a climate-change negotiating conference in 2007 in Bali. Obama has pledged to invigorate U.S. participation in international talks aimed at curbing greenhouse gases blamed for a warming climate and environmental damage. Obama spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, the most populous Muslim nation and has said he wants to improve relations with the Muslim world and deliver a speech from a Muslim capital early in his presidency. He hasn’t said where that might occur.

    Asked whether Clinton would be laying groundwork in Indonesia for an Obama visit, Wood said he didn’t know whether or when the president might go there. “We’ll just have to see,” Wood said. “There’s a lot of business to do with Indonesia, and the president’s very interested in, of course, this trip.”

    bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=atT68c2cveMA&refer=asia

  81. Duh. Maybe I should dig a groundhog hole and not stick my neck out. Standing way back and just looking at what the experts I do respect are saying — Krugman, Summers, Geithner…. They all seem to be saying, whatever the faults of the current bill, do throw some money at the problem, asap. (And Hillary supported the October Bailout….)

    What little I’ve heard from Summers, seems to agree with Rivlin: fund what can be spent asap, reconsider the rest when it gets closer to shovel ready.

    Has Hillary given us any hints recently (other than HOLC, which approach Summers was talking about in getting Congress to release the rest of the Bailout)?

  82. Penny Pritzker, Barack Obama’s great Chicago (of course!) friend was a pioneer you might say! She was a failed subprime lender who set the tone all the way back to 2001. She did it before it was even in style.
    ————————–
    An economist with a track record of failure who supports the Obama stimulus plan. Is that the kind of expert witness he should be proffering to the country?

  83. Despite Obama’s promises, rival views are scrubbed from White House
    DAVID SIROTA, Creators Syndicate

    Friday, February 6, 2009

    Only weeks ago, the political world was buzzing about a “team of rivals.” America was told that finally, after years of yes-men running the government, we were getting a president who would follow President Abraham Lincoln’s lead, fill his administration with varying viewpoints, and glean empirically sound policy from the clash of ideas. Little did we know that “team of rivals” was what George Orwell calls “newspeak”: an empty slogan “claiming that black is white, in contradiction of the plain facts.”

    Obama’s national security team, for instance, includes not a single Iraq war opponent. The president has not only retained President George W. Bush’s defense secretary, Robert Gates, but also 150 other Bush Pentagon appointees. The only “rivalry” is between those who back increasing the already bloated defense budget by an absurd amount and those who aim to boost it by a ludicrous amount.

    Of course, that lockstep uniformity pales in comparison to the White House’s economic team – a squad of corporate lackeys disguised as public servants.

    At the top is Lawrence Summers, the director of Obama’s National Economic Council. As President Bill Clinton’s Treasury secretary in the late 1990s, Summers worked with his deputy, Timothy Geithner (now Obama’s Treasury secretary), and Clinton aide Rahm Emanuel (now Obama’s chief of staff) to champion job-killing trade deals and deregulation that Obama Commerce Secretary Judd Gregg helped shepherd through Congress as a Republican senator. Now, this pinstriped band of brothers is proposing a “cash for trash” scheme that would force the public to guarantee the financial industry’s bad loans. It’s another ploy “to hand taxpayer dollars to the banks through a variety of complex mechanisms,” says economist Dean Baker – and noticeably absent is anything even resembling a “rival” voice inside the White House.

    That’s not an oversight. From former federal officials like Robert Reich and Brooksley Born, to Nobel prize-winning economists like Joseph Stiglitz and Paul Krugman, to business leaders like Leo Hindery Jr., there’s no shortage of qualified experts who have challenged market fundamentalism. But they have been barred from an administration focused on ideological purity. In Hindery’s case, the blacklisting was explicit. Despite this venture capitalist establishing a well-respected think tank and serving as a top economic adviser to Obama’s campaign, Politico.com reports that “Obama’s aides appear never to have taken his bid (for an administration post) seriously.” Why? Because he “set himself up in opposition” to Wall Street’s agenda.

    The anecdote highlights how, regardless of election hoopla, Washington is the same one-party town it always has been – controlled not by Democrats or Republicans, but by Kleptocrats (i.e., thieves). Their ties to money make them the undead zombies in the slash-and-burn horror flick that is American politics: No matter how many times their discredited theologies are stabbed, torched and shot down by verifiable failure, their careers cannot be killed. Somehow, these political immortals are allowed to mindlessly lunge forward, never answering to rivals – even if that rival is the president himself.

    Remember, while Obama said he wants to slash “billions of dollars in wasteful spending” at the Pentagon, his national security team is demanding a $40 billion increase in defense spending (evidently, the “ludicrous” faction got its way). Obama also said he wants to crack down on the financial industry, strengthen laws encouraging the government to purchase American goods, and transform trade policy. Yet, his economic team is not just promising to support more bank bailouts, but also to weaken “Buy America” statutes and make sure new legislation “doesn’t signal a change in our overall stance on trade,” according to the president’s spokesman.

    Indeed, if an authentic “rivalry” were going to erupt, it would have been between Obama’s promises and his team of zombies. Unfortunately, the latter seems to have won before the competition even started.

    sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/02/05/EDGO15O7A8.DTL

  84. # NewMexicoFan Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 2:34 pm

    So what is Penny Pritzker known for?
    &&&&&&&&&&

    Wasn’t she in a nursery rhyme?

    Penny Pritzker, pudding and pie.
    nominated by obama, to lie lie lie lie.

  85. Lawrence Summers, the director of Obama’s National Economic Council. As President Bill Clinton’s Treasury secretary in the late 1990s, Summers worked with his deputy, Timothy Geithner (now Obama’s Treasury secretary), and Clinton aide Rahm Emanuel (now Obama’s chief of staff)

    A neat reminder to us all about the team that did a damn good job in the Clinton 90s, taking us from the biggest deficit to the biggest surplus, peace and prosperity, all that stuff….

  86. turndown: did you notice the cbo assessment posted above? Helps in the short run but hurts bad in the long run. If we are going to help the economy more than the bank bailout we must be sure it is being directed at the projects that serve that purpose. If this is a low interest with a ballon payment which we cannot afford in 5 years it is important to get it right.

    The two red flags I see at this point are the failure of the Japanese stimulus plan (thank you for Getners comments on that) and the bank boondoggle where congress failed to do its homework, attach the right strings and now the money is wasted with no appreciable benefit to taxpayers.

  87. “In Hindery’s case, the blacklisting was explicit. Despite this venture capitalist establishing a well-respected think tank and serving as a top economic adviser to Obama’s campaign, Politico.com reports that “Obama’s aides appear never to have taken his bid (for an administration post) seriously.” Why? Because he “set himself up in opposition” to Wall Street’s agenda.”

    ————————-

    and it’s always about Wall Street…grrr…

  88. More on the fiancial shenanigans:

    nytimes.com/2009/02/06/business/economy/06tarp.html?em

    Regulator Says Bailout Fund Is Misleading the Public
    ——————————————————————

    By REUTERS
    Published: February 5, 2009
    WASHINGTON (Reuters) — Watchdogs monitoring the government’s bank bailout called for an overhaul Thursday, with one accusing those running it of misleading the public, while senators slammed the program as chaotic and poorly managed.

    Under the $700 billion program meant to stabilize the financial system, the Treasury Department has so far spent nearly $300 billion to bolster financial institutions and automakers in exchange for preferred shares and warrants.

    But in buying those securities, Henry M. Paulson Jr., then the Treasury secretary, misled the public about how it was going to price them, said Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor and head of an oversight panel for the bailout, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

    “Treasury simply did not do what it said it was doing,” Ms. Warren said at a hearing before the Senate banking committee. Many members of the panel condemned management of the program, which is barely four months old.

    The program proceeded “in a chaotic, unorganized and ad hoc manner,” said Daniel K. Akaka, Democrat of Hawaii.

    Neil M. Barofsky, another watchdog for the program, told the Senate committee his office was turning to criminal investigations. “That’s going to be a large focus of my office,” he said.

    On projections by some analysts that TARP may need more money soon, Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, said, “There will be no additional funding for this program without airtight assurances that it will be better managed.”

    The Obama administration plans to unveil a strategy on Monday aimed at reviving the credit markets, helping struggling homeowners and lifting the economy out of recession.

    Tighter TARP management is expected to be a part of that package. A preview of that came Wednesday when the White House announced a $500,000 annual cap on executive pay at companies receiving TARP money.

    The Bush administration began TARP in response to an alarming slowdown in global capital markets set off by a housing slump that undermined mortgage-backed bonds carried on the books of major financial institutions.

    Congress approved the $700 billion program after Mr. Paulson said it would be used to buy broken bonds and clean off banks’ balance sheets. But days after that approval, Mr. Paulson changed the focus to buying preferred shares in banks.

    Ms. Warren, head of TARP’s Congressional oversight panel, told the banking committee that after three months on the job, her panel was still not getting enough answers from Treasury. She described the bailout as “an opaque process at best.”

    Ms. Warren said she plans to release a report on Friday that calculates Treasury put about $254 billion into financial institutions in 2008, but got only $176 billion in value.

    “That’s a shortfall of about $78 billion,” she said, adding that Mr. Paulson “was not entirely candid” in his description of TARP’s bank capital injection program.

    Mr. Barofsky, the independent TARP inspector general at Treasury, raised concerns about potential fraud in one of several programs financed by bailout money, the Federal Reserve’s Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility. “Treasury should consider requiring that some baseline fraud prevention standards be imposed,” Mr. Barofsky said in his first report to Congress.

    He told the committee the government had collected more than $271 million in dividends from its TARP-financed bank shares and said the department needed a strategy for administering its holdings.

    A Treasury spokesman said the department would adopt many of Mr. Barofsky’s recommendations.

    Treasury holds $279.2 billion in preferred shares from 319 financial institutions, paying dividends of 5 to 10 percent, according to Mr. Barofsky’s report.

    The government also received common stock warrants from 230 institutions, most of which are now out of the money. The largest positions in warrants include the American International Group, Bank of America, Citigroup and General Motors.

  89. JanH Says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 3:16 pm
    “In Hindery’s case, the blacklisting was explicit. …

    and it’s always about Wall Street…grrr…
    &&&&&

    We wondered where these unseen forces were who propped up Obama to get him past Hillary and then McCain…
    Who were these rich guys that laundered their donations to make it seem as if millions of little old ladies and poot people were donating to Obama online?

    It seems obvious that the quid pro quo deal was, “We get you in, you make “history”, and we get our sweetheart deals. But we never had this conversation”.

  90. But in buying those securities, Henry M. Paulson Jr., then the Treasury secretary, misled the public about how it was going to price them
    ——————–
    To repeat what I said yesterday, the man belongs in jail. A few months back Newsweek and others in big media were hyping him as the savior of our economy. Does that tell you anything about their judgment–or lack thereof?

  91. Some very serious and intelligent comments (we liked Freckles’ early comment) and some very funny ones (Camp Woebegone). This might top funniest, craziest story of the day:

    http://www.cq.com/flatfiles/editorialFiles/temporaryItems/biden_gives_odds_on.html?docid=3026783

    Feb. 6, 2009

    Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is nothing if not optimistic. So it was a little surprising when he hedged a bit earlier today, telling House Democrats there is “30 percent chance we’ll get it wrong.”

    He was referring to efforts by the new administration and the Congress to address what he called a “constellation of crises” at home and abroad that pose great risks for the nation.

    “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30 percent chance we’ll get it wrong,” he told the lawmakers at their policy retreat in Williamsburg, Va.

  92. Reid keeps saying he has the votes, but then why is there no vote? Didn’t Obama, like George W. Bush, say he was “a uniter” not a divider?

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18508.html

    Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he is “cautiously optimistic” of success. But as Obama has stepped up his rhetoric, so has his old rival, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), and Friday’s exchanges sometimes resembled a flashback to the 2008 presidential campaign.

    Added tax cuts have expanded the Senate package to the point where it is more than $100 billion above the House-passed bill. But Obama said the estimated $900 billion-plus price tag was “broadly speaking” the right size of the challenges now facing the economy. “It is the right scope. … It will take months even years to renew our economy,” he said. “But every day that Washington fails to act, that recovery is delayed.”

    Taking on the Senate floor later, McCain accused his old opponent of failing to reach out to Republicans as much as Obama once promised.

    We want to have legislation that stimulates this economy,” said McCain. “But we want it to stimulate the economy, not mortgage the future of our children and our grandchildren by the kind of fiscal profligate spending that’s embodied in this legislation.”

    McCain appeared to zero-in on those swing Republicans courted by Obama and Reid, and the hot rhetoric could make it more difficult to strike a deal.

  93. …Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said lawmakers “made progress since last night” and “we’re now in the throes of trying to work something out.” He said he is confident of putting the measure to a vote between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Washington time.

    “Democrats and Republicans must decide today whether they will work together to come up with a plan and join the president on this road to recovery,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “America is waiting to see what we’re going to do.”

    Even so, when Republican Susan Collins of Maine was asked as she walked out of Reid’s office hours later how she felt about prospects of reaching an agreement, she said, “Not as good as I felt earlier.” Collins is among the lawmakers seeking reductions….

    http://bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aMXK7kHQV8NI&refer=us

  94. JanH Says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 4:07 pm
    This is becoming a soap opera…and I know who I would cast as the villians.
    &&&&&

    Is Hillary tied to the train tracks?

    Oh no, someone save her!

  95. JanH, I think you are right. Consider this. just visited gatewaypundit where this is posted:

    John McCain today had this to say on the Senate floor:

    “I’ll tell you how we got here, Mr. President. We got here here by the Speaker of the House saying, “We won, so we wrote the bill.” That’s not what the years I’ve been here is called bipartisanship. So without the votes of 11 democrats and without the votes of a single Republican the bill emerged from the other body and came over here… The bill was written with negligible input from this side of the aisle.

    So what are we up to now? We are up to approximately one trillion dollars… The Congressional Budget Office yesterday said that this legislation would increase employment by the end of the 4th quarter of 2010 by 1.3 million to 3.9 million jobs… I did the math… A 1.2 trillion dollar bill, 3 million jobs, is $923,997 for each job.

  96. rgb44hrc Says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 4:17 pm

    ————————————————

    LOL…The Perils of Hillary!

    ————————————————-

    “I’ll tell you how we got here, Mr. President. We got here here by the Speaker of the House saying, “We won, so we wrote the bill.”

    ————————————————–

    Go John McCain!!!

  97. Get ready to see a LOT of Bobo in the next few weeks:

    Just heard he is holding a town hall rally in Indiana Monday night, and this from the CBS Hotsheet:

    February 6, 2009, 1:54 PM
    Obama To Become Monday Night Fixture
    Posted by Brent Lang

    President Barack Obama is clearly ready for prime-time.

    According to the Washington Post’s Lisa de Moraes , the president will be making three prime-time television appearances in as many weeks. Mr. Obama’s first appearance on all three major broadcast networks is slated for Monday night, when he will hold an hour-long press conference.

    The president’s press conference comes with a hefty price tag for the broadcast networks: More than $9 million will be lost in ad revenue on Monday night alone, according to de Moraes.

    The Post reports that Mr. Obama may tout his economic stimulus package during a shorter prime-time appearance on Feb. 16. The Obama team is also planning an unorthodox address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 24 in the vein of a State of the Union speech. This is expected to clock in at TWO hours.

    Mr. Obama’s first State of the Union won’t come until next year; networks include the event in their annual budgets.

    Monday nights are one of the most popular television nights of the week. Fox’s “House,” NBC’s “Chuck,” ABC’s “The Bachelor,” and CBS’ “How I Met Your Mother” are just a few of their programs that may find themselves postponed or shifted to accommodate Mr. Obama’s appearance.

  98. McCain said, like a few others recently, that 11 democrats did not support the house version of the bill. I thought it was 28 Dems who did not, plus every Reublican

  99. OMG, she was tied to the train tracks.

    Now all Obama has to do is grow a sinister-looking mustache.

    Thanx for the vid.

  100. of course there are going to be ignorant people like my own brother and sister who became obamatized and voted for the lurch. all she can say is well the Republicans are trying to stop the bill. I love how all the country is coming forth now and saying how stupid this bill is. She hears it now. And of course she is hogtied to MSNBC so she really knows nothing true except what I tell her.

    My brother and I still are not speaking over the election. He drives by my house 3 or 4 times a day. We just chose to stay away from each other because the election is not something you can help but discuss.

    My sister and I can agree to disagree and move on to other subjects .. however, I am glad that she is seeing the light.

    OH AND BAMBI IS GIVING SPEECHES ALL NEXT WEEK. ANYTIME HE CONFRONTS A PROBLEM HE READIES A SPEECH. I DON’T BELIEVE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO GIVE A FLYING FIG. HE IS TAKING VALUABLE TV TIME..THE ELECTION IS OVER WHY CAN’T HE JUST FUCKING WORK…

  101. Is Harry Reid losing his mind? Now Reid is demanding (in a letter to Olympia Snowe) that the Republicans get rid of some of the tax cuts from the Senate “stimulus” bill. Whatever one thinks of the tax cuts the bottom line is that Reid needs Republican votes at the moment.

    This latest move will complicate the entire process. The last we had heard from Reid, he wanted a vote today. HoldThemAccountable’s comment indicated Reid wanted a vote around 4-7 today.

    The removal of the tax cuts would be in addition to the items the Ben Nelson/Susan Collins group wants.

    The Senate is no longer a soap opera as some of you suggest. What it has become we don’t know. Has it become a bad cartoon?

    Very odd.

  102. admin, Fox is reporting that Reid is planning a “cloiture” on Sunday??? Meaning no more debate or something?

    IMHO Harry Reid didn’t have a mind to lose. He makes me sick.

  103. Cartoon/soap opera? Whatever. Nancy Pelosi is at war with Harry. The latest from the circus:

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18514.html

    “Washington seems consumed in the process argument of bipartisanship, when the rest of the country says they need this bill,” the California Democrat said, seeming to sweep aside the Obama administration initial desire to have broad GOP support for the plan.

    “We must have a bill [quickly],” she said, in a clear message to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who has spent the past two days wrangling with moderates who want to cut proposed education funding for the states by as much as $50 billion.

    “These cuts are very damaging — [the House bill] was put together very carefully. … The funding goes directly to school districts, they are stimulative because they maintain jobs instead of cutting jobs.”

    Brad Dayspring, a spokesman for House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.), said: “Her comment really makes one wonder whether she understands the concerns of not only the majority of struggling Americans seeking tax relief and job creation, but many members from her own party.”

    Pelosi’s increasingly partisan tone comes a day after Obama stepped up his pressure on Republicans, who have sought to downsize spending and increase tax cuts. They have been joined in their efforts by a coalition of centrist Democrats in the upper chamber, led by Nebraska Democrat Ben Nelson, who has criticized the House stimulus as wasteful and ill-targeted. [snip]

    Earlier, speaking behind closed doors, Pelosi exhorted her House colleagues to “sell, sell, sell” the stimulus package in their districts — cautioning that the next 72 hours will be critical to turn the tide of public opinion for or against the package.

    She called Obama’s counterattack on GOP stimulus foes last night a “fresh approach.”

  104. Pelosi has no idea what is going on in rural America. I wish she had to go to Ky and live for several weeks in a fucking ice storm. I wish she had to come to WV and live in the household with coal miners who have to come home dirty and nasty from work, their lungs filled with coal dust, I wish she had to work at McDonald or Wendy’s and live for a few months on their salary. I wish she didn’t have the very best health care and had to do what I do .. bargain with the provider and DO WITHOUT. I have to look for sliding fees, free services, preventative, health fairs, etc.

    SHE IS FUCKING DELUSIONAL.

    Pukosi needs to be tied to the frickin rail road tracks and LEFT

    I conveniently have tracks across the road from me!

  105. When Obama goes out to Indiana and Florida to sell the package will he take non planted questions about it from the floor?

    Spare us the fucking speech. Give us accurate facts statistics and answers. Tell us why the cbo is wrong and you are right. You say everyone thinks he is an economist sir? Is that what you are? Where did you get your degree in economics? I would not be asking but you have seen fit to conceal your transcripts.

  106. Haha Franken may have to stand aside too…

    Overlooked in coverage of Tim Geithner’s and Tom Daschle’s unpaid taxes is the $70,000 that Minnesota Democratic senatorial candidate Al Franken has admitted to owing in back taxes, interest, and penalties.

    Last April, the California Tax Franchise Board revealed that Franken owed the state $5,800 in taxes, fines, and penalties because he did not file returns in 2003 through 2007. Franken then admitted that he owed more than $50,000 in back taxes to 17 states.

    Franken blamed everything on his accountant of 18 years, saying he failed to report the income from the comedian’s celebrity appearances and speeches in those states where he made money outside of Minnesota and New York, where he lives. Franken claimed he overpaid taxes in those two states and will file for refunds.

    But the accountant, Allen Chanzis, has not verified Franken’s account. In fact, he has said he was told not to talk to the press. Nor has Franken released any documentation to show that he overpaid taxes in two states.

    “I’ve been told to say ‘no comment,’” the accountant told reporters.

  107. barky’s same ole pattern. whip the masses up with a frenzied speech. I’m sure Tweety is waiting with baited breath and we are most likely going to have to hear some “coined phrases” from this.

    What a way to run our country. How sad when we could have had someone in control who could handle the job from day one.

  108. And in THIS ring!

    Diane Feinstein “reserves the right to vote against the stimulus bill….”

    Bwahahahahahah!

    (from Fox News)

  109. Just caught first bit of 5:30 news, ABC out of Philly. Stimulus was first story out. TJ Winnick said Senate was on a break until 6:30 at which time they will reconvene. Don’t recall if it is for vote. Seems like O is really anxious to get out of town. If Harry comes through tonight, O’s trip will be unnecessary. Feel certain he’d go anyway. Maybe vote is not so close. If others sounded off in vein similar to McCain, perhaps no one is in the mood to yea and nay.

  110. Some more Feinstein.

    “I have had very little to do with this bill, in the sense of writing it. I think many of us feel the same way.”
    *********************
    “I am growing increasingly concerned about the bill – is it really going to be a stimulus . . .
    *************************
    “I think while we dither, Rome burns.”

  111. Lets hope Feinstein grabs some other dimwits by the balls and forces them to UNDERSTAND that bill is just junk.

    I want a bill but I want a bill that is going to help us for the foreseeable future. If that is possible.

    Some of it is too that I want to see him squirm

  112. Aka – I am waiting to see what way the wind blows, if it comes across as putting me in a shit position, i’ll vote against, totally fucking spineless.

  113. Update;

    “A group of Senate moderates working on an amendment to cut up to $100 billion in spending from the economic stimulus package have completed a tentative proposal that will be presented to Senate Democrats at a 5:30 p.m. caucus meeting, Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad told reporters. “There is a proposal that is sufficiently fleshed out and we will have a caucus and discuss it,” Conrad said after emerging from talks in Senate Majority Leader Reid’s office. Democrats hope the proposal, developed by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ben Nelson, R-Neb. [SIC], will attract several GOP supporters and be acceptable to all Democrats, which would allow for passage of the plan as early as tonight

  114. And once again, while obama sits by and lets Rome burn…Hillary is on the job! I love the last paragraph of the article…

    ———————————

    Clinton Packs Full Asia Agenda for First Trip as Secretary of State:

    By Glenn Kessler
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, February 6, 2009; Page A14

    Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will travel to Asia on her first voyage as chief diplomat, skipping the more traditional itinerary of Europe or the Middle East in order to place a renewed focus on an area with half the world’s population and gross domestic product.

    Clinton will depart Feb. 15 and visit three key East Asian nations — Japan, South Korea and China — and also Indonesia, the State Department said in a statement that notably did not mention the nuclear impasse with North Korea, a traditional discussion topic for the region. Instead, spokesman Robert Wood highlighted the global financial crisis and climate change as being among the key subjects Clinton will raise on her trip.

    Both Japan, with the world’s second-biggest economy, and China, with one of the fastest-growing economies, are critical to efforts to emerge from the worldwide economic crisis, while South Korea is an important trading partner with the United States. Indonesia, where President Obama spent some of his childhood, is the world’s largest Muslim nation.

    Clinton’s focus on climate change appears to be part of a broader administration effort to try to persuade China to join with the United States in an effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Asia Society and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change yesterday issued a joint report laying out a “road map” for U.S.-China cooperation on climate change — a project that was co-chaired by Steven Chu, now energy secretary, and included contributions from Jeffrey A. Bader, now the top Asia staff member on the National Security Council. The report called for a leaders’ summit on climate change and the establishment of a high-level council of top officials from both countries to guide policy.

    Some experts, however, warn that China may demand a freer hand on such contentious issues as Taiwan and Tibet in exchange for working with the United States on reducing emissions.

    Clinton signaled recently that she wanted to elevate the dialogue the administration holds with Chinese officials, with State helping taking the lead not only on diplomacy but also on economic matters. “We need a comprehensive dialogue with China,” she told reporters. “The strategic dialogue that was begun in the Bush administration turned into an economic dialogue.”

    In the Bush administration, the key discussions on economics and climate change were conducted by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr., though periodic discussions were also held at the level of the deputy secretary of state. Some administration officials have advocated establishing such a dialogue at the vice presidential level, modeled after the commission headed by Vice President Al Gore and Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin. But Clinton also intends to play a leading role, as does Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner, who speaks Chinese.

    As preparation for her trip, Clinton last night had dinner with about a dozen experts on East Asia, seeking ideas and proposals. The dinner was organized by State’s new head of policy planning, Anne-Marie Slaughter, and the guests included Michael J. Green, a former top adviser to President George W. Bush on Asia, economist Nicholas Lardy of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and Wendy Sherman, an Asia expert who headed Obama’s State Department transition team.

    washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/02/06/ST2009020600245.html

  115. I cna’t BELIEVE the cretin who’s now CIC!
    Check what he said (last night?).
    from NQ.

    Obama, speaking to about 200 House Democrats at their annual retreat at the Kingsmill Resort and Spa, dismissed Republican attacks against the massive spending in the stimulus.

    “What do you think a stimulus is?” Obama asked incredulously. “It’s spending — that’s the whole point! Seriously.”

    Stabbing hard at Republicans who once aligned themselves with his predecessor, Obama made it clear that the problems he seeks to address with his recovery plan weren’t ones of his making.

    “When you start hearing arguments, on the cable chatter, just understand a couple of things,” he said. “No. 1, when they say, ‘Well, why are we spending $800 billion [when] we’ve got this huge deficit?’ – first of all, I found this deficit when I showed up, No. 1.

    “I found this national debt, doubled, wrapped in a big bow waiting for me as I stepped into the Oval Office.”

  116. Officials say tentative stimulus deal reached [2 minutes ago]

    news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090206/ap_on_go_co/congress_stimulus

  117. DINO DiFi:

    “What in my view a stimulus is, is not candidly speaking a tax package,” she said. “I do not believe in this economy tax cuts are stimulative… I worry about this economy. The point of this package is to get jobs out to the people. So I reserve the right at the end of the day to vote against a package that does not put those jobs out there.”

  118. Jan,

    I believe the above post is from the speech last night.

    The line about ‘cab;e chatter’ is aimed at talk radio – he’s intent on shutting them down.

    The TV networks are apparently growing peeved at BHO’s “I won and I’m the boss of you” attitude.

    “President Obama’s desire to talk — and talk, and talk — to the American public could cost broadcast networks millions, and millions, and millions of prime-time TV dollars,” Lisa de Moraes writes at WaPo.
    Broadcasters are bracing themselves for the likelihood of three prime-time interruptions in three weeks, totaling at least three hours of prime time — and ad breaks — yanked.
    ****************************
    “His economic stimulus package apparently does not extend to the TV networks,” one network exec noted.
    FOX, CBS, ABC and NBC are all affected to the tune of about 3 mill each
    ******************************************
    But besides the economic hit, broadcasters are worried that this kind of shock-and-awe approach to prime-time preempting might be part of an Obama strategy to charm his way to a new economic-rescue plan. “As we’re meeting this guy, from a network perspective, it’s like, ‘Is this part of the plan for him?’ ” the network exec said. “Is this what it’s going to be: Is he going to take to the airwaves every time he has something to say?”
    ******************************e.
    “Do people really want to come home after looking for a job, or after being at a job they hate, sit down to veg out in front of their favorite show — and he’s on again?” said one TV suit, who suspects/hopes the Average Joe’s reaction to too much Obamavision might be “nothing he’s going to say is going to help me get a job, or put food on the table.”
    Said the TV suit: “He could lose a lot of goodwill doing this.”

  119. “Officials say tentative stimulus deal reached [2 minutes ago]”

    !#$$#@!

    Those f***ing cowardly hyporcrites.

  120. We all knew they would agree to something. What is important is he did not get that flaming overwhelming support.

    They disentors cannot risk being called unpatriotic, and standing in the way of helping the economy. However, by giving him this bad time, they can say they tried to resisted.

  121. I said this yesterday;

    (from another blog)

    ‘This all has been a game of foolery. Obama only wanted 775 billion. They added all this crap in to just end up taking it out, making it look like they’re bipartisan’.

  122. moononpluto,

    I didn’t know it was possible to despise a CIC as much as I despise That One!

    I mean, I couldn’t stand GWB but at least I felt he was authentic and sincere. I disagreed with almost everything he did but in the end I had to respect him for consistency.

    I have ZERO resoect for BHO. He’s a total con artist.

  123. perhaps Teddy will have another episdode. Sorry, I’m being mean I know but it’s how I feel about this whole fucking bill of shit.

  124. Remember this is the first act of this mess becoming his. Where this money really goes, will be watched carefully, and so will the unemployment numbers.

  125. Yeah wheeling old TK in on a stretcher does not strike me as having the 60, they have 59.

    The Maine Sisters and Specter are the traitors, Voinovich walked out earlier

  126. No attack on Hillary – but US foreign policy hasn’t changed since Bush. Very disappointed. – Just before anyoen attacks me. I love Hillary & think the world of her. But, this is not a policy issue. So, I am going to ignore any personal attacks. Those who have been here long enough know me. I am a silent reader and visit here every day.
    —————————————–

    The yawn or yarn by Clinton and Miliband?by Lucien Rajakarunanayake

    From the days of Winston Churchill and thereafter, we have heard so much of the special relationship between the United States of America and the United Kingdom. They were together in what was the disproportionate carpet bombing of Dresden, ordered by Churchill that wiped out this German city, when the Nazis were on the verge of defeat. They were in a tight embrace against the “Iron Curtain”.

    There were some hiccups in the special relationship when the USA, in the days of President Eisenhower, frowned on the Anglo-French-Israeli attack on Egypt, after the nationalizing of the Suez Canal by President Nasser. The frown of Big Brother Dwight from across the Atlantic was enough for the Brits and Francs to pull back from Suez.

    We saw this relationship get extra special when Tony Bair, as the Prime Minister of New Labour in the UK, decided to be the pet-Western poodle of President George W. Bush in his War on Terror, and committed British troops to regime change in Iraq, with the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The special relationship of the poodle in London and the Master in Washington DC was warm and strong when Blair lied to the House of Commons about Iraq having Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), the same way that Bush lied both to the US Congress, and both jointly lied to the UN Security Council about Iraq and WMDs.

    But it appears that even the promise of “Change” under President Barack Obama, has not done much to change this special relationship in deceit, especially when it is demonstrated by the new US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and the British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. It is no secret that Hillary Clinton is more than a closet hawk in US politics. Her comments on how she would deal with Iran during her failed campaign for the US Democratic Party nomination, showed enough of that. David Miliband has of late been seen as one who believes he wears the mantle of British Foreign Secretaries of its colonial period, especially the final Churchillian phase, when he shoots his mouth about Indo-Pakistani relations.

    But Hillary and David seem to have got so cozy in their deceitful special relationship in their joint statement about the current situation in Sri Lanka. They are full of tears about “plight of thousands if internally displaced person trapped in the fighting in northern Sri Lanka”. All one can say is that they are not alone. We in Sri Lanka are also gravely concerned about that. The difference is that we know, unlike these cozy partners in Foreign Affairs, that much of this sad plight is caused by the LTTE – the criminal group seen and named, but obviously not shamed, by both the US and UK governments as an international terrorist organization.

    In fact we have also been deeply conscious, and pained through the years, about the plight of all citizens who have been killed and maimed being caught in the vast “no war zone” that is all of Sri Lanka, outside the small piece of land over which the LTTE still lords with its weapons, and possibly wants to call Thamil Eelam. In case, goody-goody Hillary and David have not heard of it, I would ask them surf the web on LTTE terror, and look up places such as Kebetigollawa, Kaththankudy, the Central Bank in Colombo, Arantalawa, Moneragala and Buttala, Nugegoda etc., etc., – the list keeps growing and the numbers killed and maimed were children, women and men, all of them civilians who carried no arms against the LTTE or anyone. Did any of this bring tears to Hillary or David? Not bloody likely

    There is a strange coincidence, worth recalling, about the current international wail about the humanitarian crisis they perceive in the north of Sri Lanka. It is that whenever the LTTE is about suffer a major blow, as we saw at Vakarai, (in the East where they are not a force anymore) there is always an international howl about a hospital being bombed. There were such copious tears shed prior to Vakarai, and after that too. One would think the Sri Lankan Government and its security forces are eager to shoot themselves in their feet, as it were, to keep on shelling hospitals, when their fire could be put to much better use against the lethally armed LTTE. But the “international community” (incidentally much less than half the world population, and not including the most populous India and China), and Hillary and David do not think that way. May be they still carry with them the false glory of the White Man’s Burden. For Hillary it must be the glory of the Ku Klux Klan and White Power in the United States, as well as what the white man did to the native Indians there. David Miliband must still believe what his father may have told him about Indian native power in the Calcutta Mutiny, and how the British put it down.

    There is something, more pressing in the current thoughts of Hillary and David. It is how much they differ from the Tokyo Co-Chairs (TCC) – that pack of Norwegian-led do-gooders who were doing their best to persuade or compel Sri Lanka accept peace on the terms of the LTTE, and those who supported them in Colombo and Sri Kotha.

    Their statement by Hillary & David, issued by the US Embassy in Colombo, claims to welcome the latest statement by the TCC – to wit, Norway, Japan, US and the EU, also issued by the same US embassy in Colombo. But they refer only to the aspects of the internally displaced in the northern fighting. They maintain a damning silence about the call by the TCC for the LTTE to lay down arms. They say nothing of the TCC warning to the LTTE that they have hardly any time left before losing all the land they hold. Mum’s the word on this by the Hillary-David duo. They are carrying on a miming act, about a humanitarian tragedy, with hardly a word about who is responsible for all this.

    Are we to believe that that the US – through Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the UK – through its Foreign Secretary – David Miliband, have distanced their countries from the larger statement that the TCC has issued? Or else, what is it that prompts them to relay the braying of the propagandists of the LTTE only?

    Does the US and UK, or the Foreign Offices in Washington and London not share the view of the TCC, that it is time for the LTTE to lay down arms, to ease the suffering of the Tamil people in those tragic areas, where they have suffered for long enough.

    Yet, what can one expect from the two countries that steadfastly refused to call on Israel to halt its “disproportionate air and ground attacks” on the Gaza Strip, in the last days of George W Bush, when the entire world called for it? When did the West care for world opinion, as opposed to the “international community”?

    This is western duplicity at its worst. Do we see a gaping yawn across the Atlantic – with the Washington not agreeing with the EU on the actuality of developments in Sri Lanka as seen by the TCC? Or, do we see a great big yarn from London, with the UK not agreeing to what the EU, of which it is a member, saying on what needs to be done by the LTTE?

    One requires a fool to believe that a government fighting terrorism keeps raining artillery fire, day after day, on a hospital, where all medical facilities are carried on by its own medical and nursing staff. But, who would dare say that Hillary Clinton and David Miliband are fools. Instead, they have shown themselves as the yawn and the yarn of the West; ready to be misled and also mislead the “international community”, who will no doubt cheer them along.

  127. and then obamatwit will descend down the aisle with his crown and sceptre and accept all the accolades for this over-bloated plan.

  128. reckon he’ll still have to be on tv all next week, interrupting important programs? reckon he’ll cancel his trips and stay in the white house and work for his salary.

  129. Secret,

    As far as I’m concerned, Hillary is opening up a much-needed dialogue with countries that have been slapped in the face in the past. She is mending bridges and yes it is being done slowly, but a “bulldozer” effect here would be extremely arrogant and doubtful of success.

    as far as calling on “Israel to halt its “disproportionate air and ground attacks” on the Gaza Strip,” I may be prejudiced because I am Jewish, but I’m still waiting for “the rest of the world” to criticize the Palestinian terrorists who bombarded Israel for 7 solid months before Israel decided to retaliate.

  130. Thing is, he’s only been in the WH for 2 wks and he’s already out campaigning, for fuck sakes, give us all a break.

  131. Secret: Hillary has been in office for all of 2 weeks. she is getting oriented to her new position and staff. Give her a friggin break. Maybe, criticism will be warranted, if she hasn’t solved all the ills of world by then. It is much too soon for this kind of judgement.

  132. Good Evening all

    who watched the press conference today with gibbs?? I did, i was surprised that Jake Tapper actually got to ask 1 question much less many, he kept pressing gibbs again today and when gibbs tired of him and moved to the next journalist, his eyes stayed fixed on tapper for an extra 30 seconds before moving to the guy who was already in mid question……it was an obvious!! FU to tapper moment LMAO!!!

    also did you notice??….. near the end of the conference a woman journalist asked gibbs about the obama administration blocking the release of US and UK information (mainly US documentation) regarding the USS Cole bombing mastermind in the British courts[i posted the uk times article about this in yesterdays article here at big pink]…….gibbs did a fast “no comment” and moved at lightning speed to the next journalists question.

    I was totally in shock that an American Journalist would have the nerve to ask about this since it has not come out in US MSM
    yet that the obama admin is blocking any attempt at releasing this information.

    SO MUCH FOR TRANSPARENCY!

  133. Secret loves the color of money and the warmth of the messiah’s touch to motivate him into posting zerox copies of retribution marching orders on this site.Brings to mind an old saying about job performance(edited) “Any acorn with a note can carry out a simple task for a simple Leader”. Your stimulus check will never arrive secret you have been snookered once more.

    By ABM90

  134. A neat reminder to us all about the team that did a damn good job in the Clinton 90s, taking us from the biggest deficit to the biggest surplus, peace and prosperity, all that stuff….

    I don’t believe you can look at that in isolation. You are not figuring in the importance of bill clinton in the equation. Clinton also set about balancing the budget. There was a environment of fiscal discipline and responsibility which is missing now. there was real leadership from a hard working, intelligent president…….one who worked his way to the top.

  135. I was quite miserable with the results of the selection (election), but I had no idea how much fun this would be so soon.

    I continue to hope that O will be so weak that he will be challenged by Hillary in 4 years so that the country doesn’t turn to a conservative repug when they tire of Obamaland.

  136. Carol Says:

    February 6th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    ———————————————————————————————–

    Lindsay Graham was right. BO is not providing any leadership. He is at the Kennedy Center for a gala tonight, and he may be going to Camp David this weekend. Fidlin while Rome burns. No leadership, whatsoever.

    McCain was talking about trying to balance the budget, when the crisis is over, but no one would sign off on it. Where is the common sense? We need a stimulus, but I have a feeling, this bill may be a bust.

    Paula, think I heard, the vote would take place on Sunday.

  137. I don’t know, if this has been posted, but here is the “outside” economic team.

    David Sirota of OpenLeft commenting this PM on Obama’s… “Outside” Economic Advisory Board

    Just to reiterate, President Obama today announced his “outside” economic advisory board, which is supposed to give him alternative economic viewpoints from the team of zombies he has working directly in the White House. Sadly, this “outside” board is made up mostly of Establishment and corporate insiders. Here’s the list:

    – William H. Donaldson, George W. Bush’s S.E.C Chairman
    – Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President & CEO, TIAA-CREF

    – Robert Wolf, Chairman & CEO, UBS Group Americas

    – David F. Swensen, CIO, Yale University

    – Mark T. Gallogly, Founder & Managing Partner, Centerbridge Partners L.P.

    – Penny Pritzker, Chairman & Founder, Pritzker Realty Group

    – Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO, GE

    – John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers

    – Jim Owens, Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc.

    – Monica C. Lozano, Publisher & Chief Executive Officer, La Opinion

    – Charles E. Phillips, Jr., President, Oracle Corporation

    – Anna Burger, Chair, Change to Win

    – Richard L. Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO

    – Professor Laura D’Andrea Tyson, board member of Morgan Stanley

    – Martin Feldstein, former top economist in the Reagan administration

  138. Secret, it may be a bit soon to cast aspersions on Hillary about LTTE as that article does. But Miliband has been known to stick his foot in his mouth more than once. US HAS to recognize LTTE as a terrorist organization that uses suicide bombs and other disruptions in a civil society. Even India at one point tried to help Srilanka root out LTTE (and paid a heavy price in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination by an LTTE suicide bomber). I have not kept up with recent events in Srilanka but US can’t call one group terrorists and another freedom fighters.

  139. I hate Miliband. He is a total idiot. Going to India and telling them what to do and suggesting terror in India is not encouraged by Pak.

    What I am disappointed with Hillary is – her inability to condemn LTTE. It is a terror organization that has a record of violating human rights and notorious for not listening to anyone. So, why should a legitimate Govt not have the right to destroy a terror group in their own country?

    ******************************Please people calm down*****************************
    I clearly said it is not an attack on Hillary. I like her, I love her. Most oldies & Admin knows that. But, I will speak about policy issues here. I might disagee with her on policies. I am not like one of these Obamabots who agee with him on everything totally. You can love & admire a person but disagee with them on a ceratin policy.

    I also acknowledge that Hillary will carry what Obama idiot wants. So, it may not be her personal view. I understand the constraints she works under. Which is specifically why I said – US Foreign policy. Didn’t say Hillary.
    ********************************************************************************
    so, lighten up and read what I said before you attack me. And accuse me of being a Obama fan. That’s an ultimate insult for a Hillary Fan. So, if anyone does it – well, all I can say is – you are spitting on your face.
    *****************************************************************************

    I love you ADMIN – you are doinga fantastic job. Read your articles everyday. And love the posts from oldies here.

  140. pm317,
    You are absolutely right. If US is not willing to help Sri Lanka eliminate LTTE at least shut up. Don’t pair with stupid David Miliband [total moron] and ask Govt who is on the verge of eliminating LTTE to talk to them. For godsakes – would America talk with Osama Bin Laden? How about the civilians in Iraq and Afghan? So, if America has the right to protect its country by invading foreign countries. Why cannot Sri Lanka protect itself by eliminating terrorists from its own soil? LTTE poses serious threats to India as well [has lot of establishment sympathizers from a southern Indian state called Tamil Nadu]. So, eliminating LTTE is a good riddance for South Asia and for the world. And that is why I wanted to bring this issue to people’s awareness here.

  141. Secret, maybe you should send the article to Hillary at the State Department. If the matter is brought to her attention, she’ll probably act on it, or at least try to. It is still early in the administration, but someone might need to bring this issue to their attention. Hillary will have to act within the constraints of the administration. I love Hillary too, but I don’t agree with her on everything.

  142. rgb44hrc Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    OMG, she was tied to the train tracks.

    Now all Obama has to do is grow a sinister-looking mustache.

    ==================

    Hm? Axelrod already got that part.

  143. For what it is worth, here are my subjective impressions of his “independent” team of economic advisors–off the top of my head. Question: if you look at this list you begin to wonder what the world independent means . . . .

    – William H. Donaldson, George W. Bush’s S.E.C Chairman

    My comment: best analyst on wall street, in my opinion. Was head of Donaldson Lufkin and Jenerette. Admirable ethical guy. How the hell he got on this list I will never know.

    – Roger W. Ferguson, Jr., President & CEO, TIAA-CREF

    My comment : no immediate reaction

    – Robert Wolf, Chairman & CEO, UBS Group Americas

    My comment: total fucking whore. Soros man. Globalist. Destroyer of middle class. Helped plan Obama campaign in secret meetings arranged by Soros in Jan. 2008.

    – David F. Swensen, CIO, Yale University

    My comment: no immediate reaction

    – Mark T. Gallogly, Founder & Managing Partner, Centerbridge Partners L.P.

    Comment: venture capitalist. Speculator. Big Obama backer with ties to Chicago machine.

    – Penny Pritzker, Chairman & Founder, Pritzker Realty Group

    Comment: bank failure. Suspicous transactions. Big Obama backer. Ties to Chicago machine. Bad medicine. He floated her name for commerce and withdrew it within 24 hours.

    – Jeffrey R. Immelt, CEO, GE

    Comment: heavily invested in Obama because of 40 trillion dollar nuclear deal. Pulls strings at msnc and nbc. Globalist who sees middle class as cashcow. Whore. A product of that corrupt Jack Welch environment. Pulls the strings that make Capus dance. Riddled with a conflict of interest between what is good for GE and what is good for the country.

    – John Doerr, Partner, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers

    Comment: international law firm who profits through outsourcing us jobs and global financial transactions.

    – Jim Owens, Chairman and CEO, Caterpillar Inc.

    Comment: union buster but may be okay otherwise.

    – Monica C. Lozano, Publisher & Chief Executive Officer, La Opinion

    Comment: propagandist for hispanic news service owned by the Chicago Trib. Only reason she is there is because she endorsed Mr Obama in the primary.

    – Charles E. Phillips, Jr., President, Oracle Corporation

    Comment: not the big dog.

    – Anna Burger, Chair, Change to Win

    Comment: she is the nominal head to the Teamsters and SEIU faction that spun off from AFL-CIO. Hoffa wants 10 year trusteeship to be lifted. Stern wants employee free choice act and other dispensation. Both betrayed HRC and supported Mr Obama.

    – Richard L. Trumka, Secretary-Treasurer, AFL-CIO: he was embroiled in a financial scheme involving lobbyists and former Teamster President Ron Carey. Was slated to become head of AFL-CIO but that took him down. Carey was later prosecuted on account of this transaction.

    – Professor Laura D’Andrea Tyson, board member of Morgan Stanley

    Comment: one of my heroines. Love her.

    – Martin Feldstein, former top economist in the Reagan administration

    Comment: trickle down economics. The rich get rich and the poor get poorer. In the meantime, in between time aint we got fun? Not likely pilgrim.

  144. Bridgal,
    Good idea. Thanks. I will do that – I won’t send the article – because that is a vehement attack from opinion section of Sri Lankan English Newspaper. [understandable] And it gets a bit personal I believe.
    I will still try to send an email pointing out the human right violation by the LTTE. And how no one including USA could hold them accountable. So, why should USA provide tacit support to a criminal terrorist organization that has killed thousands of innocent civilians? Why..?So, I will send that. Thanks again Bridgal.

  145. Secret, Miliband is a joke in UK. Some call him the banana man..See Melanie Phillips’s blog (she is a bit right wing but she says the right things about Islamic jihad and global terrorism, India-Pak and Israel-Palestine..)

  146. Carol Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    tdo: A neat reminder to us all about the team that did a damn good job in the Clinton 90s, taking us from the biggest deficit to the biggest surplus, peace and prosperity, all that stuff….
    ————–

    carol: I don’t believe you can look at that in isolation. You are not figuring in the importance of bill clinton in the equation. Clinton also set about balancing the budget. There was a environment of fiscal discipline and responsibility which is missing now. there was real leadership from a hard working, intelligent president…….one who worked his way to the top.

    ==============

    And who do you think that old Clinton team is going to phone first at 3 am? Depends on which time zone Bill and Hillary are in, respectively, I suppose.

  147. How many Republican votes did he get in the House for this bill? Zero

    How many Republican votes did he get in the Senate? Zero. Except for Spectre and the sisters from Main. The weakest links.

    This is not a bipartisan bill. If turns the economy around and produces jobs then he will be a hero. And yes it need to go to committee.

    The Congressional Budget Office words will cast a long shadow over this. It is a pork bill not a stimulus plan. The only intelligible justification for it is I won. That too is a lie.

    There is no glory in this for Mr Obama. All he can do is make telepromptered speeches. When the going got tough he observed from a safe distance.

  148. Just read in my hometown paper in Ohio that three communities might share $1.2M. You divide that by three, and that will not buy very much in each community. I don’t see that saving many people.

  149. I’m sorry, what incentive do the Repubs have for voting for a Democratic Bill? Why would you want a bipartisan bill? Do you feel Republicans are good stewards of the economy?

  150. MJ: I think, it is because BO was going to end the partisanship. He set this up. The dims had most of the votes, but needed a few Repubs to cross over.

    If Bo was a leader, he would be staying in town, going over this bill, line by line. Remember, when he used to talk about going line by line to eliminate waste? Where is he tonight? At the Kennedy Center, Camp David for a family outing tomorrow, and the list goes on. He needs to take a look at his budget for eliminating waste.

    Described by his press secretary as “a restless soul,” President Obama will be moving around quite a bit in the coming week.

    The first family heads to Camp David for the first time on Saturday. The Obamas will stay overnight and return on Sunday.

    On Monday and Tuesday, Obama is slated to travel to Indiana and Florida for town hall meetings on the economic stimulus package slowly making its way through Congress.

    On Thursday, he flies to Springfield, Ill. For an Abraham Lincoln celebration. And then on Friday, the Obama family will return to Chicago for the first time since moving to DC shortly after the new year.

    “I’m sure the president and the first lady will go out for Valentine’s Day,” Robert Gibbs said.

    Asked if the president is already feeling cooped up in the White House after three weeks in office, Gibbs replied, “Safe to say.”

    “He’s a bit of a restless soul,” Gibbs explained. “His idea of a crazy day is to take a long walk…in solitude and isolation.”

    politico.com/politico44/perm/0209/restless_potus_940a1af4-b584-4310-9302-7397329e9b69.html

    BTW, the new basketball court will be built at Camp David.

    He isn’t really working on this bill. Just posturing.

  151. “BTW, the new basketball court will be built at Camp David.”

    You are kidding me? How much time does he plan to spend there?

    I know Obama wanted post partisanship, but does anyone here want that? Look at what the Republicans have done, always do, with the economy. They are horrible with economic policy. I think this bill should have included funding for things that actually transform the economy, but what makes this bill so pathetic isn’t so-called “pork”, it’s tax cuts that have no stimulative value. If BO wanted a tax cut that would stimulate, he should have implemented a payroll tax holiday. But the idea that the bill would have been better with more republican ideas is ludicrous.

  152. mj: I don’t think the bill would have been better with more republican ideas, although, they did come up with the 15,000 tax credit for homeowners, wanted a lower interest, but didn’t get it. Also, the tax savings for buying a new care may be helpful for the economy.

    Actually, partisanship may help to keep checks and balances. If everyone agreed, how much fun could that be? It would be boring. Sounds like a dictatorship.

    Sources: Obama is Building a Basketball Court at Camp David
    Date: Friday, January 23, 2009, 2:18 pm
    By: Michael Cottman, BlackAmericaWeb.com

    President Barack Obama could soon be shooting hoops on his own custom-made basketball court at Camp David, sources told BlackAmericaWeb.com in an exclusive interview Thursday.

    Obama, the sources said, would become the first president in history to build a basketball court at Camp David – or any official retreat for a U.S. commander-in-chief.

    The president, who has a passion for basketball and plays every chance he gets to help stay in shape, may be dribbling the ball on his own hardwood by spring.

    Measurements for wall padding for the court has already started by a company called Resilite based in Sunbury, Pennsylvania.

    A source told BlackAmericaWeb.com that Resilite is “currently working on a project with the Obama administration at Camp David and it involves a basketball court. It’s early in the project, but [the company] is taking measurements for wall padding. Generally the padding is four- to six-foot panels.”

    blackamericaweb.com/?q=articles/news/moving_america_news/5949&page=4

    Wonder, if any of the stimulus money is going to pay for this??? At what cost? There is a basketball court at the WH, but it is outside.

  153. 15,000 tax credit for homeowners, wanted a lower interest

    Not actually very good ideas. Will actually reinforce the housing bubble.

  154. I agree with partisanship. That’s my point. Why would we want a bipartisan economic bill after the last 8 years of hell and frankly, poor economic policy from Republicans for a very long time.

  155. mj,

    Maybe Obama plans to give his Wall Street backers what they want, so as an excuse he pretends he needs the GOP votes.

  156. Wouldn’t a lower interest rate for refinancing help the housing situation? If people could lower their interest rates, lower their payments, more might be able to stay in their homes. Wouldn’t this put more money into the economy? 15,000 tax credit for first time home buyers doesn’t sound too bad to me. Both of those things would help to stimulate the housing market.

    Well, Bo wanted a bipartisan bill. The Republicans have done a horrible job for the past 8 years. I don’t think the present tax cuts have helped very much.

    My main issue with this bill, is that it seems like a hodgepodge of spending, but no real plan for how the economy is going to be stimulated. Poor planning and seems too rushed.

  157. Where do I sign up to aid in the DEFEAT of Collins, Snowe, and Spector? The three stooges should go down in flames and should be publicaaly flogged by their constituents and tarred and feathered in their home districts. I’m as mad as when HRC was robbed in open daylight. The absolute gaul of these elected officials to send us all down the river is so over the top that there are no words to describe what these TRAITORS deserve. Folks, we are at the peak of what was the American Dream and we’re all going down in one huge avalanche. Pelosi and Reid have turned our country into a circus while the chicken$h!+ son of Frank Marshall Davis goes into hiding with his dweeby, weasel self. MUTINY….REVOLUTION…..N O W !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  158. The thing I like about this is bambi reid and pelosi get 100% of the credit if the bill stems the job loss and 100% of the blame if it does not. It will not achieve that objective because a mere 5% is deovoted to job creation and it will make the situation worse over a 3-5 year period. If this bill had been properly targeted and stripped up its pork to his cronies, if it was based on pay as you go instead of borrowing then it would have been a positive thing. As things stand it will not stem the tide of job loss, will dilute the dollar and will exascerbate the long term debt load in a way that squeezes out private investment. We needed a good bill and we ended up with a bad one thanks to Collins, Snowe and Spectre.

  159. And you are hoping what, wbboei? that the Republicans will take back over the House? What are your favorite cuts that the gang of 18 got in the Senate bill? The cuts to state stabilization? Cuts to education? Cuts to Bill Clinton’s COPS program? Cuts in food stamps? 18 people a minute are losing their jobs right now. Do you think more job loss for teachers, cops, first responders, is going to help the economy? Just curious.

  160. I agree with partisanship. That’s my point. Why would we want a bipartisan economic bill after the last 8 years of hell and frankly, poor economic policy from Republicans for a very long time.
    ————————–
    I have never been and will never be a proponent of one party rule. Democrat or Republican. I wanted a better bill–one that would create jobs. Now the only thing we will get through commitee is something somewhere in between a bad senate bill and a worse house bill. This will not solve the problem.

  161. Well, the Republicans don’t know how to enact policy that creates jobs. that’s what you seem to be missing here. Partisanship is how you do not end up with one Party rule. If everything is “bipartisan” you essentially have a permanent one-Party state.

  162. At least we all agree that we prefer partisanship. The bill is not as good as it could be, if it had been thought out more clearly.

    When I looked at the stimulus website this a.m., Ca had over 1900 projects earmarked. Most of them seemed to be centered in So. CA and the Bay Area.

  163. So CA, and the bay area, so where do most people in CA live? Where has the construction market dropped off the most?

    Do you know which President accomplished the most in his first year in the last century? LBJ. Do you know how? He’d make deals, make sure every congressional vote he needed had something to bring home to their constituents. That’s politics. There’s nothing wrong with it. i agree with admin in so much is there is no vision to this spending bill. it should have had a big high-speed rail component, and a connected national grid. that would have literally transformed the economy. But stabilizing states when we are losing 18 jobs a minute? I have no problem with that. I also can not believe that after the last 8 years anyone would think Republicans have any good economic ideas. They do not. Further, they gain nothing politically by helping Obama succeed. You can think this bill doesn’t do enough without thinking it would be great with more Republican ideas. Further, nearly half of this bill is in wasteful tax cuts that will not stimulate the economy. refundable credits to the poor are actually the only tax cuts that have a multiplier above one. I see alot of complaining about pork here, but none about tax cuts with no stimulative properties, even though those cuts will also be borrowed and we will paying for for years to come. I can understand not liking the bill. i can not understand believing somehow the Republicans are advocating for the little guy.

  164. And you are hoping what, wbboei? that the Republicans will take back over the House?
    ——————————
    yes… but not for the reason you think.
    I do not believe in the policies of the Bush administration. I think they were a travesty, I wrote about it when few people were doing that and I think he was a disaster, just as I believe Bambi will be. In some ways they are opposites but in the most important ways they are alike.

    Fundamentally, I believe in divided government. I do not trust either party to represent the interests of the middle class over the long term. I trust certain leaders–like Hillary–but not the parties. Every political party is a conspiracy against the laeity. If you understand that much you will never be disappointed.

    On a personal level I resent the elitist strain that runs through bambi and pelosi. I am suspicous of a man who hides his identity and conspires with globalists. I cannot forgive the caucus fraud, the intimidation of superdelegates, the recruitement of illegal voters, press bias and the way our girl was treated. You may forgive them for it but I cannot. I poured too much time and energy into a just fight to ever roll over to them.

  165. Well, i have news for you, we may have a repub pres in 4-8 years, but chances are the government will be in Dem hand for at least a couple of decades. Politics is cyclical, and the repubs controlled much of the government for the past 20 years. Further, I will remind you the most important bill Bill Clinton passed was when he raised taxes on the wealthy without a single republican vote.

  166. I just said today to a younger person who said that the Huckster’s slogan will be used against him…you know, YES WE CAN! I had not thought of that, but the idea prompted a memory of old. Remember LBJ’s slogan GO ALL THE WAY WITH LBJ?

  167. Ooops, I just said today to a younger person who said that the Huckster’s slogan will be used against him…you know, YES WE CAN! I had not thought of that, but the idea prompted a memory of old. Remember LBJ’s slogan GO ALL THE WAY WITH LBJ?

    Does anyone remember the little people’s response to that and the graphic that went with it? It stuck with me all over all those decades.

  168. The $15000 tax bill may encourage people to buy, if the banks are lending.If you doubt this, just ask any REALTOR. REALTOR’s have just about been put out of business and it was not them who caused the mess with the exception of those whose clients were greedy and priced homes at sale at prices that were way way overblown. They are now upside down on their mortgages. And it has been amazing to see how many people depend on home sales for their livlihood {i.e. Home Depot people, lumber yard people, electricians, plumbers, home builders, insurance people, title company people, inspectors, appraisers and the list goes on and on and on.}

  169. My god you are feisty tonight. I have not seen you like this in a long time.

    Forget about the cycles of history nonsense. That concept died with Schlessinger and his fifth martini.

    The issue here is demographics. There are no republicans over age 60, and babyboomers will control the vote.

    The question you asked me was what I was hoping for. And I told you and I told you why. You did not ask my what I expected. That is different.

    I expect that with demographic trends, and misguided goverment policies there will be further erosion in wages, jobs and standard of living. This bill was a missed opportunity.

    I hope Obama does bad enough that Hillary becomes President. Only then will the country, the party and the middle class have a chance for a decent future.

  170. Painting Republicans all with one broad stroke is a mistake. It almost resounds of bot mentality. Obama only got 38% of the populace to vote for him [some were dead of course], so we should just throw away, exclude or ignore the will of what the other 62% of the populace? That ideology has been pervasive for way too long and look at the fine mess we are in now. I can’t help but wonder if the other parties with fewer members would even be allowed to breath the air we breath, like the Green Party or those voters, like me, who refuse to sell their soul to the company store anymore – or to continue a relationship with a party that so patently abused women during the most recent election cycle. Soundsd too much like communism to me.

  171. The bill was a missed opportunity. That we agree on.

    As for the housing thing, the problem is the housing market is still in decline. The government is in essence asking citizens to hedge, to take a big risk that may fail. that’s not good policy.

  172. mj Says:

    February 7th, 2009 at 12:58 am
    So CA, and the bay area, so where do most people in CA live? Where has the construction market dropped off the most?

    ————————————————————————-

    Jeez MJ, I wasn’t complaining. I live in Northern Ca, and I know where the majority of the population lives. I’m not saying the entire bill is bad, but there is no plan or vision to it. A high-speed rail system would have been awesome.

    As far as LBJ, he isn’t given enough credit. We have the civil rights bill, because he knew how to twist arms in congress. He knew how to work the system. If he happened to be president today, he would be working his butt off to make this a good bill.

  173. BTW, CA has the world’s 8th largest economy. If we are in trouble, everyone else is too. We need all the stimulus, we can get.

  174. Communism? OMG! I would love for the Republicans to come up with a platform that contains more than low tax cuts. But they have devolved into nothing more than a low tax cut for rich folks Party. they’ve become a purely regional Party, concentrated almost entirely in the South. There was a time when Republicans would never have supported pre-emptive wars, or warrentless spying on Americans. it’s up to them to come up with a broader ideology. But for now, they have very little to offer in terms of policy ideas. The Democrats are blowing it too. But they are less out of touch than the Republicans. i favor a two Party system, but they both have to offer something. i think the Democrats should be responding to the majority of the people right now, but they seem to be trying to split the difference between the plutocrats and the rest of us. You can think the Dems are screwing up and still think the repubs, in their present form, are totally, utterly worthless.

  175. “As far as LBJ, he isn’t given enough credit. We have the civil rights bill, because he knew how to twist arms in congress. He knew how to work the system. If he happened to be president today, he would be working his butt off to make this a good bill.” Agreed.

  176. The graphic circulated during the LBJ years was a little guy with a BIG screw through his midsection and that tag line was I WENT ALL THE WAY WITH LBJ. I remember LBJ and I still have a bad taste in my mouth from those years.

    No, the real estate market is not in a decline it is in a freefall with my bottom in sight.

  177. Concerning LBJ my godfather met both Kennedy and him. He was unimpressed with Kennedy, but he liked Johnson alot. History has not been kind to Johnson becasuse of the Viet Nam war. But he was very effective on he legislative front for the reasons you suggest. Yesterday, I learned that Lucianne Steinberg (nee Goldberg) was alleged to have had an affair with him, and thereafter sued the source. The bullshit never ends.

  178. correction:
    The graphic circulated during the LBJ years was a little guy with a BIG screw through his midsection and the tag line was I WENT ALL THE WAY WITH LBJ. I remember LBJ and I still have a bad taste in my mouth from those years.

    No, the real estate market is not in a decline it is in a freefall with NO bottom in sight.

  179. Communism? OMG! I would love for the Republicans to come up with a platform that contains more than low tax cuts. But they have devolved into nothing more than a low tax cut for rich folks Party. they’ve become a purely regional Party, concentrated almost entirely in the South. There was a time when Republicans would never have supported pre-emptive wars, or warrentless spying on Americans. it’s up to them to come up with a broader ideology. But for now, they have very little to offer in terms of policy ideas. The Democrats are blowing it too. But they are less out of touch than the Republicans. i favor a two Party system, but they both have to offer something. i think the Democrats should be responding to the majority of the people right now, but they seem to be trying to split the difference between the plutocrats and the rest of us. You can think the Dems are screwing up and still think the repubs, in their present form, are totally, utterly worthless.
    ————————-
    You realize of course that obama will end up adopting those same positions in many cases, if he hasnt already.

  180. I would love for the Republicans to come up with a platform that contains more than low tax cuts. But they have devolved into nothing more than a low tax cut for rich folks Party. they’ve become a purely regional Party, concentrated almost entirely in the South. There was a time when Republicans would never have supported pre-emptive wars, or warrentless spying on Americans. it’s up to them to come up with a broader ideology. But for now, they have very little to offer in terms of policy ideas. The Democrats are blowing it too. But they are less out of touch than the Republicans. i favor a two Party system, but they both have to offer something. i think the Democrats should be responding to the majority of the people right now, but they seem to be trying to split the difference between the plutocrats and the rest of us. You can think the Dems are screwing up and still think the repubs, in their present form, are totally, utterly worthless.
    ————————————————————————————

    Agree with this. If the Republicans are to have a future, they have some serious work to do. Tax cuts are not the only viable assistance to the economy. These last 8 years have proven that tax cut have not been effective. The dems are trying to serve the plutocrats and the middle class, but I think the middle class is losing. Some of BO’s appointments leave me scratching my head. For example, many of the people on his economic advisory board are part of the problem, and why we are in the position that we are in today. And Gregg for Commerce? WTF is that about? Faith-based programs, another ugh.

  181. Painting Republicans all with one broad stroke is a mistake. It almost resounds of bot mentality.
    ————————-
    Very true. When it comes to Republicans there is a world of difference between a small govenment republican who despised bush, a business republican who liked him, a neocon who controlled him after he fired his fathers former advisors and a religious right devotee who loved him. Often those inta party rivalries are as intense as those which exist with the opposing party. The distrust of the religious right for McCain is a perfect case in point. If you lump them together you will miss much of what is really going on. That is the same reason Hillary has so many envoys.

  182. # mj Says:
    February 6th, 2009 at 11:46 pm

    I agree with partisanship. That’s my point. Why would we want a bipartisan economic bill after the last 8 years of hell and frankly, poor economic policy from Republicans for a very long time.

    I just don’t think the country is in a mood for partisanship, mj. Five years… hell, 2 years ago, maybe. But the economic situation has pretty much effected everyone that the idea of Congress fighting/bickering and delaying the passage of this stimulus plan will create an uproar more so than the substance of the plan itself. Obama pulled a Bush and pretty much terrified the American people into believing that a faulty stimulus plan was better than a delayed, yet well-thought out one. This is Obama’s mushroom cloud.

  183. wbboei,

    I still do not understand the Republicans who stayed home, preferring Obama to McCain. How many were there?

    9.5 million PUMAs (at heart) went from Hillary to McCain, per exit polls.

  184. Gregg for Commerce: Rham trying to get a 60th seat, leaked probably by Gregg, Gregg insisted on repub replacement, because leaked, Obama was too soft to back out.

    FB programs= boondoogle just as it was for GWB

    Econ adviser: Summers actually runs econ policy for team Obama. He’s a disaster. He was one of BC’s advisers, but BC had a diverse set of advisers. In this case, Summers has near total control of BO’s econ policy.

    “The Dems are trying to serve the plutocrats and the middle class, but I think the middle class is losing. ” Yes

  185. “I just don’t think the country is in a mood for partisanship, mj. Five years… hell, 2 years ago, maybe. But the economic situation has pretty much effected everyone that the idea of Congress fighting/bickering and delaying the passage of this stimulus plan will create an uproar more so than the substance of the plan itself.”

    You misinterpret partisanship for partisan bickering or some such. I am referring to partisan policy, as any Party does when the country votes for them in the clear majority. What Obama should have done is written a good policy and then Reid should have let the Repubs filibuster it if they actually would have, and the public would have reacted with outrage, just as they did when Newt Gingrich threatened Bill Clinton he’d shut down the government. Bill said go ahead, and the Republicans were skewered by the public, and they had to come back with their tail between their legs.

  186. One final thought. With this benighted bill I am afraid we have trapped ourselves. The short term gain will be as nothing compared to the long term damage on the debt front. Having the right bill here could have saved far more jobs and helped on the debt front. I am concerned with the unintended consequences it will produce.

  187. ShortTermer Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 1:45 am

    Painting Republicans all with one broad stroke is a mistake. It almost resounds of bot mentality. Obama only got 38% of the populace to vote for him [some were dead of course], so we should just throw away, exclude or ignore the will of what the other 62% of the populace?

    ===============

    mm, too late for me to check details and math, but…. If a majority of those who DID vote, voted for him … why not assume those who did not vote would have been the same, or pretty equally divided? We can’t count all the stayhomes as being anti-Obama; some were anti-McCain, and many just couldn’t make it to the polls.

  188. BO did use the politics of fear with this one. So much for hope and change.

    Wbboei: “I am concerned with the unintended consequences it will produce.”

    Me too.

  189. Birdgal said: As far as LBJ, he isn’t given enough credit. We have the civil rights bill, because he knew how to twist arms in congress. He knew how to work the system. If he happened to be president today, he would be working his butt off to make this a good bill.

    ======================

    Hm. I wonder if the anti-LBJ movement had some Wall Street backers….

  190. Hm. I wonder if the anti-LBJ movement had some Wall Street backers….

    Vietnam was a factor, and perhaps Bobby Kennedy, who hated LBJ.

  191. hi turndown

    Your guess is as good as mine on why they stayed home. I suppose some hated the party because of bush, some did not trust mccain and some were not keen on Palin. There were a few who knew the next four years would be rough and wanted the other party to bear the brunt of it–which they will when things get bad enough.

    If 9.5 million hillary supporters supported McCain then we did far better than the press reported. That is over 50% of the 18 million. If I recall correctly, the press reported that only 20% crossed over.

  192. My under 30 son has said all along, even before the primaries ended, that the Republicans did not want to win this one because it was a doomed Presidency. Their reputation has already suffered. They preferred Obama get it and go down in flames. They would use this time to regroup and come back strong against a failed ‘post partisan transformational candidate’ who soared to unbefore reported heights with all rhetoric and no backbone and then plummeted faster and farther than he rose. I believe he may just be right.

  193. wbboei,


    As voters left the polls on Election Day, many were asked how they would have voted if the election match-up were between Hillary Clinton and John McCain rather than Barack Obama and McCain. 52 percent said they would have backed the former Democratic candidate; 41 percent would have voted for McCain, wider than Obama’s 7-point margin over McCain.

    Interestingly, 16 percent of McCain voters said they would have voted for Clinton, the Democrat, if she had been her party’s nominee.
    ….
    43% of these voters who supported McCain but would have backed Clinton if she were in the race described themselves as Independents. 31% were Republicans; while 26% were Democrats
    h……w.
    cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/11/12/politics/horserace/entry4596620.shtml

  194. Re h……w.
    cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/11/12/politics/horserace/entry4596620.shtml

    Also pls note that the analysis does figure in the bots who said they would have stayed home, but being an exit poll it could not figure in the Hillary supporters who DID stay home. An earlier poll of Hillary supporters had shown 3 million planning to vote for McCain and 4 million to stay home.

  195. mj said: Econ adviser: Summers actually runs econ policy for team Obama. He’s a disaster. He was one of BC’s advisers, but BC had a diverse set of advisers. In this case, Summers has near total control of BO’s econ policy.

    ========================

    Summers was trained by the previous Clinton Treasury Sec, Rubin. S. served throughout the Clinton admin. In what way do you think he has been ‘disastrous’ recently?

    I can’t find the cite, but istr a story about Summers going around to lobby Congress to release the rest of the Bailout money, saying they wanted it to stop foreclosures. This was before Geithner was confirmed.

  196. mj said: What Obama should have done is written a good policy and then Reid should have let the Repubs filibuster it if they actually would have, and the public would have reacted with outrage, just as they did when Newt Gingrich threatened Bill Clinton he’d shut down the government.

    ===================

    I agree. That’s if Obama really wanted a Stimulus that we would cnsider good. Maybe what he wants is one that will be good for the fat cats and is using the GOP congressmen/senators as cover.

  197. I am still depressed about this misbegotten bill. It will not solve the short term problem–job loss, and it will create a huge balloon payment within 5 years. That is the sober appraisal the neutral CBO. Nor do I trust the so called economic advisors he surrounds himself with. With the noted exceptions, they are cronies who benefit from the status quo. Why doesnt he include Paul Krugman? We needed an aggressive job creation bill and this is not it. This was an opportunity to get out in front of the deteriorating situation, this wont do it and he showed no leadership.

    We at the height are ready to decline.
    There is a tide in the affairs of men
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures. (IV.ii.269–276)

  198. Turndown: thanks for finding that piece showing that even though she had withdrawn far more people would have voted for Hillary than Mr Obama in the general election, despite the machinations of elites and msm who pushed their puppet.

    My feelings on the bill were that it will not work, will saddle us with crushing debt and will benefit the same elites who put him in office. If you look at that list of economic advisors with noteable exceptions they are the same cronies who put him in there. Where is Paul Krugman. The bill should have gone further and it should be pay as you go, much as he said. We have lost the opportunity to get ahead of this crisis. I hope I am wrong–but I know I am not.

    We at the height are ready to decline.
    There is a tide in the affairs of men
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures. (IV.ii.269–276)

  199. Biden: 30 Percent Chance We’ll Get It Wrong

    Vice President acknowledged Democrats could face political repercussions in 2010 for their support of the economic stimulus package

    Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged Friday that Democrats could face political repercussions in 2010 for their support of the economic stimulus package, the Wall Street Journal reported.

    “But when we do [approve it], I’m sure you’re going to be nailed in ads, ‘Well they voted on that’ 30 second ads,” Biden told roughly 200 members of the House Democratic Caucus gathered for their three day annual retreat.

    “I promise you as [a colleague] once said to me, ‘I’ll come campaign for you or against you, whichever will help you the most in your district.’ And so will the president because, again, we’re all in this together.”

    The vice president also offered some trademark candor about the prospects of success.
    He recalled a recent White House meeting with the president and senior aides in which they were discussing the many challenges the country faces.

    “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, there’s still a 30 percent chance we’re going to get it wrong,” was his message at the meeting.

    Biden warned that the consequences were too great for the country to allow politics to prevent action.

    “The only thing we can get wrong is not reaching a consensus among ourselves … and demonstrating to the American people that we’re thinking small and politically -you [House Democrats] have not, you’ve thought big,” he said. All but 10 House Democrats voted for the bill.

    Echoing President Obama’s remarks Thursday, Biden aligned this moment with other great challenges the country has faced.

    “Not since World War II has a caucus gathered with so many challenges facing our country and the stakes so high,” he said. “The slope is pretty steep. The opportunities are great.”

    Click here to read the full story from the Wall Street Journal.

  200. “As far as LBJ, he isn’t given enough credit. We have the civil rights bill, because he knew how to twist arms in congress. He knew how to work the system.”

    ————————–

    hmmm…wasn’t this what Hillary said (or words to the same effect) during the campaign? And wasn’t she dissed as a racist for not giving MLK full credit?

    Tricks and more tricks.

  201. JanH Says:

    February 7th, 2009 at 8:39 am
    “As far as LBJ, he isn’t given enough credit. We have the civil rights bill, because he knew how to twist arms in congress. He knew how to work the system.”

    ————————–

    hmmm…wasn’t this what Hillary said (or words to the same effect) during the campaign? And wasn’t she dissed as a racist for not giving MLK full credit?

    Tricks and more trick

    ———————————————————————————-

    Hillary was dissed for it, but it is true. Watching the History Channel can be very informative. LBJ told MLK to go out, and make him sign a civil rights bill. Because of all the arm twisting and use of political capital by LBJ, the dems lost the southern republicans from that point on. MLK was a republican. MLK through the marches, gave LBJ the pushing that was needed to move congress.

  202. Ah….if for just a fleeting moment Sen. Diane Feinstein gave us all heart. Even though the state of CA is hurting much worse than most, this strong backer of HRC was speaking sense as a Democrat while surrounded by “circling-the-wagon” Dimocrats. What the hell does MAINE know about what is at stake? May as well be the NH Primary deciding the fate of us all. Okay, so PA hurting badly. If I lived in Spector’s district, would suggest tar and feathers to warm him for the freezing winter months.

    Public trust gone and citizens outraged, Congress should have to sign a pledge that if (when) this albatross fails, they will resign immediately. I know..I know…define fail. How ’bout doesn’t work IMMEDIATELY?

    New World Order and Father Time knocking on each and every door in USA, sickel in hand. Better cling to your guns and Bibles like never before…..make every gun show before Holder presses for quick passing of HR 45 some late Fri. night soon. Be sure to stock up on ammo before the onset of 500% tax. Sound a little paranoid, ya think?

    Well, this is one Texan of whom “Friday Night Lights” means acknowledgement that an ongoing crooked Dimocratic Congress is intent on burning the midnight oil, and, after scalping us, are back Monday morning with blood on their hands.

    Do you sense the anger…and the restlessness in the streets…I do. At least with Americans not afraid to speak out, not worried about being called racist because they dare to speak SENSE. Bone up on history and see what happens when these diabolical situations occur…and the masses are ignored. Revolution.

  203. LOL I loved this comment i found on the blog O sphere

    “At this critical time for our country, the liberal nutbags have given us a Carter with a tan when we desperately need a Churchill with a plan.”

  204. Good morning all. This blog is really much more active in the last few days, which is good to see.

    I have wondered also about if this Presidential term will turn out to be a scape goat. In otherwords, the expectation, couplied with the amount of time needed to turn it around, and with the political staging that will go on, is not a time to be in the middle of this. As I remember, the depression we had was not just turned around by creating jobs, but a War. We have had our War, so what else do we have to pull us out of the recession quickly? It is a vicious cycle of job lose and reduced purchasing, which can only be solved by more confidence in the economy, and a creation of a lot of more jobs. Globally they want to keep all of the jobs we have sent over there, and want more. American has thrown in the towel on manufacturing. We have become a service economy. However, what do you cut when you are watching your pennies? It is more likely services.

    So what pulls us out of this one. I don’t think using yesterday’s ideas will work. Japan suffered long and hard using bad tactics.

  205. Curiosityhasme

    I believe; South Dakota is the sister state to Texas, people here including myself [those i have talked too and it was many so far] sound like your last post…
    SD doesn’t like government in their business, we still have open range, and the smoking ban didn’t pass AGAIN, was voted down 3/1 !!! which i am happy about as i am in the bar/rest. business.

    The people here are stocking up and talking in small groups about how we NEED a revolution, even though SD is mostly Republican i find that the majority in those i have talked too are more about country first and party last.

    Could that become the trend across this country??? I sure hope so!

  206. NewMexicoFan, IMO if there were evidence of true leadership by this administration and a good faith attempt at well thought out, sound policies that tried to address the economic issues but ultimately failed due to the situational factors you describe—then I could see this presidential term being scapegoated by a frustrated, stressed electorate who was expecting miracles.

    Unfortunately, the reality is that we have a president showing no leadership and putting into action a series of hastily thrown together actions that will make the situation far worse. I think he will have fairly earned scorn and blame if things continue as they are IMO….

  207. ========================

    Summers was trained by the previous Clinton Treasury Sec, Rubin. S. served throughout the Clinton admin. In what way do you think he has been ‘disastrous’ recently?

    I can’t find the cite, but istr a story about Summers going around to lobby Congress to release the rest of the Bailout money, saying they wanted it to stop foreclosures. This was before Geithner was confirmed.

    Bwahahahaha! Read Krugman. Our tax dollars at work as of Monday to over pay for bad assets. Summers nixed the cramdown. He nixed the HOLC. He nixed nationalizing the banks. He was a Clinton appointee. Not the only Clinton appointee. Clinton had a diverse group of advisors.

  208. David Corn (as I read at NQ) raises this question — why hasn’t 0bama let loose his 13 million (rabid)supporters on this stimulus bill? Anybody care to guess why?

  209. A frightened and coerced America got what it wished for and just look at the state of the union now.We had a leaky creaky ship of state and needed an expert to change our course and what we got was a cardshark with a very dangerous agenda of hope and change.Another name for “Bait and Switch”.Thank goodness that Hillary is above the fray and speedily on her way to solving world problems that BO knows nothing about.Have we ever seen so many crooks in public office and more being created every day.

    “TO THINK THAT WE COULD HAVE HAD HILLARY as CIC”

  210. # pm317 Says:
    February 7th, 2009 at 11:23 am

    David Corn (as I read at NQ) raises this question — why hasn’t 0bama let loose his 13 million (rabid)supporters on this stimulus bill? Anybody care to guess why?
    ***********
    Results in on Obama’s grassroots appeal: It’s a bust
    By Frank Greve | McClatchy Newspapers

    WASHINGTON — Few supporters are answering President Barack Obama’s call for nationwide house-party gatherings this weekend to build grass-roots support for his economic stimulus plan.
    ww.mcclatchydc.com/227/story/61724.html

  211. SHV, so he has failed to make the sale to even his most ardent supporters. They did not get the instructions/talking points on how to argue for the bill. (side note: trolls have almost been non-existent on NQ) Maybe there is hope (real hope) for America.

  212. SHV

    Having recently experienced an exposure to the inner political circle here, I did not think that grass roots suff would work. Those people get excited about their candidate for that election, and then go on with their lives. Where as the inner circle, the political party is their lives, social and otherwise. So in this state with the pay for play going on, it will be interesting to see who really maintains control of the party here.

  213. mj,

    Do you have any cites to back up your claims?

    Certainly there have been abuses. Do you have cites that pin them to Summers in particular, other than from anti-Clinton sources or people who think Summers can see Alaska?

  214. A bad week for President Obama

    Published: February 7 2009

    Still not three weeks into Barack Obama’s presidency, it is preposterous to be talking of an administration that has come unglued – yet some previously admiring observers have been saying just that. The new president has had a bad week, to be sure, and is learning fast about the differences between managing a campaign and leading a government. But almost all presidents have bumpy starts. In many ways Mr Obama is managing his early days better than most.

    The withdrawal of Tom Daschle’s nomination to head Health and Human Services, the lead agency in carrying out Mr Obama’s promise to reform US healthcare, was a bad setback. It turned out Mr Daschle had a lot of unpaid taxes. After Treasury secretary Tim Geithner’s similar difficulties – he was confirmed in his post, but more narrowly than expected – and the withdrawal of yet another nominee over taxes, the administration had to cope with an unaccustomed outbreak of derision.

    The loss of Mr Daschle is more than a mere embarrassment. As one of Mr Obama’s closest allies, an expert on health policy and a seasoned veteran of the Senate, he was uniquely qualified to take up health reform. But note that the administration, once it saw that the nomination was in trouble, wasted no political capital on trying to revive it. Recall how George W. Bush often committed himself to politically damaging appointments, and stuck with them at huge cost out of friendship and personal loyalty. Mr Obama’s ability to cut his losses swiftly and move on suggests a flexibility that could serve him and the country well.

    Mr Obama’s other big setback has been the failure to win Republican support for his fiscal stimulus. The House of Representatives passed its version with not one Republican vote; party-line resistance in the Senate has also been strong. But one can hardly blame the intransigence of the administration. Mr Obama’s proposal was not beyond criticism, and the partisan messaging from Democrats in Congress was unhelpful, but his plan was balanced and signalled willingness to compromise. It included a tax cut big enough to annoy many Democrats, who would have preferred to raise spending by more instead. The Republicans refused to bend.

    Despite them, Mr Obama must get his stimulus passed, and soon. His other pressing challenge is to win approval for a new plan to repair the financial system. His first opportunity to shape that aspect of policy and get on top of the problem may be his last: the price of further delay or irresolution will be to prolong or worsen the economic crisis.

    As with the stimulus, he needs to persuade the public of the case for these massive interventions, even if he cannot persuade Republicans. If he pushes them through, this week’s bumps will soon be forgotten. Should those efforts stall, his presidency really will be in trouble.

    ft.com/cms/s/0/5c2ef61c-f4bb-11dd-8e76-0000779fd2ac.html

  215. NY Daily News: It took Barack Obama two years to get to the White House, but barely more than two weeks for wanderlust to set in.
    “He’s a bit of a restless soul,” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday when asked if Obama was feeling “cooped up in the White House.”
    Article goes on to say he has 4 trips next week. In addition to campaigning for stimulus in IN and FL, he will be in Springfield IL to commemorate Lincoln’s 200th birthday, then Friday night to Chicago for weekend including to celebrate Valentine’s with MO. [sarcasm:] Aren’t we all relieved that the nation has no pressing business?

    Speaking strictly as a lay person, I believe the man has an attention deficit disorder of some kind. Have thought this since I tracked his ‘rise’ from IL Senate to attempt at US House … then … US Senate … then … the travesty we now possess.

  216. then Friday night to Chicago for weekend including to celebrate Valentine’s with MO. [sarcasm:] Aren’t we all relieved that the nation has no pressing business?

    =========================

    Sounds like the duties of British Royalty.

  217. Haiti’s René Préval meets with Clinton, seeks help from U.S.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomes Haitian President Rene Preval for discussions at the State Department in Washington.

    BY LESLEY CLARK
    lclark@MiamiHerald.com

    WASHINGTON — Haitian President René Préval met with political and financial leaders during a weeklong trip to the capital, pressing them on the urgency of aid for the impoverished nation.

    He became the first head of state to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who pledged to work with the country.

    Preval is seeking between $75 million and $100 million in economic assistance and said the money would be used to create jobs. He said he stressed in meetings that Haiti needs immediate attention from the international community or risks losing what progress has been made.

    ”We believe we are at a serious turning point,” Preval said through an interpreter. “We can either win or lose.”

    The country is still trying to recover from devastating back-to-back storms that killed dozens, left thousands homeless and destroyed crops and infrastructure.

    ”In order to save our stability, we need help right now,” he said. “This is not the time to [cut back].”

    His visit included closed-door meetings with officials at the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He met late Thursday with Clinton, who said the pair would discuss “ways that, along with the international community, we can help support Haiti and the Haitian people.”

    ”We want to be working with them as they continue to build a vibrant democracy and a growing economy,” Clinton said, adding that President Barack Obama shared her commitment to the country.

    miamiherald.com/news/americas/story/891405.html

  218. I don’t have any problem with obama celebrating Valentine’s Day with his wife. I don’t even care if he celebrates Ground Hogs Day with her. I just don’t see how this is interesting or even “national” news. I don’t see why everything he does has to be such a “look at me world” moment. He might think he is a rock star. The media might think he is a rock star. The bots might think so too. But honestly, he’s just a joke that’s gone bad before it’s time.

  219. Un-F*cking believable:
    By Adrian Blomfield, Moscow Correspondent
    Last Updated: 2:14AM GMT 06 Feb 2009

    The Daily Telegraph has learned that the 85-year-old former US secretary of state met President Dmitry Medvedev for secret negotiations in December. According to Western diplomats, during two days of talks the octogenarian courted Russian officials to win their support for Mr Obama’s initiative, which could see Russia and the United States each slashing their nuclear warheads to 1,000 warheads.

    The decision to send Mr Kissinger to Moscow, taken by Mr Obama when he was still president-elect, is part of a plan to overcome probable Republican objections in Congress.
    *************
    ww.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/barackobama/4530042/Cold-warrior-Henry-Kissinger-woos-Russia-for-Barack-Obama.html

  220. SHV: agreed. Further down in the article you cite it says:

    Shortly after Mr Kissinger’s trip, Richard Lugar, a Republican senator from Indiana who has worked on nuclear disarmament issues for 30 years, also visited Moscow. George Schultz, another former secretary of state, has also played a vital role.

    Observers say signs of progress towards a new treaty could come as early as this weekend, when senior government officials meet at a security conference in Munich.

    Joe Biden, the US vice president, is expected to address the conference and diplomats hinted he could announce the suspension of plans to erect a missile defence shield in central Europe, a project that has been frequently denounced in Moscow.

  221. Kissenger and Biden to Moscow for disarmament? Obama may claim the credit, but I bet it was the Clintons who put them all up to it.

    Nice to see the grown-ups in charge, anyway.

  222. LOL I loved this comment i found on the blog O sphere

    “At this critical time for our country, the liberal nutbags have given us a Carter with a tan when we desperately need a Churchill with a plan.”
    —————————-
    Friends, Romans, Countrymen . . . uh uh uh . . . four score and seven years ago . . . uh uh uh . . . in view of this pending economic crisis . . . we are back in world war . . . uh two!. . . uh uh uh . . . and I have nothing to offer any of you. . . uh uh uh but blood tears toil and sweat . . . yours not mine . . . now if you will excuse me I need to go shoot some hoops . . . to work off all the tension of planning my next well earned vacation . . . going to Hawaii with Brian Williams . . . stag no wives invited–I didn t say women I said wives.

  223. Kissinger, Schultz, Biden, Mitchell, Holbrooke, ….. and Hillary?

    And Kissinger negotiated on behalf of President-elect?

    I hope 0bama does not make America toothless.

  224. I vaguely remember reading somewhere that 0bama was also in negotiations/contact with Taliban, Al-Queda after Nov 4th. Anybody remember that?

  225. I think what is going on is Putin wanted to meet with Mr Obama and expressed a desire to do so. He favored Obama in the general election because he saw him as an easy mark–naive. Kissinger is there to run interference. Hillary or whoever will drag him in to make some perfuctory statements in trouble spots–that is all he is good for and then pull him off the stage. This is a typical tactic in negotitiations. Let the ceo do a cameo. Show them there is a new sheriff in town. People in the know know this is nothing more than a show. Mr Obama lacks the patience and the mind for detail required to hammer out a deal. He is a mile wide and six inches deep. You have got to watch people like that so they do not give the store away. Kissinger has a long history negotiating with the Russians. That is not an endorsement merely an observation.

  226. What is really at stake here is the future of American leadership in the world. And we are in trouble on most fronts, after 8 years of gunboat diplomacy.

    We have got to be everywhere at once and at the same time reform and reinvigorate the state department. The problems have grown more complex and splintered. That is why we have so many envoys. Far from diminishing Hillary power as msm suggests this is the way to multiply and effectuate it.

    In essence we need to stabilize the world situation immediately. We are getting the right people in place to do it. He is not directing this–what the hell does he know about realpolitik? This is a carefully coodinated effort, he will be used as a mascot but that is it. Whatever talent and ability he may have it does not lie in the area of negotiation.

  227. Un-F*cking believable:
    By Adrian Blomfield, Moscow Correspondent
    Last Updated: 2:14AM GMT 06 Feb 2009

    The Daily Telegraph has learned that the 85-year-old former US secretary of state met President Dmitry Medvedev for secret negotiations in December.
    ************
    December??? One tiny problem, Obama sending people to negotiate with a foreign country is just “slightly” illegal..

  228. To repeat something I posted here a year ago, the word among lawyers in Chicago when he was practicing law was that he made wonderful opening statements –which are in effect speeches. But the detail of the case eluded him, therefore the strategy of the opposing lawyer was to get the case into a settlement posture if it had merit, inundate him with details and you could end up writing the settlement agreement on your terms and he would invariably sign it.

  229. I’m not too sure mj.

    Biden is expertise is foreign policy. When you have two foreign policy geeks in the WH, there’s bound to be some over-stepping.

    You know Biden has a big ego and he loves his moment in the limelight. HRC is not one to allow an egomaniac to diminish her role, but she better watch her back.

  230. mj, where did you read that?

    wbboei, hope you are right that this is all orchestrated by Hillary or that she is in on it completely. I am having trouble assuming that because I don’t trust 0bama to be fair to her (or anybody for that matter).

  231. Ok, I just read Biden is there on Hill’s behest. She will be heading out soon herself
    ———————-
    We joke about Joe here-at least I do. But I have never doubted that he and Hillay are friends. The media of course reads things into statements which are not intended. Joe has a big ego which gets out of control, and sometimes a big mouth but I think he is an ally.

  232. wbboei, I don’t agree. Anyone who is a career politician is out there for numero uno. If he’s such a pal, why didn’t he endorse Hil? It’s obvious he was gunning for VP or a cabinet position.

  233. wbboei, hope you are right that this is all orchestrated by Hillary or that she is in on it completely. I am having trouble assuming that because I don’t trust 0bama to be fair to her (or anybody for that matter).
    ————————-
    pm: you are wise not to trust him. What I am relying on is the situation he is in, including the responibilities of governance, a cabinet which I believe will be supportive of Hillary, and a fishbowl environment enemies in big media and foreign governments will exploit. This confluence of forces will make it not only problematic but potentially disasterous for him to undermind his Secretary of State. He has the weight of the world on his shoulders, a rookie,a baby whale in a sea of sharks. And I say that knowing that Michelle will be Lady MacBeth.

  234. wbboei, I don’t agree. Anyone who is a career politician is out there for numero uno. If he’s such a pal, why didn’t he endorse Hil? It’s obvious he was gunning for VP or a cabinet position.
    —————————
    I do not dispute that Joe has an ego and a big mouth, and that he puts his foot in it rather routinely. My information at the time was he did not want the vp position and you may recall his statements against interest that he thought Hillary would be a better vp. He sat with her at the State of the union when phonies like Dodd, Judas, Kerry and Lehe were kissing Obamas ass and orbiting around Ted like horeflies around a pile of maneure. And despite obvious pressure by the Kennedy machine he did not endorse Obama until after she suspended.

  235. as a candidate Hillary said, if elected, she would not wait for her inauguration, but would immediately send out emissary’s throughout the world to proclaim the “era of cowboy diplomacy is over”. perhaps BHO stole the idea, or perhaps, HRC is following through with her original intent.

  236. lies and more lies from Obama

    The elephant in the room is Iraq.
    We still spend 10 billion/mo. in Iraq
    during a recession. That’s Obama “smart”.

    I always knew he wasn’t too bright

  237. I could not sleep last night because of that misguided stimulus bill-a tragically missed opportunity to get ahead of a deteriorating situation. I need to sign off for now.

  238. wbboei, good nite, eh, good afternoon and sleep tight.

    jonnyB, the real elephant in the room is the mop that MEchelle calls hair.

  239. holdthemaccountable Says:

    February 7th, 2009 at 12:09 pm
    NY Daily News: It took Barack Obama two years to get to the White House, but barely more than two weeks for wanderlust to set in.
    “He’s a bit of a restless soul,” Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said Friday when asked if Obama was feeling “cooped up in the White House.”
    Article goes on to say he has 4 trips next week. In addition to campaigning for stimulus in IN and FL, he will be in Springfield IL to commemorate Lincoln’s 200th birthday, then Friday night to Chicago for weekend including to celebrate Valentine’s with MO. [sarcasm:] Aren’t we all relieved that the nation has no pressing business?

    Speaking strictly as a lay person, I believe the man has an attention deficit disorder of some kind. Have thought this since I tracked his ‘rise’ from IL Senate to attempt at US House … then … US Senate … then … the travesty we now possess.

    ********************************************

    O probably wishes he was in the cabinet…or at State himself…too much work and responsibility for the ‘restless soul’ and guess he realizes he has to be ‘present’ and accountable now for everything…must be alot to realize for someone with such little experience taking responsibility for anything

    first big blunder was outsourcing the ‘stimulus bill’ to house dem elites…he lost control and his ‘message’…he must realize now that he ‘owns’ his words and actions…reality check…

  240. dija – Sister state indeed.

    I’ve always wanted to visit South Dakota. Heard great things about the demographics and the true blue American values of Mom, baseball and apple pie. A state which is in many ways a real throwback to the fifties and sixties (good thing) as far as work ethic, conservative, yet progressive ideas. What hopeful times those were. The pristine undeveloped lands were so untainted and innocent – held such promise and unlimited opportunities. Daschle was even on the right path in late sixties and early seventies, before he started sipping koolaid, frugal and responsible.

    Yes siree, I’m all about states’ rights. Since Bluebonnet Girls’ State in the summer of ’70 when Preston Smith, Lloyd Bentsen, George Bush, and John Tower addressed hundreds of impressionable 17-year-old girls and Ret. military Frances Goff led daybreak drills in exercise and singing Texas songs like “Texas, Our Texas,” I’ve been State first, then country second. SHSU only furthered by independent streak – as Gov. Sam Houston was the real deal. Principled, yet controversial, he took unpopular stances that seemed to go against the grain – but he embodied what all politicians should. Just doing the right thing. See him on IH 45 -one helluva patriotic statesman.

    Right before election RNC chair here told me he and Congressman Ted Poe were musing about how Texas should secede from the union. “We’ve go it all” – every kind of imaaginable industry, oil, water, plenty of land, diversity, good higher educational, healthcare and municipal infrastructure. From the Gulf castal bend, to the Hill Country, to the Plains, John Wayne’s Red River and the mountainous west – Doesn’t sound so far-fetched to me as the days rock on.

    Hey, I can be at the Alamo by sunset if I leave right now. Even closer to the San Jacinto Monument, speaking of Sam Houston. Hey, if this sturdy bunch, many of us descendants of the native Americans, can survive mother nature’s 100-year hurricanes, we certainly aren’t intimidated by nor will back down from the “Chicago Combine.”

    “Don’t mess with Texas” can be extended to far-left nutjobs who aren’t Blue Dogs. Woof, woof. Our state is in better shape than most right now, have no state income tax (still keeping at bay) and one of the “last best hope” places in these here United States of America. So….pry it out of my cold, dead hands. Make my day, to quote Clint Eastwood.

    dija – Maybe there’s something to being at the top or bottom (geographically speaking) of this country that gives us the freedom “to think” like individuals.

  241. Arroyo asks Clinton to visit RP

    abs-cbnNEWS.com | 02/07/2009 7:03 PM

    President Arroyo held a bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Washington D.C. on Friday, inviting her to visit the Philippines on her first overseas trip next week as the US’s top diplomat.

    Arroyo met with Clinton at the US Department of State offices in the US capital, wrapping up her working visit to the United States after coming from Davos, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, and Bahrain.

    The closed-door meeting at the State Department lasted for 30 minutes, and the two leaders discussed foreign policy and the partnership between the two countries.

    Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Lorelei Fajardo said the meeting with Clinton was “warm and gracious,” and she praised the President for the country’s resilience in the face of the global economic slump.

    She said she could learn from the president’s experiences. She also stressed that the relations between the Philippines and the United States remain strong.

    “As you know, the Philippines is one of our closest and most important allies, not just in Asia, but on so many issues around the world. And we are very proud of the role and contributions that Filipino-Americans have played in the United States over many years,” Clinton told the media before their meeting.

    Arroyo, meanwhile, said the Filipino people is “proud” of Clinton’s appointment to the highest-ranking post in the Cabinet of US President Barack Obama.

    “The Filipino-Americans have played a very important role here, but another important thing is, they all love you, both the Filipino-Americans and the Filipinos in the Philippines. So we’re so proud of you,” the President said.

    Clinton, who will visit Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, and China from February 15 to 20 in her first trip overseas since taking office, was also invited by Mrs. Arroyo to visit the Philippines.

    Prior to the State Department meeting, President Arroyo touted her administration’s economic reforms at a breakfast meeting with the US-ASEAN Business Council.

    She credited the Philippines’ ability, for now, to weather the global recession, and told the council that she hopes President Obama would recognize the ASEAN region and its capacity to take part in efforts to remake the global economy.

    While in Washington, Mrs. Arroyo also met with some leaders of the textile and apparel industry, and National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair.

    Arroyo was in the US capital mainly to attend the annual National Prayer Breakfast.

    She also met with several US lawmakers and once again made her pitch for Filipino veterans’ equity, which is in danger of being scrapped from the $800 billion US economic stimulus package still being debated in the US Senate.

    Her visit to the US capital has been criticized by Filipinos back home and in the US as a waste of time and taxpayers’ money, but Fajardo said the President believes her visit was productive.

    From Washington, Arroyo flew to San Francisco, where she boarded a commercial Philippine Airlines flight to Manila. Mrs. Arroyo will arrive in the Philippines Sunday morning.

    abs-cbnnews.com/nation/02/07/09/arroyo-asks-clinton-visit-rp

  242. Really doesn’t matter where you reside within the United States, all can “think” like individuals, didn’t mean to imply that had to be at perimeter to “get it.” However, really do believe there is a true psychological, subconscious advantage to being located either at periphery or in advantageous location – and remote not a bad thing. Abundant natural resources and being surrounded by like-minded people who crave and love wide open spaces and freedom to have “no fences” feel a certain amount of empowerment to stand up against powerful political machines like the Chicago Combne.

    It would never do to live where getting into lockstep (goose step) led by a Pied Piper would be the order of the day. Right now, trying to talk sense into all the young, and not-so-youngs who don’t realize they are being manipulated and led to their slaughters is a fulltime job. Amazing that so many blind, trusting fools are among us. Simply amazing.

  243. I’m confident Kissinger’s trip is not a usurpation of Hillary’s power as SoS. She strongly supports the use of envoys, etc., a strategy her husband used and Dubya ditched. I also don;t worry about Biden; he and Hillary are good friends who’ve had breakfast together at least twice since she was first sworn in.

  244. wbboei Says:
    I think what is going on is Putin wanted to meet with Mr Obama and expressed a desire to do so. He favored Obama in the general election because he saw him as an easy mark–naive. Kissinger is there to run interference. Hillary or whoever will drag him in to make some perfuctory statements in trouble spots–that is all he is good for and then pull him off the stage.

    ===================

    I agree. And somehow Kissinger feels right for this part, leading with Kissinger instead of Hillary.

    So Obama gets to come on now and then to say “I agree with HIllary.” Then Remington Steele goes back to posing in the basketball court.

  245. dot48 Says: didn’t someone out admin during the primary. young male in New York City?

    ===============

    Such a claim was made at Politico iirc, but I doubt it. Their young male let them take a picture of him with a computer in his lap rather than among banks of research. When confronted, he said “How did you find out?”; our admin would have much more cool than that, never admitting a thing.

  246. pm317 said
    even if you click to kill the popup, it will still download it. The lesson is be careful of the sites you visit (and if you see a popup like that you may be able to avoid it by disconnecting from the network immediately. Installing adblock and flashblock software may also help.

    =========================

    When a popup comes, I never click anywhere in the popup, even on the box that says “close this”. I try Escape or ctl-W or go to the bar up at the top of the screen or use Ctl-alt-delete to bring up Task Manager and close it from there. Or close the whole browser.

    I havent’ had trouble, though I do have anti-spyware and anti-popup stuff installed too.

  247. On the big spending programs, here is more ammunition in favor of education:

    “There are crucial areas, support for higher education, that are things that are in the House bill that are very, very important to the president.
    There’s no question — no question what we’ve got to do is go after support for education. And there are huge problems facing state and local governments, and that could lead to a vicious cycle of layoffs, falling home values, lower property taxes, more layoffs. And we’ve got to prevent that.”

    h…w’s stuff
    abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/story?id=6830708&page=1

    Woops, that’s Summers speaking. Can’t have him in office, can we?

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