Barack Obama: “Change”, Like “Simulus”, Has No Meaning

Remember “Change”? Change is now OFFICIALLY, notarized, in a court of law – under the Obama bus.

Before our discussion of Obama on the Road To Ruin, and the latest healthcare travesty buried in the rush-rush “stimulus” scam (our initial reaction to the Geithner bailout scheme is HERE, in the bolded paragraph), we wanted to inform Hopium addled addicts that Obama has informed a United States District Court that “Change” is under the bus. “Change”, like “stimulus” has no meaning.

The New York Times reports on a rendition case and state secrets privilege:

Is there anything material that has happened” that might have caused the Justice Department to shift its views, asked Judge Mary M. Schroeder, an appointee of President Jimmy Carter, coyly referring to the recent election.

No, your honor,” Mr. Letter replied. “The change in administration has no bearing?” she asked.

No, your honor,” he said once more.

Dimocrats who want a “truth commission” to investigate George W. Bush should add Obama as a target of their “truth commission”. Anthony Romero of the American Civil Liberties Union informs his Hopium addled friends:

This is not change,” he said in a statement. “This is definitely more of the same. Candidate Obama ran on a platform that would reform the abuse of state secrets, but President Obama’s Justice Department has disappointingly reneged on that important civil liberties issue. If this is a harbinger of things to come, it will be a long and arduous road to give us back an America we can be proud of again.”

* * *

First, Do No Harm

Doctors have a rule that is a good rule for all of us: First, Do No Harm.

The Obama flim-flam “stimulus” scam is in fact designed to bail out Dimocrats in the 2010 elections and it violates the Do No Harm rule.

A shock to us was the rational Associated Press article regarding Obama’s latest bamboozlement tour:

He’s projecting job creation numbers that may be impossible to verify and glossing over some ethical problems that bedeviled his team. [snip]

Nothing so bold, or specific, as that now-discarded bridge project is contained in the stimulus package. That’s not to say the package steers clear of waste or parochial interests. Obama played to such interests Monday, speaking at one point as if he’d come to fill potholes.

The Associated Press’ fact check of Obama:

OBAMA: “I know that there are a lot of folks out there who’ve been saying, ‘Oh, this is pork, and this is money that’s going to be wasted,’ and et cetera, et cetera. Understand, this bill does not have a single earmark in it, which is unprecedented for a bill of this size. … There aren’t individual pork projects that members of Congress are putting into this bill.”

THE FACTS: There are no “earmarks,” as they are usually defined, inserted by lawmakers in the bill. Still, some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork – tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects.

For example, the latest version contains $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other “priority procurements” by the Coast Guard.

Obama told his Elkhart audience that Indiana will benefit from work on “roads like U.S. 31 here in Indiana that Hoosiers count on.” He added: “And I know that a new overpass downtown would make a big difference for businesses and families right here in Elkhart.”

U.S. 31 is a north-south highway serving South Bend, 15 miles from Elkhart in the northern part of the state.

Obama did not admit that the “vetting” process worked – Obama crimelords get the jobs:

OBAMA: “I’ve appointed hundreds of people, all of whom are outstanding Americans who are doing a great job. There are a couple who had problems before they came into my administration, in terms of their taxes. … I made a mistake … I don’t want to send the signal that there are two sets of rules.”

He added: “Everybody will acknowledge that we have set up the highest standard ever for lobbyists not working in the administration.”

THE FACTS: Two of his appointees, former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle for secretary of health and human services and Nancy Killefer as his chief compliance officer, dropped out after reports they had not paid a portion of their taxes.

Obama previously acknowledged he “screwed up” in making it seem to Americans that there is one set of tax compliance rules for VIPs and another set for everyone else. Yet his choice for treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, hung in and achieved the post despite having belatedly paid $34,000 to the IRS, an agency Geithner now oversees.

That could leave the perception that there is one set of rules for Geithner and another set for everyone else.

On lobbyists, Obama has in fact established tough new rules barring them from working for his administration. But the ban is not absolute.

William J. Lynn III, tapped to be the No. 2 official at the Defense Department, recently lobbied for military contractor Raytheon. William Corr, chosen as deputy secretary at Health and Human Services, has lobbied as an anti-tobacco advocate. And Geithner’s choice for chief of staff, Mark Patterson, is an ex-lobbyist from Goldman Sachs.

The bogus claims on job creation:

OBAMA: “The plan that we’ve put forward will save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs over the next two years.”

THE FACTS: Job creation projections are uncertain even in stable times, and some of the economists relied on by Obama in making his forecast acknowledge a great deal of uncertainty in their numbers.

Beyond that, it’s unlikely the nation will ever know how many jobs are saved as a result of the stimulus. While it’s clear when jobs are abolished, there’s no economic gauge that tracks job preservation.

Obama was asked about Joe Biden’s bleak assessment of success regarding the flim-flam “stimulus” scam. Obama laughed off court jester Biden and refused to answer the substance of the question last night.

* * *

The Flim-Flam Rush-Rush

Flim-flam scam artists always rush their victims into unwise decisions. In the old days flim-flam scams were under the jurisdiction of the Police Department’s Bunko Squad or Racket Squad.

Whether selling bogus pharmaceuticals, on-line Nigerian inheritance schemes, checks cashing scams on the elderly, “Paper Moon” type Bible salesmen, – flim-flam artists depend on the rush-rush.

Obama is a flim-flam scam artist. The Obama flim-flam “stimulus” scam depends on the rush-rush get it done quickly and don’t read the fine print principle of all flim-flams.

We have little use for Betsy McCaughey, who lied about the Hillary health care plan and helped, along with Dimocrats, to destroy the proposal. But today McCaughey notes that in the rush-rush “stimulus” scam there are many buried unknowns that need to be investigated – and not in rush-rush pell mell fashion.

Tragically, no one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.

Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version).

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.” [snip]

Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties. “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill. That will be left to the HHS secretary, who will be empowered to impose “more stringent measures of meaningful use over time” (511, 518, 540-541)

What penalties will deter your doctor from going beyond the electronically delivered protocols when your condition is atypical or you need an experimental treatment? The vagueness is intentional. In his book, Daschle proposed an appointed body with vast powers to make the “tough” decisions elected politicians won’t make.

The stimulus bill does that, and calls it the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research (190-192). The goal, Daschle’s book explained, is to slow the development and use of new medications and technologies because they are driving up costs. He praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system.

Few if any discussion of any of these medical provisions have been held. The Chicago razzle dazzle ’em precludes examination of these provisions before votes are held. According to the usually unreliable McCaughey the elderly will be hurt badly:

Daschle says health-care reform “will not be pain free.” Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

Medicare now pays for treatments deemed safe and effective. The stimulus bill would change that and apply a cost- effectiveness standard set by the Federal Council (464).

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.

McCaughey is not someone to be trusted. But she has a valid point in saying “this bill needs more scrutiny”.

Our comments section recently had a discussion of some of the issues McCaughey raised. We anticipated the Hillary Clinton respect for privacy of medical records and the Obama/Daschle disrespect for medical records privacy.

Information on Hillary, Health care and privacy of records:

The following information is presented chronologically.

In May 2004, Clinton introduced the Safeguarding Americans From Exporting Identification Data Act (SAFE-ID Act), S. 2471.

In September 2004, she introduced the Patients’ Privacy Protection Act of 2004, S. 2827, saying, in part:

“Mr. President, today, I rise to introduce the Patients’ Privacy Protection Act, legislation that will close a loophole in the Federal Rules of Evidence and ensure that every American’s medical records remain confidential. [snip]

I began exploring this issue when I learned that Attorney General John Ashcroft had subpoenaed the confidential medical records from thousands of women around the country to defend the first-ever Federal abortion ban in Federal court. The fact that the women in question were not a party to the lawsuits did not deter him.

Such a deliberate intrusion into people’s medical privacy record is deeply disturbing. Americans deserve full confidence that the government is not looking into their medical records. Without such an assurance, how will Americans trust their doctors? What procedures, discussions, and diagnoses will they avoid for fear that these records could shame them or adversely impact their future if unearthed?

At issue in this bill is what a reasonable person should expect when they walk into a doctor’s office. That person expects that what they say to her doctor stays with her doctor. Only because of that confidence are people able to be honest. And only through that honesty are people able to obtain the healthcare they need.

The right to private medical records is an issue that, in rhetoric at least, has broad support on both sides of the partisan divide. In fact, it was President Bush himself who, as recently as 2001 during a statement on the Medical Privacy Rule said, “I believe that we must protect both vital health care services and the right of every American to have confidence that his or her personal medical records will remain private.”

Even Attorney General Ashcroft has made strong statements in support of the privacy of medical records. Back in 1998, in a press release put out by his Senate office in which he is referred to as a “consistent champion of privacy rights,” then-Senator Ashcroft says “We should guarantee that the federal government does not undermine an individual’s fundamental right to privacy ….. Without privacy protections in place, people may be discouraged from seeking help or taking advantage of the access to health care.”

I agree. But unlike Attorney General Ashcroft, I believe preserving patient privacy entails more than issuing a press release. Patient privacy doesn’t end when it conflicts with a political agenda, no matter how deeply felt that conviction. [snip]

The Patient Privacy Protection Act of 2004 is very simple. It states that a patient’s medical records and any communication about their medical history are confidential unless a judge determines that the public interest in those records being made public significantly outweighs the patient’s privilege. In the cases where a judge orders the records to be disclosed, the court shall, to the extent practicable, eliminate any and all personally identifiably information.

———————————–

In February 2005, Clinton supported the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2005, S. 306. She said, in part:

Each vaunted scientific breakthrough brings with it new challenges to our health system and this legislation will help maximize advancing technology’s benefits while protecting Americans from the use of genetic information as a tool for discrimination. With this bill, we can help patients access the latest advances in science without sacrificing their personal privacy.

————————-
In April 2005, Clinton re- introduced the Safeguarding Americans from Exporting Identification Data (SAFE ID) Act, S. 810. From a press release:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton and Representative Edward J. Markey announced that they would introduce the Safeguarding Americans from Exporting Identification Data (SAFE ID) Act in the United States Senate and House today, legislation that would protect the privacy of consumers’ most sensitive personal information. This legislation would close gaps in U.S. privacy laws that leave consumers vulnerable when American businesses and healthcare organizations send accounting and medical information overseas for processing, often without consumers’ knowledge. As Americans prepare to file their taxes, Senator Clinton and Representative Markey underscored the urgent need to make sure that personal information is safeguarded.

“The growing trend of processing sensitive personal information like medical tests and tax returns overseas makes it even harder for consumers to protect themselves against misuse of their personal information.

———————————-
Clinton’s best-known statement on privacy was her speech on privacy at the American Constitution Society on July 16, 2006. A transcript of the entire speech is available on her web site. The following is the section of her talk that specifically addressed medical privacy:

We also face a critical balancing act in the area of health privacy. Patients’ lives may depend on sharing their most intimate information. Our ability to control costs and improve the quality of healthcare certainly depends on moving away from paper-based medicine to information superhighway medicine.

I’ve worked with Newt Gingrich on this, and when Newt and I agree, you know something unusual is happening.

Newt likes to say, when it comes to medicine, “paper kills,” and he’s absolutely right. But if we can’t assure Americans that their information is safe, we won’t be able to move forward on health information technology that I believe will save lives, improve care, and reduce error rates.

We had no federal protections for health information at all, until the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act – also known as HIPAA, a different kind of acronym – was enacted under the Clinton Administration. HIPAA provided important protections of patients’ often most private information – their medical information. HIPAA provides a baseline, but the business of healthcare is changing fast, and information technology is changing even faster. Consumers are getting care and risking their information in ways nobody could have foreseen years ago; and frankly, this administration’s indifference towards HIPAA and enforcement has made even the protections we have utterly inadequate.

Now, HIPAA is not without practical challenges – there is still confusion about the rules for releasing information to relatives for example. We are still trying to strike the right balance between promoting research into diseases and protecting an individual’s information. We need to build on the base HIPAA provides by improving enforcement and making sure we have one set of high standards for everyone who deals with health information.

Hillary Clinton has fought for privacy rights for medical records.

Barack Obama thinks “Change”, “Stimulus”, and “Privacy” have no meaning.

166 thoughts on “Barack Obama: “Change”, Like “Simulus”, Has No Meaning

  1. reposted from previous thread:

    DOWD’S DISENCHANTMENT WITH “THE ONE” CONTINUES

    not sure if this was posted a day or two ago, but here goes…my comments added (see $$$)

    nytimes.com/2009/02/08/opinion/08dowd.html?_r=2&ref=opinion

    Potomac’s Postpartisan Depression
    ———————————————-

    By MAUREEN DOWD
    Published: February 7, 2009

    Once upon a time, America thought Prince Charming would glide in and kiss her, reviving her from a coma induced by a poison apple of greed, deceit, carelessness, recklessness and overreaching.

    But then the prince got distracted, seeing Lincoln in the mirror, and instead gave the kiss of life to a bunch of flat-lining Republican tax-cut fetishists.

    Somehow the most well-known person on the planet lost control of the economic message to someone named Eric Cantor. (And Larry Summers ended up making Henry Paulson seem riveting.)

    In his first weeks padding around a White House that still has nails on the walls waiting for new pictures, and phone and e-mail kinks, Barack Obama could not locate the bully pulpit and ended up being bullied.

    $$$ MoDo, we thought you’d have realized by now that Obama’s not a fighter, that what is portrayed as his “calm and cool demeanor” is actually “detachment”, and “deer-in-headlights”.

    Republicans, pulled out of their existential lethargy and re-energized by the president’s charm offensive, immediately mounted an offensive against him. Just as Michael Bloomberg learned the perils of cuddling a groundhog when it bit him, Mr. Obama learned the perils of coddling conservatives.

    Pete Sessions, a conservative from Waco, Tex., and the chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, warned that they could become an insurgency, having learned more about insurgencies “because of the Taliban.” (Yes, that’s the same Taliban that was allowed to regenerate by bumbling Republican leaders.)

    Obama advisers are right to crow that the president’s civility to Republicans will be popular with the public. But the carrot-stick ratio was way out of whack. Mr. Obama should have written up a kosher (as in pork-free) bill that Americans could trust — and Republicans couldn’t as easily mock — and jammed it through.

    It’s a huge, scary moment, with trillions of dollars and millions of jobs flying out the window. Vice President Joseph Biden, in another Cassandra moment, told House Democrats that even if the White House does everything right, “there’s still a 30 percent chance we’ll get it wrong.”

    The president and his aides seemed a bit snow-blinded by the White House, overwhelmed and slow to understand that they were losing the high ground and the whip hand. They couldn’t even get their pick for commerce secretary, the Republican Senator Judd Gregg, to vote for their stimulus bill; he said he would abstain.

    $$$ To quote Nelson the Bully from “The Simpsons”: “ha ha’.

    Those in the president’s circle were too caught up in more narrow concerns, like how their relationships with the president and the capital were shaking out; whether they could breathe on this new planet with the rarefied air of cool planes and helicopters; and whether W.’s mind-boggling mountain of garbage would trash Democratic candidates in 2010 and doom Mr. Obama to one term.

    “I would rather do the right thing and have one term than be mediocre and have two,” Mr. Obama told House Democrats at their Williamsburg retreat Thursday night. The lawmakers had been feeling disillusioned that they were carrying Mr. Obama’s water on the bill, while Obama aides triangulated and promised that the bill would “improve” in the Senate.

    $$$ Ofraud, you might just get your wish. We’ll even be waiting to see if you can make it through two years…

    Nancy Pelosi told her leadership team that she had told the president, “I don’t mind you driving the bus over me, but I don’t appreciate your backing it up and running over me again and again.”

    $$$ Since when did Nasty start reading Big PinK???????

    The Obama wizards’ tactical skills seemed to desert them. The White House often ends up making its inhabitants tone-deaf (or even nuts), but this was an unusually quick trip into the cognitive third dimension.

    Asked what he had learned from the Daschle fiasco, one Obama official replied, “Not to rationalize.”

    They knew that the choice of Tom Daschle conflicted with the Obama change message, but they preferred to focus on how much the president owed his friend and how good they thought he would be in the job.

    $$$ So Daschle “was owed” this seat, as a “favor”? Squid pro quo?

    They wanted him because he was the ultimate insider and they lost him because he was the ultimate insider. Now Daschle’s punishment for getting too rich with special interests will be to get richer with special interests.

    $$$ Lots of loose “change we can believe in”. Obama seems intent on fulfilling his pledge to unite the country, but he’ll accomplish it by angering his base, and uniting the country into wanting Obama removed from office.

    Obama aides call the morass a good wake-up call, and the president seems more aware of how the White House weather can cloud your thinking. Maybe that’s why he keeps trying to pop out to get a breath of fresh air — at an elementary school, at the Kennedy Center, at Camp David.

    $$$ The dude be choking. He’s not up for the stresses of the job. “Gee, it’s a lot harder than I thought. I need another Hawaiian getaway”.

    On Friday, a reporter asked Robert Gibbs if the president was already feeling cooped up.

    “He’s a bit of a restless soul,” Gibbs said, laughing. “His idea of a crazy day is to take a long walk.”

    A long walk where? somebody asked.

    “In solitude and isolation,” Gibbs replied.

    President Obama doesn’t need to leave his new home to be isolated. That’s the specialty of the White House.

  2. Mrs. SMith,

    Yes, things are a little confused here. The article you quoted with Geithner’s four points is headlined as referring to TARP, ie part of the Bailout, not part of the Stimulus. (Your post Mrs. Smith Says: February 10th, 2009 at 4:40 am )
    How Geithner Plans to Revise the Tarp
    by Jane Sasseen
    …. Of the $350 billion that remains of the funds from last fall’s Troubled Asset Relief Program,or TARP, Geithner will propose spending it along the following lines: 1) $50 Billion for mortgage loan modifications

  3. Mo Do can choke on it, the bitch was instrumental in helping the fraud, so she can go suck it, she’ll need to do 100 years in hell for her penance.

  4. “The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis.

    In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye. It took almost three years of public protests before the board reversed its decision.”

    The word “inhuman” comes to mind here. I have a feeling obama and “inhuman” will be recorded in the same sentence over and over again during his tenure.

    Hillary did her homework. She crossed her t’s and dotted her i’s. obama used crib notes/cheat sheets, listened and continues to listen to others with personal and greedy agendas. And the world has to suffer because of his and his cult’s blind adoration.

  5. Excellent info Admin. Just passed Senate with 61-37. TURNCOATS…..

    When the young people no longer have Granny and Gramps and Mom and Dad to fund their Utopian Universe….maybe it will dawn on them at the first sign of their own immortal aging….that they brought down the most powerful nation on earth with the push of button in a Diebold machine back in November 2008.

    Maybe they’ll remember their nerdy classmates that tried to tell them about how Hillary was the best of both worlds. Progressive, yet protective of the decency of America and protecting the middle class, the elderly, the disabled, the Veterans.

    Maybe they’ll remember being (possibly?) ambivalent about beign expected to show up for Obama rallies because it “looked cool.”

    Maybe they’ll remember the call from their parent to tell them that their adored grandparent would have to stop life-saving medication because the government wouldn’t pay…..and they have no money left (because they have supported their spoiled children for years).

    Maybe they’ll long for a family of their own, a good-paying job, possiblities for the future of their own choosing – too bad.

    It all started with the push of that button. You just sealed your (your parents and grandparents and future children and grandchildrens) futures.

    .

  6. Admin: I stopped reading when I saw the comment about the ACLU lawyer decrying the fact that what we are seeing from Mr. Obama is not change which he promised, and by inference they are surprised and disappointed. These are the same kind of people who refused to vet him, to examine his past performance for important clues as to how he would govern. For as brilliant as they pretend to be these self proclaimed guardians of our liberty fail to understand what every clerk in every human resource department in every organization who has anything to do with the discipline of hiring knows and understands to a fare thee well, namely that past performance is the best predictor of future performance. They also understand the Peter Principle.

  7. moononpluto Says:

    February 10th, 2009 at 12:56 pm
    Mo Do can choke on it, the bitch was instrumental in helping the fraud, so she can go suck it, she’ll need to do 100 years in hell for her penance.
    &&&&&&&&

    True, but it’s so much fun watching them “eat their own”, and to turn on them so quickly.

    Then again, Obama has morphed several times a) after “winning” the nomiation, b) after the election c) after the inauguration. So press that turn on Obama have a right to feel screwed.

    So yeah, this is fun.

  8. Mo Do can choke on it, the bitch was instrumental in helping the fraud, so she can go suck it, she’ll need to do 100 years in hell for her penance.
    —————–
    moon: you are far too lenient. 100,000 years with no probation. Plus the ignonomy of having to live with herself.

  9. I was going to say 100 years in hell sucking the devils dick but then i realised she’d probably enjoy that too much.

  10. BOB HERBERT PARODIES SERIOUS REPORTER “BOB HERBERT”

    Like Britney Spears, Bob Herbert last week seemed to be making progress toward checking into rehab to address his hopium addiction, only to relapse today. He was found slumped in his car with hopium balloons on the front seat.

    This is actually very funny to read. The title alone lets you know it’ll be a howler. And even more fun to comment on (see my $$$’s).

    nytimes.com/2009/02/10/opinion/10herbert.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

    The Chess Master
    ————————

    By BOB HERBERT
    Published: February 9, 2009

    It was just a week ago that the bad-mouthing of Barack Obama seemed to be reaching a fever pitch.

    The president was taking heat for the tax problems of Tom Daschle, Timothy Geithner and other appointees and nominees. Liberal supporters of the president were upset that he was making such a high-profile effort to get Republicans to climb aboard his stimulus package bandwagon.

    Self-styled middle-of-the-roaders were snarling that Mr. Obama was not doing enough bipartisan outreach, even as Republicans on Capitol Hill were attacking his economic package with the kind of venom usually reserved for the handiwork of Satan.

    Mr. Obama was called a hypocrite, dismissed as both craven and politically naïve and taken to task for being too much in the public eye.

    The president was even accused — oh, my goodness — of working in the Oval Office without his suit jacket on. And what was Mr. Obama doing as this chaos and tension and criticism swirled about him? Not surprisingly, keeping a level head.

    $$$ Okay Bob, I’m listening. Yes, Obama is “ever cool and even-tempered”…

    Mr. Daschle, who was supposed to be the administration’s point person on health care reform, withdrew his nomination as secretary of health and human services, and Mr. Obama promptly took the blame for the foul-up. “I’ve got to own up to my mistake,” he said.

    Polls showed that this went over very well with the public.

    $$$ But what about the most thorough vetting in the history of man kind, by the most amazing transition team in world history???

    After making every effort — and failing — to generate significant G.O.P. support for the stimulus package, the president ratcheted up his rhetoric, pointing to the stunning job losses in January and sharply criticizing the Republicans’ obstructionist tactics. On Friday, a weakened but still enormous stimulus bill was agreed upon in the Senate, a crucial advance for Mr. Obama.

    On Monday, he was on the road, making the case for his stimulus bill in Elkhart, Ind., which is enduring Depression-levels of joblessness and is desperate for federal assistance. Speaking to a crowded town-hall-style meeting, Mr. Obama said: “Endless delay or paralysis in Washington in the face of this crisis will only bring deepening disaster. I can tell you that doing nothing is not an option.”

    The crowd cheered and supported him enthusiastically throughout his appearance.

    $$$ Wait, wait. Is this like those Bush / Cheney hand picked crowds, with canned questions and all?? Tell me it ain’t so…

    There is always a tendency to underestimate Barack Obama. We are inclined in the news media to hyperventilate over every political or policy setback, no matter how silly or insignificant, while Mr. Obama has shown again and again that he takes a longer view.

    $$$ Just who in the heck was underestimating him in the MSM? If anything, he was over-estimated, over-hyped, and under-vetted. That’s how he got in.

    There was no way, for example, that the Daschle flap was going to derail the forward march of a man who had survived the Rev. Jeremiah Wright fiasco. It’s early, but there are signs that Mr. Obama may be the kind of president who is incomprehensible to the cynics among us — one who is responsible and mature, who is concerned not just with the short-term political realities but also the long-term policy implications.

    He has certainly handled himself much better than some of the clowns carrying leadership banners for the G.O.P. Michael Steele, the new Republican Party chairman, could barely contain his glee over the fact that no Republicans voted for the stimulus package in the House. “The goose egg that you laid on the president’s desk was just beautiful,” he said.

    “This bill stinks,” said Lindsey Graham of South Carolina during the Senate debate on the package.

    Representative Pete Sessions of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, made it clear that his party was committed to the low road when he talked about picking up pointers from the Taliban.

    I’m not joking. “Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban,” said Mr. Sessions, in an interview with Hotline, which is part of NationalJournal.com.

    The simple truth is that most Republican politicians would like Mr. Obama to fail because that is their ticket to a quick return to power. I think the president is a more formidable opponent than they realize.

    Mr. Obama is like a championship chess player, always several moves ahead of friend and foe alike. He’s smart, deft, elegant and subtle. While Lindsey Graham was behaving like a 6-year-old on the Senate floor and Pete Sessions was studying passages in his Taliban handbook, Mr. Obama and his aides were assessing what’s achievable in terms of stimulus legislation and how best to get there.

    $$$ Okay, it’s official. Herbert jumps the shark. The train is off the tracks. “Championship chess player”??? OMG.

    I’d personally like to see a more robust stimulus package, with increased infrastructure spending and fewer tax cuts. But the reality is that Mr. Obama needs at least a handful of Republican votes in the Senate to get anything at all done, and he can’t afford to lose this first crucial legislative fight of his presidency.

    $$$ (Translation: Obama’s bill that he’s hawking out of the road is a complete mish-mash that I, Bob Herbert, think is not sufficient. But I can’t admit that I have supported and continue to support this turncoat to my causes.”)

    $$$ Also, why does Herbert say that “Obama needs at least a handful of Repub votes…”? Truth is, just get all the Dems in line and it moves forward.

    The Democrats may succeed in bolstering their package somewhat in conference, but I think Mr. Obama would have been satisfied all along to start his presidency off with an $800 billion-plus stimulus program.

    $$$ Just like Bush’s TARP, it’s more important to have the image of the president signing something-anything, rather than make sure it’s a good bill. It should have been broken down into short-term stimulus and long term investing, and further bills regarding oversight over different industries. Obama will evenutally get to sit in front of his desk and sign some bill with a bunch of shitheads standing around and smilinng, all proud of the three-headed 213 pound baby that they helped mid-wife. That the baby will need to be Kevorkian’ed shortly is a news story for another day.

  11. Mrs. SMith,

    Along with whatever freeze Hillary suggested, she also suggested a program similar to FDR’s “Home Owner’s Loan Corp” which bought mortgages from the banks and then offered them at easier terms to the homeowenrs. Google search for “Hillary HOLC FDR”.

    I wish that we were sure that all of the TARP money in the #3 item WOULD be used for something like this: buying ‘toxic’ mortgages and selling them (at better terms) to the people living in those homes.

    I agree with you about items #2 and #4.

  12. I wonder, who will be HHS? Daschle’s policy sounds draconian. This deserved a debate, and did not belong in a spending bill.

  13. Here are a couple items to check out today.

    Obama’s New World Order and Israel

    realclearworld.com/articles/2009/02/obamas_new_world_order_and_isr.html

    CQ Transcript: Secretary of State Clinton Interviewed by the New York Times

    cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000003027827

  14. wbboei said:
    If we were sitting around Jonestown and said drink the koolaid that 35% would do it and be rewarded with twenty virgins or however that Muslim prescription goes. What I am saying is I think that is a hard number.

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

    I’ve been thinking for the last week or so that the numbers in the low 30’s sounded familiar — that sort of number used to turn up as Bush supporters, Impeachment supporters….

  15. what do you all think? have any of you known about this???? I admit i am clueless on this stuff.

    here is what i found at powerline today

    W. F. Buckley
    Total Posts: 5237
    Joined 2006-11-16

    Market Ticker and he ain’t too happy

    Put the kids away – this is not going to be pleasant.

    I’m done Mr. President.

    You stood in front of the American Public and lied through your damn teeth. You claim that America faces a “catastrophe” if we don’t pass your bill – but its not YOUR BILL, its Pelosi’s and Reid’s bill – a bill full of PORK and BS.

    I’m tired of the lies, America is tired of the lies, and we the people are not going to sit still for it any longer.

    You promised us change. This is what we got for “change”:

    Your Treasury Secretary, Geithner, cheated on his taxes. He was caught. He then failed to pay the other two years of tax for the same thing he got caught doing, until you told him you wanted him to be the tax collector. But that’s not the worst of it. No, the worst part is that when Bear Stearns got in trouble he, as the head of the NY Fed, knew full well that The Federal Reserve intended to open the discount window to investment banks THE VERY NEXT DAY and yet this fact was NOT disclosed to Bear Stearns, forcing them into a merger they would not have otherwise consummated. THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS LOST THEIR JOBS AS A DIRECT CONSEQUENCE OF TIM GEITHNER’S AND BEN BERNANKE’S INTENTIONAL CONCEALMENT OF THIS MATERIAL FACT. Here is the quote from the NY Times:

    “But the night that Bear signed the original bid, the Fed opened what’s known as the discount window to companies like Goldman Sachs and Lehman Brothers – oh, yes, and to Bear, too. Except that the Fed didn’t tell Bear that it planned to open the window when it was signing its deal with JPMorgan.

    Had Bear known it might have access to the discount window – a crucial source of liquidity – it might have been able to hold out for a couple more days or at least had enough leverage to seek a higher bid. But the Fed clearly preferred the original bid.”

    You WISH The Internet wasn’t around to hold your butt over the pot of hot oil and dunk you on this one. Sorry Mr. President, NO DICE.

    GEITHNER MUST RESIGN NOW; HE IS UNFIT TO HOLD THE OFFICE TO WHICH YOU APPOINTED HIM. PERIOD.

    more at link

    Listening to Geithner’s presser right now and the man is a loose cannon

  16. sry if this is a repost

    washingtontimes.com/news/2009/feb/10/obama-snubs-black-press-shakes-up-seating-routines/?page=2
    CURL: Obama snubs black press
    Joseph Curl

    After the first black president completed his first prime-time press conference, the black press was red hot.
    “We were window dressing,” said Hazel Edney, a reporter with the National Newspaper Publishers Association, also known as the Black Press of America. “We were nothing more than window dressing.”
    As the media filed into the stately White House East Room on Monday night, the reporter was shocked to find herself in the front row. Alongside her were the top news agencies, Associated Press, Reuters; also up front, 86-year-old Helen Thomas, who started covering presidents 50 years ago.
    Alongside the most prominent journalists in America was Tiffany Cross from Black Entertainment Television. Like Miss Edney, she didn’t know why she was in first-class while all the television networks – every single one – was exiled to the steerage compartment.

    “I really don’t know why I’m up here,” Miss Cross said with a shy smile.
    While most on the front row got to pose a question to President Obama, the two reporters from the black press did not. Nor did any other black-press reporter, for that matter.
    “This was like Reagan, when he’d put all the blacks up front,” said another prominent but visibly peeved black-press reporter who asked to remain anonymous. “He oughta’ be ashamed.”
    The new seating arrangement miffed a lot of reporters. In years past, the front row, usually nine or 10 seats, was peopled with the three main wires, the five big networks, Miss Thomas and, sometimes, a big newspaper, like the New York Times or USA Today.
    While the two wires were up front, Bloomberg News, which travels in every tight pool alongside AP and Reuters, was stationed in the second row. Of the networks, only CBS made that row. All but one of the others – ABC, CNN and NBC were in the third (while Fox News’ Major Garrett was dispatched to the fourth row, far to the right of the presidential podium).

  17. Stimulus plan revealed…important bits are wrapped in brown paper,covered by a tarp and unnamed—-> a 3% immediate drop in all indicies on the stock market.

  18. Schumer: “The American people really don’t care” about pork; Obama: “The American people don’t need to be convinced;”

    Final passage vote: 61-37
    By Michelle Malkin • February 10, 2009 12:12 PM

    The Senate is about to pass the Turbaconducken stimulus package. Sen. Schumer took to the floor about 20 minutes ago to fear-monger. He referred shamelessly to the “economic 9/11″ and wagged his bony finger at Republican dissenters.

    “You lost,” Sen. Schumer sneered. Besides, he taunted, the “American people really don’t care” about all those “little tiny, yes, porky amendments” that the “chattering classes” have exposed:

    youtube.com/watch?v=JEfICUoWKBw&eurl=

    Sixteen seconds packed with trademark liberal contempt, self-delusion, and oily arrogance.

    Easy to claim the American people “don’t care” when your voicemail and e-mailboxes are clogged with messages that will never be heard or read before the next rush to judgment takes place.

    ***

    Who cares? You care. Raise your voices.

    ***

    President Obama is also turning up his nose at millions of Americans skeptical of this colossal rip-off.

    Pressing for urgency, President Barack Obama ventured into another hard-hit, Republican-leaning area on Tuesday to prod Congress to stop debating an emergency economic deal and just get it done.

    Coming off a prime-time news conference, Obama was holding his second town hall event in as many days. The tenor of his remarks was to be much the same as Monday’s in another economically staggering area, Elkhart, Ind., which is also a Republican stronghold.

    En route to Florida, Obama said “The American people don’t need to be convinced” about the need for action.

    There is no dissent in Obama’s America.

    ***

    Anti-climax: 12:46pm Eastern. The final passage vote in the Senate on Turbaconducken: 61-37. The Turncoat Caucus – Specter, Snowe, and Collins – joined the Dems. Cornyn came back from his NYC trip to cast a no vote. Gregg abstained.

    Now, it’s off to the House-Senate conference backrooms to stuff more pork back in.

    Posted in: fiscal stimulus
    Send to a Friend
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    comments (101) trackbacks (7)

    michellemalkin.com/

  19. Reid named to conference committee

    In a fairly unusual move, Majority Leader Harry Reid has named himself to the conference committee hashing out differences on the mega-stimulus, according to Hill aides.

    Other names to come.

    via politico

  20. from the Senate floor yesterday — as he tries to explain why all those attacks on Mall sod, ATVs, STDs and contraception are off-base.

    Schumer, via transcript:

    AND LET ME SAY THIS TO ALL OF THE CHATTERING CLASS THAT SO MUCH FOCUSES ON THOSE LITTLE, TINY, YES, PORKY AMENDMENTS, THE AMERICAN PEOPLE REALLY DON’T CARE. THE AMERICAN PEOPLE CARE FAR MORE THAT THERE’S A PROPOSAL IN THE BILL, THIS
    ONE I PUSHED, THAT GIVES A $2,500 CREDIT TO FAMILIES WHO PAY
    TUITION TO PUT THEIR KIDS THROUGH COLLEGE. GREAT RELIEF. THEY
    CARE FAR MORE ABOUT THAT THAN ABOUT SOME SMALL PROVISION IN THE
    BILL THAT SHOULDN’T BE THERE. BECAUSE THE TAX RELIEF FROM
    TUITION COSTS THAT THEY’RE GOING TO GET MEANS FAR MORE TO THEM.
    THEY CARE MORE ABOUT A PROVISION THAT KEEPS THE TEACHERS IN
    THEIR SCHOOLS.

  21. His goal was a bi partian bill. He failed to achieve it. What he has is a dimocratic bill. He is stuck with it, the opportunity cost it imposes and the collateral damage in terms of debt, invasion of privacy and pork. Let him have his pyrhric victory. If it had been defeated, it would have given him the perfect excuse for failing to solve the economic problem. Whereas now, he has no way out. The American people are stuck with the consequences. As they become manifest we shall see how well they like it.

  22. Craig Obey lobbied dad, Issa charges

    Calif. Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, ranking member on the House oversight committee, claims Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wisc.) failed to divulge that his son Craig was lobbying him on behalf of national parks.

    “A report by House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Minority Staff contradicts assertions by the House Appropriations Committee that National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) lobbyist Craig Obey does not lobby the House Committee chaired by his father, Rep. David Obey. The House Appropriations Committee approved a $2 billion earmark for the National Parks Service lobbied for by Craig Obey and the NPCA.

    “The success of NPCA and Craig Obey in doubling the National Park Service’s annual appropriation through the economic recovery legislation raises the question of whether family ties played a role,” according to the report. “The seriousness of this potential conflict should have been disclosed to all Members before the vote took place.”

    The earmark for the National Parks Service, included by the House Appropriations Committee in H.R. 1, is more than twice the amount proposed by the U.S. Senate and would effectively double the budget for the National Parks Service without explaining how such a funding increase will be absorbed without creating abuse, waste, and misuse of funds.

    The staff report points to lobbying disclosure documents indicating that Craig Obey does lobby on Appropriations as well as the National Park Conversation Association’s stimulus proposal for the Appropriations Committee which identifies Craig Obey as the primary point of contact.

    A call to Obey’s office wasn’t immediately returned.

    A spokeswoman for the lawmaker has said Obey’s son does not lobby his father’s committee — claiming the funding increase was actually the brainchild of Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.).

    politico.com/blogs/glennthrush/

  23. In a fairly unusual move, Majority Leader Harry Reid has named himself to the conference committee hashing out differences on the mega-stimulus, according to Hill aides.

    Other names to come.

    via politico
    —————————
    This is exactly what you would expect. There is nothing unusual about it on a controversial piece of legislation like this.

  24. Well, it’s official. The turbaconducken bailout of Wall St. is meeting disapproval…from Wall St.

    nytimes.com/2009/02/11/business/11markets.html?hp

    Stocks Fall Sharply as New Bailout Plan Emerges
    ————————————————————

    By JACK HEALY
    Published: February 10, 2009
    For jittery investors, the government’s latest plan to stabilize the financial and credit markets with up to $2 trillion in public and private funds provided cold comfort.

    Stock prices tumbled on Tuesday after Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner unveiled the government’s latest tactics to address the troubled banking system. Primary among those was an expanded efforts ease consumer and commercial credit and a new program to buy up hard-to-sell assets that have bogged down banks.

    At 2:15 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 345 points, or 4.2 percent, dropping below 8,000, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down about 4.4 percent. It was shaping up to be the worst day for stocks since a broad sell-off on Inauguration Day.

    Despite the size and scope of the Obama administration’s plans, investors said Mr. Geithner’s proposal raised more questions than it answered. The way out of the financial crisis, analysts said, looked as murky as ever.

    “We’re not impressed, and I don’t think the market’s impressed either,” said Ryan Larson, head equity trader at Voyageur Asset Management. “It’s clear the administration is still trying to work on something concrete. I think the market sensed that, too.”

    A key measure of market volatility rose, as did prices of safe-haven government debt. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which rose above 3 percent on Monday, fell back to 2.83 percent.

    Every sector of the market was trading lower, with the Standard & Poor’s financials index falling by more than 8 percent, reflecting uncertainty about the banking system and how the government’s latest plans would affect major financial companies. Shares of Bank of America slid more than 5 percent, and Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley also fell.

    Shares of General Motors fell slightly after the automaker announced it would slash 10,000 salaried jobs worldwide and make white-collar pay cuts of up to 10 percent. Stocks got little traction after the Senate approved an $838 billion package of tax cuts and spending on Tuesday afternoon. The House and Senate will now have to reconcile their versions of the stimulus, which has been endorsed by President Obama but opposed by most Republicans.

    Stock markets had surged last week as investors waited for Mr. Geithner to lay out how the administration would spend the second half of the $700 billion bailout. But by mid-afternoon on Tuesday, that buying spree had reversed starkly.

    “It’s this kind of buy-the-hope, sell-the-news mentality that the market’s taken over the last few months,” said Dean Curnutt, president of Macro Risk Advisors. “The administration’s very focused; they’re clearly working around the clock to create a plan. That being said, these are just enormous financial problems.”

    Mr. Geithner said the Treasury was creating a public-private investment fund, jointly run with the Federal Reserve with financing from private investors, to buy up hard-to-sell assets that have bogged down banks and financial institutions for the past year. He said the new fund, often described as a “bad bank” for holding toxic assets, would start with $500 billion, with a goal of eventually buying up to $1 trillion in assets.

    In addition, the Federal Reserve announced that it was prepared to expand a program intended to ease commercial credit to $1 trillion, from $200 billion. The Fed said that it was also considering expanding the scope of the program, the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, to include securities backed by residential and commercial mortgages.

    The stock market, which had been trading down all morning, fell sharply as Mr. Geithner began speaking around 11 a.m.

    In Europe, shares fell as $6.9 billion loss by the Swiss banking giant UBS and uncertainty about the latest American bank bailout plan kept investors on the sidelines.

    “What we are seeing is that the market has settled into a volatile trading range at low levels,” said Christoph Riniker, an equity analyst at Julius Baer in Zurich. “There’s not enough optimism on the outlook for it to push significantly higher in the short term.”

    The Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 Index, a benchmark for the euro region, lost 1.5 percent. The FTSE 100 index in London shed 1 percent and the DAX in Frankfurt dropped 1.6 percent. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures dropped 1.3 percent.

    “The earnings we have seen so far suggest 2009 will be a weak year in most sectors,” Mr. Riniker added. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty.”

    Shares in UBS, the European bank with the highest subprime-related losses, were volatile. They advanced by 2 percent in Europe, to 13.15 Swiss francs, but were earlier down as much as 7 percent. Other banks fell. Crédit Agricole was down 2.9 percent, Barclays fell 3.8 percent, Royal Bank of Scotland slipped 4.4 percent and HSBC was down 3.7 percent.

    Matthew Saltmarsh contributed reporting.

  25. Now, snippets of my quoted article from above, but this time with my snarky $$$ comments.

    &&&
    By JACK HEALY
    Published: February 10, 2009

    At 2:15 p.m., the Dow Jones industrial average was down more than 345 points, or 4.2 percent, dropping below 8,000, and the broader Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down about 4.4 percent. It was shaping up to be the worst day for stocks since a broad sell-off on Inauguration Day.

    $$$ Thank god the stinkulus bill is getting rushed through…

    Despite the size and scope of the Obama administration’s plans, investors said Mr. Geithner’s proposal raised more questions than it answered. The way out of the financial crisis, analysts said, looked as murky as ever.

    $$$ Thank god for those steady hands, cool heads, and vastly intelligent brains.

    “We’re not impressed, and I don’t think the market’s impressed either,” said Ryan Larson, head equity trader at Voyageur Asset Management. “It’s clear the administration is still trying to work on something concrete. I think the market sensed that, too.”

    $$$ The sham is exposed.

    Every sector of the market was trading lower, with the Standard & Poor’s financials index falling by more than 8 percent, reflecting uncertainty about the banking system and how the government’s latest plans would affect major financial companies.

    $$$ SuperObama, able to crumble mighty financial institutions, impoverish the wealthiest of nations. Can’t wait to see what he does to health care and Social Security. Bots, aren’t you celebrating?

    Stock markets had surged last week as investors waited for Mr. Geithner to lay out how the administration would spend the second half of the $700 billion bailout. But by mid-afternoon on Tuesday, that buying spree had reversed starkly.

    The stock market, which had been trading down all morning, fell sharply as Mr. Geithner began speaking around 11 a.m.

    $$$ It’s like “Fun with Dick and Jane”, where the host of “Money Life” is interviewing Dick and the stocks of his company are plunging behind him.

    In Europe, shares fell as $6.9 billion loss by the Swiss banking giant UBS and uncertainty about the latest American bank bailout plan kept investors on the sidelines.

    $$$ Not content to ruin America, Obama has larger plans…

    The Dow Jones Euro Stoxx 50 Index, a benchmark for the euro region, lost 1.5 percent. The FTSE 100 index in London shed 1 percent and the DAX in Frankfurt dropped 1.6 percent. Futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures dropped 1.3 percent.

    “The earnings we have seen so far suggest 2009 will be a weak year in most sectors,” Mr. Riniker added. “There’s still a lot of uncertainty.”

    $$$ Yes, how long before Obama is impeached or resigns in disgrace. “I’d like to spend more time with my family on vacation; the presidency is a hard job, and I had no business running for a job for which I was not prepared for, nor which I was prepared to fully carry out.

  26. Dear Senator Schumer,

    Don’t ever speak of me, or to me, in that tone of voice again.

    youtube.com/watch?v=JEfICUoWKBw

  27. Just read how he put Clinton basher Ed Schultz in front row…also selecting Huff-N-Puff reporter for question. The man has absolutely no respect for Hillary and Bill, despite they way both of the Clintons worked to get him elected after BO stole the primary from Hillary.

  28. Wbboei, the bipartisanship is in the opposition to the flim-flam. No celestial choirs, no 80 votes – the entire Obama premise.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090210/ap_on_go_co/congress_stimulus

    Just three Republicans helped pass the plan on a 61-37 vote and they’re already signaling they’ll play hardball to preserve more than $108 billion in spending cuts made last week in Senate dealmaking. Obama wants to restore cuts in funds for school construction jobs and help for cash-starved states.

    Those cuts are among the major differences between the $819 billion House version of Obama’s plan and a Senate bill costing $838 billion. Obama has warned of a deepening economic crisis if Congress fails to act. He wants a bill completed by the weekend.

  29. Shares in UBS, the European bank with the highest subprime-related losses, were volatile.
    ———————-
    Remember this is the bank whose North American Chairman, Wolfe, was introduced to him by Soros, and mapped out his campaign in January 2008 and introduced him to other global financial bankers and hedge fund people around the world. Not to sound too conspiratial here but he who pays the piper calls the tune and it is no different here.

  30. We really should shut down operations after today. What more can we possibly say after reading this in the Wall Street Journal and Politico:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123423234983566171.html

    For Michael Precker, that loss of status wasn’t as grim as the fear of it. A veteran foreign correspondent and editor for the Dallas Morning News, Mr. Precker took a buyout in 2006 and now manages a high-end strip club. “I really wondered how it would feel to sever that link — Michael Precker of the Dallas Morning News,” he says. “But it has been easier than I thought. I feel lucky.”

  31. Now that Obama has swept aside Bidens misgivings and become, in effect, the guarantor of an economic recovery, it will be very imporant to develop a sound set of metrics to measure actual economic progress or decline.

    The reason that is critical is because those who support Bambi–big media and pigs at the trough like Wolfe will be inclined to present false figures and to substitute adjectives for quantifiable nouns.

    Also when it does not work, be prepared for the argument I mentioned yesterday, which is look how much worse it would have been if we had not done this.

    We must be prepared to make a counter argument that if a different approach had been tried (like Krugmans) then we would be much BETTER off under the non bipartisan legislation you shoved down our throats with support.

    They will of course say that is purely hypothetical we can say, no more so than your hypothetical argument that we would have been if we hadnt.

    Then we can say when he had the wind to his back, he chose the wrong medicine. And just look at what has happened, i.e. the unintended consequences noted above.

  32. Hey, admin, at least it’s a “high end” strip club, not one of those cheesy places that degrade women. ;^)

  33. Wbboei, the bipartisanship is in the opposition to the flim-flam. No celestial choirs, no 80 votes – the entire Obama premise
    ———————
    yes Admin yes.

    And no political cover when the plan does not work.

  34. admin

    besides reid, already know about him!

    who are the good guys and who are the bad guys of those conferees??
    [wish i had paid attention to politics long ago!!]

  35. Mr. Precker, who now runs the strip club, says “he feels lucky”.

    I bet when he used conduct interviews at the Dallas Morning News, he used to say: “Who boy.”

    Now, when he has to conduct “interviews”, he says “Yah baby, it’s Interview Day again!!!”

    Come to think of it, I wonder now which line of business is sleazier? Maybe his transition was fairly easy…

  36. Got this video from hillbuzz.. scary. Do we know who (Soros?) did what in mid September last year (to get this buffoon elected?)

    youtube.com/watch?v=_NMu1mFao3w

  37. Maybe we could perfect this prayer, for as far as I can foresee prayer is the only thing within our power that we can do. I received it through one of those email spokes of a friend.

    I thought you might enjoy this interesting Prayer given in Kansas at the opening session of their Senate It seems Prayer still upsets some people. When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

    Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask Your forgiveness and to seek your direction and Guidance.
    We know Your Word says, ‘Woe to those Who call evil good,’ but that is exactly what we Have done.
    We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed Our values.
    We have exploited the poor and called it The lottery.
    We have rewarded laziness and called it Welfare.
    We have killed our unborn and called it Choice.
    We have shot abortionists and called it Justifiable.
    We have neglected to discipline our Children and called it Building self esteem.
    We have abused power and called it Politics.
    We have coveted our neighbour’s possessions And called it Ambition.
    We have polluted the air with profanity and Pornography and called it Freedom of expression.
    We have ridiculed the time-honored values Of our forefathers and called it Enlightenment.
    Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts Today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free.
    Amen!

    The response was immediate. A number of Legislators walked out during the prayer in
    Protest. In 6 short weeks, Central Christian Church, where Rev. Wright is pastor, logged more than
    5,0 00 phone calls with only 47 of those calls Responding negatively.. The church is now receiving
    International requests for copies of this prayer From India, Africa and Korea .

    Commentator Paul Harvey aired this prayer on His radio program, ‘The Rest of the Story,’and
    Received a larger response to this program than any Other he has ever aired.

  38. Five Reasons the Markets Don’t Like the Bank Bailout

    * Tuesday February 10, 2009, 3:13 pm EST
    * Yahoo! Buzz

    Wall Street’s message to the Obama administration was clear Tuesday, even if the plan to save the banking industry wasn’t.

    Unhappy with a lack of clarity in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s new financial rescue plan, investors launched a massive stock selloff, raising further questions about when confidence would be restored to the market.

    From the squishy rhetoric about how complex the problem is to the lack of a clear time-frame for when specific weaknesses in the financial sector would be addressed, Geithner’s speech did nothing to assuage the market’s concerns about the nation’s future.

    Broadly speaking, reaction to the speech broke down into five areas:

    1. There Really is No ‘Change’

    “I’m really underwhelmed by the plan,” says David Twibell, president of wealth management for Colorado Capital Bank in Denver. “Maybe there’s not much that can be done right now other than let this work itself out.”

    For someone who ran last year as an agent of change, President Obama’s plan for banks seemed to represent more of the same. While investors were looking for some concrete moves on how distressed assets would be taken off banks’ books, they instead walked away from Geithner’s speech with no indication of how the assets would be priced or who would be buying them.

    And as one of Wall Street’s oldest maxims goes, the market hates uncertainty.

    “I think we need to see exactly how this program is going to work,” Twibell says. “Maybe that will give the markets a little more comfort level.”

    But for many, the plan offered little real guidance for how to invest going forward, save for a promise to help buoy small business.

    “Zero has changed,” said Michael Cohn, chief market strategist at Atlantis Asset Management in New York. “Everyone knew everything except the issue with doing something positive for small business. There’s no clarity on whether they can repeal the mark-to-market (accounting rules). I don’t know how they’re going to do it.”

    2. A Far Cry From Finished

    If the administration was purposely setting out a general plan with the specifics to be crafted by Wall Street, then it may have accomplished something.

    With so many details left unsolved, much more work will have to be done, again creating uncertainty for investors.

    “It’s going to be fine-tuned many times over,” predicts Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at The Hartford. “Given the enormity of the problem it’s clear that certain parts will work and certain parts won’t work, but it’s a start.”

    The market is clamoring to know how the government will be able to help banks with their toxic assets while also protecting investors and taxpayers from getting blindsided if the fixes don’t work.

    “The devil’s going to be in the details with this stuff,” Twibell says. “We’re still back to the old problem of how you price that, how you structure that.”

    3. Treasury Bubble Still Popping

    While Treasurys rallied Tuesday on a further flight to safety, government debt prices are likely to fall as more and more supply comes on line while the government finances the bank rescue.

    The predicted trend reflects the difficulty the government will face getting a premium on bills it will be in a hurry to unload.

    “The idea that you can just borrow and spend, borrow and spend, run ever-larger deficits and essentially print money with no consequences is economically naive,” says Mike Larson, analyst for Weiss Research’s Money & Markets newsletter. “Yet no one seems to be talking about the unintended consequences until now.”‘

    Larson called the popping of the bond bubble months ago and sees the trend continuing as the government accumulates more and more debt.

    Moreover, he said the pressure on Treasurys will cause interest rates to rise and thwart hopes of mortgage rates falling to 4.5 percent or even lower,
    a prediction made Monday by Bill Gross, co-CEO of Pimco, the world’s largest bond fund.

    “The longer-term trend is clearly for lower prices and higher rates as a result of this supply issue,” Larson says.

    4. Money Will Stay on the Sidelines

    With the government unable to stem the tide of uncertainty bedeviling stocks, convincing people to buy will prove all the more difficult.

    “The poor reception afforded to Mr. Geithner’s speech in which little was revealed reminded investors that more turbulent times may be ahead without some sense of resolution to the health of the banks’ balance sheets,” Andrew Wilkinson, senior strategist at Interactive Brokers, wrote in a research note to clients.

    The result is likely a stock market that will continue to be range-bound, and perhaps even retest its November lows.

    “Is there a reason to deploy a lot of capital in this market? My view is we still don’t know when we can get some stability in this economy, and until we do it’s awfully tough to put a lot of money to work,” Twibell says. “To actually go in from an investment standpoint at this juncture is tough.”

    “You must have a functioning, normal financial system, including the securitization market,” Krosby adds. “In the market economy, the financial infrastructure is the lifeline.”

    5. One Hope: ‘Buying Begets Buying’

    The one bit of solace from the post-Geithner selloff Tuesday was that you could have set your watch by it.

    As news spread last week that a rescue plan was in the making, the markets jumped. When the actual plan was unveiled, the market jumped back. Buy-the-rumor and sell-the-news has been one of the few constants in a stunningly volatile market, and the continuing of the trend raised hopes that the selloff Tuesday would be a one-off event.

    “This is a trader’s selloff, 100 percent pure and simple,” Cohn says. “When (the Dow) gets back to 7,900, 7,850, buyers come back. It’s nothing.”

    So when selling begets selling, the one hope is that the corollary can be true and will be one catalyst helping the market get past its banks-induced doldrums. That trend is likelier to come once Wall Street has a better picture of what the White House is going to do to help.

    “Buying begets buying, and that’s a takeaway that has served me in good stead,” Krosby says. “What gives you, the retail investors, hope is when you start to see the hedge funds go back into equities, institutional buying into equities, that pushes the market up for two or three days.”

    A change in the news cycle away from the negativity of the White House’s fumbling of the bank rescue announcement would help make that happen.

    “Professional investors would much rather see an organic move in the market, meaning it’s not induced by any move from Washington but rather by a company saying revenue looks better than expected, that orders have picked up,” Krosby says. “Or they begin to see the news, the macroeconomic data are stabilizing, that’s what moves the market ultimately.”

    “Slowly but surely this thing is going to get better,” Cohn adds. “It’s just really slow. Until the bad news stops, you’re not going to change the world’s perception.”

  39. Politico finds it “somewhat unusual ” that Reid, the senate majority leader, would assign himself to the committee after McConnell, the Senate minority leader is on it. Shrewd political analysts they are just like their parent WashPo.

    Looking at the Republican side, I can tell you from experience that Mitch is tough. Emjay can tell you that Grassley will make sure the interests of middle America will be heard. But what about Cochrane from Mississippi? What do we know about him? Well . . . there is reason to believe that he believes the world stimulus means stimulus–not pork. Consider the following:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Adam Telle
    September 26 , 2008 (202)224-6408

    COCHRAN EXPRESSES DISAPPOINTMENT OVER POLITICIZED STIMULUS PACKAGE

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate rejected a $56 million purported economic stimulus package today by a vote of 52-42, eight votes short of the sixty needed. Despite indications before the vote that the package would not garner sufficient support to move forward, Senate leadership insisted upon the recorded vote.

    Senator Thad Cochran (MS), the top Republican on the Senate Appropriations Committee, expressed frustration with the process:

    “At a time when our country is facing serious challenges domestically and overseas, the Senate leaders chose to bring up a so-called stimulus package that was designed to fail. There was no opportunity for debate or amendment.

    “If they were serious about funding for local law enforcement grants or medical research, they would have worked to move across the House and Senate floors the annual appropriations bills that fund these programs. This is one of the fundamental responsibilities of Congress. Instead they spent the summer obstructing the appropriations process so that they could avoid votes on the single issue most important to American families – energy prices.

    “This stimulus package was pitched as a shot in the arm for the American economy. What is stimulating about stopping the development of domestic energy resources? What is stimulating about passing laws about downer cattle when the USDA is already working to fix the problem? What does mandatory funding for our National Parks in the year 2018 have to do with stimulating the economy?

    “The truth is that Senate leaders carefully stacked this package so that it would fail. They have turned their backs on the real needs of the American people in hopes of election day gain.”

    Senate leadership has failed to take action on nine of the twelve Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations bills, which fund the federal government. Fiscal Year 2008 ends September 30, 2008.

    ###

    The one thing to watch for, however, is bambi dangling social security reform in front of them. To conservative republicans that is catnip. And to Bambi it is a way to reward his financial backers.

  40. Campaigning Vs. Governing, the breaking of promises.

    100days.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/02/10/missile-gaps-and-other-broken-promises/

    Missile Gaps and Other Broken Promises
    —————————————————

    By Richard Reeves
    February 10, 2009, 3:08 pm

    On the morning of his 17th day as President, John F. Kennedy was still in bed at 8 a.m. and, as was his habit, reading The New York Times. One glance at the front page and he exploded, calling his Secretary of Defense, Robert McNamara and saying: “What the hell is this ….”

    “This” was a headline: “Kennedy Defense Study Finds No Evidence of a ‘Missile Gap.’ ”

    Not good. Kennedy’s most powerful campaign line had been: “We are facing a gap on which we are gambling with our survival …”

    McNamara, a Republican who had been the president of Ford Motors, was considered the best of the new president’s Cabinet choices. He may have been the best and the brightest, but he was a political amateur. The evening before, McNamara had invited reporters covering the Defense Department into his office for drinks and a get-acquainted session. Unfortunately, the new guy did not know the rules of the game.

    The session was “N.F.A.” — not for attribution — which McNamara thought was the same as “off the record.” In fact, the phrase meant reporters could use anything the secretary said as long as they did not identify him as the source.

    McNamara rather casually smiled when reporters asked about the missile gap. He said there was no such thing, and if there was any gap was heavily in favor of the United States. When the president called, McNamara stammered that he was sorry, but that, in fact, the United States could absorb a full-scale Soviet missile attack and still have more than enough nuclear missiles to destroy 100 Soviet cities, kill 100 million Soviet citizens and destroy 80-percent of that country’s industrial capacity in a few hours.

    A presidential news conference had already been scheduled for Feb. 8 and, predictably, White House correspondents asked Kennedy about the disappearing gap: “It would be premature to reach a judgment as to whether there is a gap or was no gap,” he replied.

    He was lying. He knew there was no gap. He had been told so by Central Intelligence Agency briefers during the campaign. On the day before he became president, Kennedy was told by his predecessor, Dwight Eisenhower, that there was no missile gap. The United States had a huge advantage, said Eisenhower, “and one invulnerable weapon, Polaris.” These were the nuclear missiles aboard United States Navy submarines in the oceans off the coasts of the Soviet Union.

    (Later CIA reports indicated that during the 1960 campaign, the Soviets probably had only three intercontinetal ballistic missiles. At the time, though, the C.I.A. estimated, incorrectly, there were about 90 Soviet ICBMs and 200 bombers capable of carrying nuclear weapons, although none of those bombers had the range to reach the United States. At the same time, the United States had 108 missiles that could reach Soviet targets and were in the process of deploying 30 more in Turkey. In addition, the United States Air Force had 600 nuclear-ready bombers capable of reaching Soviet targets.)

    The McNamara blunder into truth-telling was not only problem Kennedy had with talented amateurs. Walter Heller, who went from the campus of the University of Minnesota to become chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers, had briefed reporters on the administration’s plans to deal with an ongoing recession, and gave them actual numeric goals that began appearing in newspapers around the country. “Never do that again,” Kennedy told Heller in an angry telephone call. “Forget those numbers. Numbers can come back to haunt you. Words can always be explained away.”

    Kennedy had learned quickly, as Barack Obama is now, the gap between campaigning and governing. Events are in the saddle for a president, whether the 35th or 44th. Obama planned to be a president getting us out of Iraq, now he is trying to get us out of debt

    As for the missile gap, and the White House’s inability to explain away McNamara’s numbers, Kennedy decided he had to get some real numbers out there. He was afraid that the Soviet Union and other countries that might believe that the United States was as weak as he had said it was in his campaign rhetoric. He dispatched the deputy secretary of Defense, Roswell Gilpatric, to give a speech — which Kennedy himself edited line by line and number by number — which could be called saber-rattling but was actually saber-describing.

    Speaking to the National Business Council at Hot Springs, Va., Gilpatric laid it out: “This nation has nuclear retaliatory force of such lethal power that an enemy which brought it into play would be an act of self-destruction on his part … The total number of our nuclear delivery vehicles, tactical as well as strategic, is in the tens of thousands; and of course, we have more than one warhead for each vehicle.”

    The businessmen in Virginia might have wondered why he was telling them this. But they were not the real audience. The audience was Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and other world leaders. After the speech, Kennedy reinforced the message by saying he was ready to do whatever it took “to protect our lead.”

  41. So the fix is in. May they be hoisted with their own petard and held accountable for the plague they have opened the door to.

  42. Admin,

    Emjay Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 2:46 pm
    ————————————-
    Thank you for the embed- it speaks volumes about his respect for others, doesn’t it?. No wonder ‘he doesn’t play well with others.’

  43. Obama knows his flim-flam “stimulus” scam is to save Dimocrats in 2010 and himself in 2012. It won’t work and he knows it. Now that the Republicans did not join the celestial choirs and get Obama 80 votes in the Senate to share the blame – Obama knows he is solely to blame.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0209/18676.html

    Three weeks after being sworn in, President Barack Obama acknowledged in plain terms Tuesday that his prospects for winning a second term may depend on the whether he can revive the nation’s plummeting economy.

    “I’m not going to make any excuses,” Obama said at a town hall meeting here, in perhaps the most pivotal political state in America. “If stuff hasn’t worked, if people don’t feel like I’ve led the country in the right direction then you’ll have a new president.”

  44. Spector is up for re-election next year:

    http://nationalrepublicantrust.com/wheeler_press_release.html

    Today, Scott Wheeler, Executive Director, National Republican Trust PAC, announced that his organization would support challengers in primaries of any Republicans who vote for the stimulus bill. The NRT PAC spent the third largest amount of any independent organization in the 2008 campaign; $6 million in advertising through the November election, and $750,000 in the runoff for the U.S. Senate seat in Georgia.

  45. admin Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 4:14 pm

    “I’m not going to make any excuses,” Obama said at a town hall meeting here, in perhaps the most pivotal political state in America. “If stuff hasn’t worked, if people don’t feel like I’ve led the country in the right direction then you’ll have a new president.”
    &&&&&&&&&

    He **says** he won’t “make any excuses”. But I recall that kind of fake candor in the primaries and the general election, but believe, the excuses were fast and furious. It was done in an echo chamber manner, a complicit press regurgitating Obama’s excuses, or those who spoke on behalf of him. And instead of holding up said excuses for closer scrutiny, they stamped the excuses with the “100% approved” seal.

    So I don’t believe him. The excuses will be delivered by an automatic firing AK47 Excuse Maker, the most powerful excuse maker in the world.

  46. “If stuff hasn’t worked…”

    wow, this man is so…..eloquent. Behold the oratorical arias of the great Obama.

  47. Frank Rich’s piece from Sunday has a link referring to a story from Jan 27th that mentions that Geithner’s selection for his Chief of Staff (not subject to Senate approval), Mark Patterson, is another lobbyist:

    abcnews.go.com/Blotter/Story?id=6735898&page=1

    Another Lobbyist Headed Into Obama Administration
    Leaves Critics Questioning the President’s Commitment to Changing Washington

    Despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to limit the influence of lobbyists in his administration, a recent lobbyist for investment banking giant Goldman Sachs is in line to serve as chief of staff to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

    Mark Patterson was a registered lobbyist for Goldman until April 11, 2008, according to public filings.

    Patterson first began lobbying for Goldman Sachs in 2005, after working as policy director for then-Senate majority leader Tom Daschle. According to publicly filed lobbying disclosure records, he worked on issues related to the banking committee, climate change and carbon trading and immigration reform, among others.

    Patterson’s lobbying was first noted by the National Journal magazine.

    Patterson is one of over a dozen recent lobbyists in line for important posts in the Obama administration, despite a presidential order severely restricting the role of lobbyists in his administration, the magazine reported.

    The Obama administration’s limitation on lobbyists isn’t a direct ban. Lobbyists are still allowed to be a part of the administration working on areas that they have not lobbied on. But the potential appointment of Patterson and others raise questions about just how much the Obama administration will be able to move away from the revolving door model of business that has become so common inside the Beltway.

    “Considering that Goldman was an early and large recipient of our TARP funding, being pulled out of that really does effect his ability to be an effective chief of staff for the treasury secretary,” said Steve Ellis, president of the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense.

    Patterson has spent most of his career in Congress. He served as special assistant to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan from 1985-88. And following law school at Catholic University, he worked as an attorney in private pratice for several years before rejoined Moynihan’s staff as legislative director. He then served as chief counsel to the Senate Finance Committee and later served as policy director for Daschle.

    But even if he recuses himself from matters related to Goldman, there is little outside oversight. The position of chief of staff is appointed by the secretary of treasury and does not require Senate approval. And with Geithner’s confirmation by the Senate Monday, Patterson’s appointment is all but completed. What’s more is much of how the chief of staff operates is behind closed doors, Ellis noted, and it’s difficult for outsiders to monitor.

    A White House spokesperson declined to comment on “speculation” that Patterson would be tapped, as several outlets have reported. A Goldman spokesperson declined to comment and directed calls to the administration. Patterson could not be reached for comment.

    (snip)

  48. From NQ, this is Jake Tapper asking Press Secretary Gibbs, portrayed by “bambi” (deer in headlights), some uncomfortable questions about vetting of candidates and the lack of transparency that was supposed to be the cornerstone of the Obama administration:

    noquarterusa.net/blog/2009/02/10/jake-tapper-kills-bambi/#more-13900

  49. When you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit. Idiot Harry Reid maintains that paying income tax is voluntary in the U.S..

    youtube.com/watch?v=R7mRSI8yWwg

  50. Remember the mantra of every political candidate esp. Ronald Reagan? “I want to clean up the waste fraud and abuse”.

    Let’s see how that’s going. Reagan had the HUD scandal of fraud and waste where Republicans got $300,000 to make a phone call for other rich Republicans to get masses of govt money to refurbish buildings which were already waaay over-priced and were in places where there were almost no eligible renters. (I remember a small rich town in Conn.) That’s where our low-rent housing money went.

    Fast-forward to Iraq where we lost 9 billion dollars. I mean ‘lost’. It’s never been found. This at a time when soldiers were dying, many because of lack of equipment. 9 billion. Vanished.

    Let’s move on to now. Anybody check their e-mails?
    I get about 100 a day and about 200 in the spam box. About 90% of them are fraudulent. “Free” stuff that isn’t, “pre-approved” which means nothing, “congrats, you won” when you haven’t, “job offers” that aren’t (and are so cruel),
    loans that charge desperate people 3000% and then take out even more when they have your bank numbers.

    Banks, loan companies, merchants, and Kenyans are all into this ethic-less business.

    Into this morass we are about to dump a trillion dollars. Ask yourself how much of this will be scammed away. The thing abut the tax breaks is that some of that will get to people but when does that take effect? A tax break for a failing business isn’t so much help because you won’t owe much anyway. The rich and prosperous will like it.

    The banking system does need strengthening but it would help if there were stringent rules and oversight.

    So, what is anyone’s best guess about what percent of the ’stimulus’ will go to the politically and financially connected? And what percent will be wasted and defrauded away?

    My guess is 40% to the former and 40% to the latter.

  51. I don’t know about all of you, but I am just stunned by all that has happened since Jan. 20. I fully expected Obama would be a poor president, but honest to God, I’m starting to actually fear the man. Voters don’t realize what they have done..

  52. Clinton Says US Could ‘Reconsider’ European Missile Defense Plan
    By David Gollust
    State Department
    10 February 2009

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Obama administration might reconsider plans for a missile defense system in Europe, if Iran stopped what U.S. officials believe is a drive for nuclear weapons. Clinton met with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose government – along with Poland – has agreed to host the system.

    The Obama administration has stopped short of fully embracing the missile defense program that was avidly pursued by the Bush White House, with the Obama team citing concerns about its technical viability.

    In her joint press appearance with her Czech Republic counterpart, Secretary Clinton reiterated those concerns, while also suggesting the program could be shelved if Iran halts its pursuit of nuclear weapons. Clinton expressed gratitude to both the Czech Republic and Poland for working with the United States in what she framed as an effort to dissuade and deter Iran from pursuing nuclear weapons and a related long-range missile project.

    She said the decisions on timing and deployment of the system are “largely technical matters” and said Iranian behavior would be a key factor in whether the program ultimately goes forward. “If we’re able to see a change of behavior on the part of the Iranians with respect to what we believe to be their pursuit of nuclear weapons, then you know, we will reconsider where we stand. But we are a long, long way from seeing such evidence of any behavior change,” she said.

    Clinton noted an assertion by Vice President Joe Biden in a policy speech in Munich Saturday that the United States will continue efforts on missile defense provided the technology is proven to work and it is cost effective.

    Mr. Biden also said the United States will continue consulting on the matter with NATO and with Russia, which has opposed the program as a threat to its strategic deterrence.

    Under questioning Tuesday, Clinton reiterated the Obama administration’s interest in dialogue with Iran, following an assertion Tuesday by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that his government welcomes talks with Washington based on “mutual respect.” The Secretary said there is an opportunity for Iran’s hard-line government to “unclench its fist” and begin a serious and responsible dialogue but also linked that prospect to the Iranian nuclear program.

    “We still persist in our view that Iran should not obtain nuclear weapons, that it would be a very unfortunate course for them to pursue,” Clinton said. “And we hope that there will be opportunities in the future for us to develop a better understanding of one another, and to work out a way of talking that would produce positive results for the people of Iran.”

    President Obama said at his news conference late Monday he is looking for opportunities to engage with Iran while acknowledging that years of mistrust between the two countries will be hard to overcome.

    voanews.com/english/2009-02-10-voa54.cfm

  53. AmericanGal

    I began fearing obama back before super tuesday, long before rev wright even surfaced.[ i am beginning to understand why he says GD-USA]

    NOW??

    I AM PETRIFIED AND REALLY WISHING I WOULD GET A HUGE STIMULUS CHECK SO I CAN AFFORD
    PASSPORTS AND PLANE TICKETS FOR US TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THIS COUNTRY!!

  54. Barack Obama throws Joe Biden under the bus
    Posted By: Toby Harnden at Feb 10, 2009

    Pity poor Joe Biden. His “there’s still a 30 percent chance we’re going to get it wrong” quote is put straight to President Barack Obama during the White House press conference just now and his boss seemed to want to say: “Vice-President Who?”

    As reporters started giggling, Obama came close to conceding that Biden was indeed a joke. “You know, I don’t remember exactly what Joe was referring to, not surprisingly.”

    The President went on to say that “I think what Joe may have been suggesting, although I wouldn’t ascribe any numerical percentage to any of this, is that given the magnitude of the challenges that we have, any single thing that we do is going to be part of the solution, not all of the solution.”

    Of course, Biden wasn’t saying anything of the sort – Obama knew that and all the rest of us did too.

    Biden’s exact quote, read out by Fox’s Major Garrett at the presser was: “If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, if we stand up there and we really make the tough decisions, there’s still a 30 percent chance we’re going to get it wrong.”

    Clearly, Obama and his aides were unhappy about Biden’s loose lips. On Friday, top Obama adviser David Axelrod said on CNN: “I don’t know exactly about what that math was.”

    We’re probably going to have to get used to Obama explaining “what Joe may have been suggesting”. And Biden must be wondering if he’s going to end up as a Dan Quayle figure.

  55. JanH Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 5:16 pm

    Clinton Says US Could ‘Reconsider’ European Missile Defense Plan
    ************
    Good for Hillary…that scam needs to be ended. Billions of dollars for something that doesn’t work and is unlikely to ever work.

  56. Another reason I’m glad Hillary is SoS and not VP. To be perfectly honest, I think Biden would rather be SoS than VP as well. SoS at least has actual responsibility.

  57. On Friday, a reporter asked Robert Gibbs if the president was already feeling cooped up.

    “He’s a bit of a restless soul,” Gibbs said, laughing. “His idea of a crazy day is to take a long walk.”

    A long walk where? somebody asked.
    ******************************

    OFF A PIER

  58. Michael Medved’s brother in Israel reports that the Likud and right wing parties have at least 64 votes, and that Peres will ask Bibi to form the new government, not Livni.

    Israel has a Parliamentary system, and the winner will have to bring along a coalition to reach 61 votes.

    This will likely be Netanyahu. The right wing block has increased in size to 62-64.

    Michael Medved is reporting that Israeli president Shimon Peres, will likely ask Netanyahu to form the next government.

    Exit polls have been wrong before and army votes aint come in yet, so who knows what is happening.

  59. Analyst Says 1,000 More Banks Could Fail
    posted: 9 HOURS 28 MINUTES AGOcomments: 227
    filed under: Financial Crisis
    With this year’s total at 8 and counting, one analyst says that 1,000 more banks could fail over the next few years as the recession continues to take a heavy toll on financial institutions.

  60. Emjay Says:

    February 10th, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    —————————–

    I’ve thought all along that Biden was presented on a platter to obama like a sacrificial lamb. Either that or he is on a suicide mission for the dims.

  61. Manila not part of Clinton’s Asian trip

    By Christian V. Esguerra, Ania Aquino
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 06:01:00 02/11/2009

    MANILA, Philippines—US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will not be able to accommodate President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s impromptu invitation to include Manila in her first-ever Asian trip in her new role this week.

    US Ambassador Kristie Kenney broke the news to Malacañang reporters Tuesday, saying there was no room for the Philippines in the trip that will take Clinton to China, Japan, South Korea, and Indonesia.

    “It looks like this time, she won’t be able to add Manila to the trip,” she said. “We’ll have to add Manila later on.”

    Ms Arroyo had asked Clinton to include Manila in her Asia trip during a hastily arranged meeting at the State Department in Washington last week. She had been hoping to meet US President Barack Obama in her side trip to Washington.

    Kenney said Clinton was the first US secretary of state to pick Asia as her first destination. It’s a move political observers consider an important indication of the Obama administration’s foreign policy, one that would give more focus on China.

    Kenney said it was a trip “we’re extremely excited about.”

    Asked if Malacañang had arranged for a meeting with Obama in Ms Arroyo’s latest trip to attend the National Prayer Breakfast, the diplomat said the embassy had no participation in the affair. The event is organized annually by the US Congress.

    “The part I was involved in was setting up a meeting with Secretary Clinton,” she said.

    Ms Arroyo showed up in the prayer breakfast even if she officially got the invitation only on Jan. 31 or while she was on her way to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum.

    To attend the gathering, she had to make the inconvenient trip from Bahrain to Washington. The Middle East would have been the final leg of her eight-day tour that also took her to Italy, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar.

    Despite the effort, Ms Arroyo was not personally acknowledged in Obama’s speech at the affair. Nor did Obama stay long enough to at least mingle with Ms Arroyo and other officials of other governments.

    “There were a lot of people there, but the logistics are all done by the United States’ Congress, so I don’t have any information or details. I’ve never been to one. I never know how this one was organized or set,” Kenney said.

    newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20090211-188624/Manila-not-part-of-Clintons-Asian-trip

    —————————-

    I think Obama could have at least acknowledged President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s presence at the breakfast.

  62. Clinton hopes North Korea moves will not threaten Asia

    Tue Feb 10, 2009

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Tuesday she was traveling to Asia to reassure allies of the U.S. commitment to them and was hopeful North Korean saber rattling would not destabilize the region.

    North Korea has said recently that it was terminating all agreements with South Korea and that the peninsula was on the brink of war, statements that are not unusual from Pyongyang but that Clinton said were unacceptable to its neighbors.

    Speaking ahead of her February 15-22 trip to Tokyo, Jakarta, Seoul and Beijing, her first trip abroad as secretary of state, Clinton said the United States was committed to the six-party talks under which North Korea in 2005 agreed to abandon all its nuclear programs.

    The talks include the two Koreas, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.

    However, Pyongyang tested a nuclear device in 2006, has been slow to carry out agreements on disabling its plutonium program and has refused to commit to a verification regime, leaving the multilateral process stalled.

    Asked what the United States could do to prevent the harsh rhetoric from leading to conflict between the two Koreas, Clinton told reporters: “I am going to Asia to reassert our commitment to our allies and partners.
    “We are hopeful that some of the behavior that we have seen coming from North Korea in the last few weeks is not a precursor of any action that would up the ante or threaten the stability and peace and security of the neighbors in the region,” she said during a press conference with the Czech foreign minister.

    “North Korea has to understand that all of the countries in East Asia have made it clear that its behavior is viewed as unacceptable and there are opportunities for the government and people of North Korea were they to begin once again to engage in the six-party talks and other bilateral and multilateral forums,” she added. “We are hopeful that we will see that in the weeks and months ahead.

    “I know of the continuing concern on the part of the other members of the six-party talks with respect to North Korea’s attitude in the last weeks,” she said. “I will be talking to our counterparts to determine the most effective way forward.”

    Wendy Sherman, a former State Department official who worked on North Korea under former President Bill Clinton, said Clinton was going in part to gauge how U.S. allies like Japan and South Korea wanted to deal with North Korea.

    “(It is) obviously crucial, given that we are allies of Japan and South Korea, to get their sense of where things are, how far they are willing to go” to press North Korea to get back on the disarmament track, Sherman said.

    uk.reuters.com/article/usPoliticsNews/idUKTRE5197FZ20090210

  63. GonzoTx, make that a long walk on a short pier.

    MoonOnPluto, Obama will have a big headache if Netanyahu gets elected. Netanyahu is not going to be pushed around by Obama and has already warned Obama.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aeKTFmR61kD0

    Even before Benjamin Netanyahu finds out whether he will be Israel’s next prime minister, he is sending a message to President Barack Obama that he won’t be pushed around.

    Netanyahu, the Likud party candidate who narrowly leads Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni ahead of elections tomorrow, last week took reporters to Arab parts of Jerusalem, where he helped establish Jewish footholds when he was previously prime minister. No pressure, he said, would make him cede those neighborhoods “to our enemies.”

    Just as he confounded former President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, Netanyahu probably will resist if Obama pushes too hard to extract Israeli concessions for peace in the Middle East.

    “He’s extremely effective politically, unbelievably smart and relentlessly suspicious when it comes to the Arabs and the Americans,” says former U.S. negotiator Aaron David Miller, author of “The Much Too Promised Land: America’s Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace.”

  64. A happy note, tomorrow is Sarah Palin’s birthday; teamsarah.org let commentors post birthday wishes.

    I love that freecanada has a countdown to the Huckster’s reign of terror, down to the second!!! lol

  65. wbboei

    We talked earlier about what AFP News/Broadcasting meant:

    Here is the answer – Agence France-Presse (AFP) is the oldest news agency in the world, and one of the three largest with Associated Press and Reuters.

  66. So in one corner you have Netanyahu and his colorful if somewhat extreme history in politics laying down the gauntlet to the false messiah. In the other corner you have the false messiah, with his connections to terrorists and interviews with Arab news waiting to stomp out anyone who offends him.

    Maybe bambi can just come back with his favorite whine: I won!

  67. Obama plan holds off on foreclosure rescue details
    By ALAN ZIBEL – 2 hours ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — To those on the front lines of the housing crisis, the Obama administration’s pledge to spend $50 billion to combat foreclosures was a welcome change in the government’s approach. But the actual plan won’t be unveiled for at least a week and might not be enough to prevent the housing market’s troubles from mushrooming further.

    Housing counselors say the government’s response to a huge surge in defaults and foreclosures over the past two years has been a failure. They blame former President George W. Bush’s administration for sticking with voluntary programs led by the mortgage industry and not committing public dollars to foreclosure prevention.

    They are hoping President Barack Obama will have more success, especially as foreclosures continue to grow. A Credit Suisse report published late last year forecast up to 10 million foreclosures by 2012, depending on the severity of the recession.

    “The question is: Can we work to design a system where the banks recognize it’s in their interest to avoid foreclosure?” Obama said Tuesday in Fort Myers, Fla., which has been devastated by foreclosures and sinking home prices.

    Obama said he would announce his housing strategy in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, home prices are not expected to hit bottom until year-end at the earliest. A report published this month by Moody’s Economy.com projected that home prices will plummet by at least 50 percent in more than 30 metro areas in California, Florida and Nevada by the time the housing bust ends. More than 60 percent of all metro areas nationally are expected to see prices fall by 10 percent or more, the study found.

    While Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s revised plan to stabilize the financial system offered few details about housing on Tuesday, consumer advocates said they were still confident that the forthcoming proposal would offer far-reaching help to borrowers.

    “It’s a tough problem,” said Michael Calhoun, president of the Durham N.C.-based Center for Responsible Lending. “They want to make sure to get it right.”

    Less patient was Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. He issued a statement criticizing the administration for taking too long to put together a housing plan. Frank also said he fears that $50 billion in funding “understates the amount that we will need” and called on lenders to halt foreclosures as the government develops its plans.

    The Obama administration is expected to back a push in Congress — opposed by the mortgage industry — to let bankruptcy judges alter the terms of primary home loans. Earlier this week, Obama said it “makes no sense” that judges are not allowed to do so. The mortgage industry argues that this prohibition allows lenders to charge lower rates.

    With limited resources, government aid should be targeted to the parts of the country that have been most severely crushed by the foreclosure crisis, said Deutsche Bank analyst Karen Weaver. Of the $50 billion, she said, “It’s not a huge amount of money.”

    The administration has several ways to spend money on foreclosure prevention. It could follow a proposal by Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., who has outlined a way for the government to give banks an incentive to reduce borrowers’ payments. Under that idea, the government would absorb some of the losses should the modified loans fail again.

    Or, the government could direct federal dollars to loan modifications. If a lender, for example, agreed to reduce a borrower’s rate, the government could subsidize another interest rate drop.
    But complicating matters, trillions of dollars in mortgages were divided up and sold as securities to investors around the world.

    “As long as we wait for these investors to do the right thing or somehow play nice, then we’re just going to see more and more homeowners enter foreclosure,” said Michael van Zalingen, director of homeownership services at Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago.

    Still, consumer groups that felt shut out under the Bush administration say the Obama administration has welcomed their ideas. John Taylor, chief executive of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, a consumer group in Washington, was scheduled to meet Wednesday with Geithner and Obama’s housing secretary, Shaun Donovan. He has been pressing the administration to buy distressed loans in bulk so they can be refinanced at lower rates.

    “The flavor has changed, and that’s encouraging, but we need the meat on the bone here,” Taylor said.

    Meanwhile, with the recession worsening and layoffs mounting, time is running out for many borrowers. Elliott Clark, 58, and his wife, Aquilla, 45, are almost four months behind on the mortgage on their three-bedroom house in Kansas City. Clark lost his job at a warehouse last fall. Because of a dispute with a prior employer, he says he was ruled ineligible for unemployment. His family has had to rely on his military disability payments and his wife’s paycheck from a cleaning service. It’s not enough to cover their $600-a-month mortgage. They owe more than $3,400.

    A local nonprofit has helped find them a house to rent if they lose their house. But Clark says the family doesn’t have money to move and is in danger of having his car repossessed. “No matter what, I’m going to be stuck between a rock and a hard place, unless they say the banks can’t foreclose on anyone for a while until things get better,” he said. “I keep praying.”

    google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hu-c7VGFN_UXlzd7xee6Vo7L8DgAD96904F00

  68. “Hi Donna, it’s Kathleen”

    In today’s Sebelius watch, Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is apparently reaching out to former secretaries of Health and Human Services to get a clear idea of what the job is really like.

    The word inside health care circles in Washington is that she’s called Donna Shalala, who held the post during the Clinton administration, and possibly other former HHS chiefs as well.

    Sebelius is one of a few names said to be top possibilities for the post, originally intended for former Sen. Tom Daschle until he ran into tax problems.

    primebuzz.kcstar.com/?q=node/17077

  69. Blagojevich on FOX’s Hannity show Wednesday

    By Lynn Sweeton February 10, 2009

    Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has done interviews with Diane Sawyer, Meredith Vieira, Barbara Walters and even David Letterman. But one of the more lively exchanges may come Wednesday evening when Gov. Blagojevich takes questions from conservative talk show host Sean Hannity, Blagojevich’s publicist Glenn Selig of the publicity/PR
    firm The Publicity Agency said today.

    Gov. Blagojevich is in the midst of an aggressive media campaign to assert his innocence in light of allegations that he tried to sell the senate seat vacated by Barack Obama after he was elected president.

    Blagojevich was removed from office less than two weeks ago by the Illinois Senate after being denied the chance to call witnesses and present evidence that he did nothing wrong.

    “Gov. Blagojevich calls himself the ‘anti Nixon’ because he wants Americans to hear all the supposed incriminating audio tapes played so they can hear what was said in full context,” says Selig. “The governor is not afraid to take tough questions from even his harshest critics and an interview with Hannity proves it.”

    Hannity has publicly criticized the former governor for what he said in conversations that were recorded by FBI wiretaps but he has also been critical of the government and what appears to be a smear campaign based on lack of evidence.

    The live interview is scheduled for Wednesday at 9 p.m. on FOX Newschannel. The governor will be in New York.

    blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2009/02/blagojevich_on_foxs_hannity_sh.html

  70. Off topic, but I don’t know what to make of this. Earlier today I received a phone call on behalf of Minnesota Congressional Democrats. They wanted donations ($100..I gave $0). Anyway the woman on the phone, who sounded middle aged, went on and on about Obama, how WONDERFUL he was and it’s so great that there is a majority in congress and how he doing such a GREAT job etc…she was positively giddy. She sounded like some lovestruck teen..

    Now my question is, why are statewide congressional Dems looking for donations right now and do they really think there is still that 75% positive rating of Obama from inauguration day? Are they thinking they need to get donations now because they are going to dry up in the future?

    I haven’t had a political phone call in some time and it just struck me odd….

  71. February 10th, 2009 at 5:16 pm
    Clinton Says US Could ‘Reconsider’ European Missile Defense Plan
    By David Gollust
    State Department
    10 February 2009

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Obama administration might reconsider plans for a missile defense system in Europe, if Iran stopped what U.S. officials believe is a drive for nuclear weapons. Clinton met with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose government – along with Poland – has agreed to host the system.

    The Obama administration has stopped short of fully embracing the missile defense program that was avidly pursued by the Bush White House, with the Obama team citing concerns about its technical viability.
    *****************************************************************************

    maybe i’m misreading this ( hope so ) but since when do we publish for the world to see the status of defense systems we are working on, the technical levels we’ve achieved of certain systems and whether or not they may be viable? what about deterrence? this seems completely irresponsible, naive and downright dangerous.

  72. Got this video from hillbuzz.. scary. Do we know who (Soros?) did what in mid September last year (to get this buffoon elected?)
    ————————
    PM: let me see if I can find out what Soros was doing at that time.

    I seem to recall he was heavily invested in the dollar, mortgages and one other class of assets which took a big hit.

    I believe he was safely out of them by the time of this collapse. Whether he was lucky, clairvoyant or complicit in that collapse I cannot say.

    Does he have the connections to pull something like this off? Most likely. Would he have moral qualms about doing it? The Steve Kroft interview of February 20, 1998 indicates no. Has he done similar things in the past? There are people who claim that he has in eastern Europe, e.g. Dr Verna Butler, certain Russians etc. Are they credible? I dont know. The evidence was soft.

    The ultimate question is did he and his cohorts trigger THIS collapse? I don’t know. What I do know is given the magnitude of this disaster it would be wrong for me to accuse him absent clear proof clear to that effect.

    So as I say, I will see what if anything I can find out. And if it seems credible I will post it here. If I find out nothing, or it sounds like bullshit I will not.

  73. Were you all aware of this

    Its like putting the Wolf in charge of the Henhouse.

    aphiemi.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/obama-wants-to-move-us-census-oversight-to-rahm-emanuel/
    Obama Wants To Move U.S. Census Oversight To Rahm Emanuel
    February 9, 2009 by Aphiemi
    FOX News is reporting that Obama has decided he wants to move oversight of the U.S. Census from the Commerce Department directly into the hands of Rahm Emanuel.
    With Democrats (or even Republicans, if this were a Republican move) in control of the total census numbers, they can effectively redraw congressional districts, affect the Electorial College makeup, and even steer congressional funding to specific districts.
    Is this the “change” you Obama voters wanted? Total Liberal Control?
    GOP Sounds Alarm Over Obama Decision to Move Census to White House
    A number of Republicans are joining the fight to put the census issue into the political spotlight “before it’s too late.”

  74. wbboei, 550 billion draw down in a matter of hours on that September day as the congress Rep in that video talks about. Why is not anybody talking about what happened? If it was just the vagaries of the market, a credible explanation would have surfaced by now, right? Or like the Rep says, why isn’t anybody even talking about what happened that day in a matter of hours?

  75. February 10th, 2009 at 5:16 pm
    Clinton Says US Could ‘Reconsider’ European Missile Defense Plan
    By David Gollust
    State Department
    10 February 2009

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the Obama administration might reconsider plans for a missile defense system in Europe, if Iran stopped what U.S. officials believe is a drive for nuclear weapons. Clinton met with Czech Republic Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, whose government – along with Poland – has agreed to host the system.

    The Obama administration has stopped short of fully embracing the missile defense program that was avidly pursued by the Bush White House, with the Obama team citing concerns about its technical viability.
    *****************************************************************************

    maybe i’m misreading this ( hope so ) but since when do we publish for the world to see the status of defense systems we are working on, the technical levels we’ve achieved of certain systems and whether or not they may be viable? what about deterrence? this seems completely irresponsible, naive and downright dangerous.

    ——————————
    Alcina-

    You are right.

    When Hillary offers to abort the eastern Europe missle defense system if Iran suspends its nuclear program, she is inviting Russia who does not want that missle defense system built on its perimeter and is helping Iran on its nuclear program to use its influence to get Iran to suspend the program.

    In other words, she is using the missle defense program as a bargaining chip to prevent the possibility of world war III in the Middle East.

    But when Bambi and or/his minions say the missle defense program is not viable they destroy the value of that bargaining chip.

    Earth to Bambi: in any negotiation, it is generally wise not to tell your opponent that your bargaining chip has no value. If you do that you will get nothing from him in exchange for it. Put differently, the value of a bargaining chip is based on how important it is to your opponent.

  76. You are right.

    When Hillary offers to abort the eastern Europe missle defense system if Iran suspends its nuclear program, she is inviting Russia who does not want that missle defense system built on its perimeter and is helping Iran on its nuclear program to use its influence to get Iran to suspend the program.

    In other words, she is using the missle defense program as a bargaining chip to prevent the possibility of world war III in the Middle East.
    *************
    It’s a great bargaining chip..since it doesn’t work. IRRC they scored a few hits at the end of the testing program after many attempts and declared the system ready to deploy. The tests involved trying to hit a single warhead when the time and missile course was known to the interceptor. Unless things have changed the program was another Military/Industrial complex scam. Good to know that a Raytheon lobbyist is going to the DOD.

  77. wbboei, 550 billion draw down in a matter of hours on that September day as the congress Rep in that video talks about. Why is not anybody talking about what happened? If it was just the vagaries of the market, a credible explanation would have surfaced by now, right? Or like the Rep says, why isn’t anybody even talking about what happened that day in a matter of hours?
    ————————–
    PM: that is an excellent question. We should get it off the blogs and into the newsroom. Are you willing to send it to Greta at FOX. Lou Dobbs is another possibility, but the news organization he works for is CNN and they are corrupt. Brian Ross at ABC is a fine investigative reporter, but there is alot of inertia in that shop. Jim Leher is another possibility. If they could just get that Congressman from Pennsylvania to get on prime time and repeat what he said on C-Span that would get the ball rolling.

  78. wbboei, 550 billion draw down in a matter of hours on that September day as the congress Rep in that video talks about. Why is not anybody talking about what happened? If it was just the vagaries of the market, a credible explanation would have surfaced by now, right? Or like the Rep says, why isn’t anybody even talking about what happened that day in a matter of hours?
    ——————————
    My point was and is it is a great bargaining chip if and only if the other side thinks it is a great bargaining chip. It does not matter if it is working well now the point is with further research and development it will work therefore it is a credible threat if not now then in the future. That is the way a poker player like Hillary plays the hand. A tin horn like Obama fails to realize that and gets cleaned out–which is no problem but for the fact that we get cleaned out as well.

  79. PM: if you decide to contact Greta, I would embed that video in the email.

    If we can get the ball rolling people might decide to start writing to their congressional “leaders” demanding a full investigation.

    Otherwise thiis congressman is just a voice in the wilderness, event though he is chairman of the subcommitte on financial capital. If the system is that vulnerable we need to address it.

  80. wbboei Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Got this video from hillbuzz.. scary. Do we know who (Soros?) did what in mid September last year (to get this buffoon elected?)
    ————————

    I don’t think Soros had anything to do with triggering the collapse. If anything, right now he’s working behind the scenes with Geithner to deal creatively with how to dispose of the toxic debt and stabilize the mortgage crisis by getting regulation in place to monitor the debt they would be removing from the Bank’s balance sheets and charging them a fee for doing it.

  81. Emjay Says:

    February 10th, 2009 at 11:13 pm
    OkieAtty

    If you are reading, talk to us. Are you OK? I just saw some of the pictures from Edmund and Ok City.

    ——————————————————————-

    What happened?

  82. AOL is running a feature story on Wilmington,OH, (Southeast of Dayton, Ohio). They are in economic failure as a German shipping firm DHL and an affiliate ABX is cutting 7,000 from this small community. The German unions would not let this happen in Germany. In fact the US has been told we cannot do anything to affect the international markets

    Too bad someone does not stick up for a small Amerian town.

  83. I don’t think Soros had anything to do with triggering the collapse. If anything, right now he’s working behind the scenes with Geithner to deal creatively with how to dispose of the toxic debt and stabilize the mortgage crisis by getting regulation in place to monitor the debt they would be removing from the Bank’s balance sheets and charging them a fee for doing it.
    ——————————————-
    Mrs. Smith, you may be right. But on the basis of the little I know about him, I cannot reach the conclusion that you do–that he did not have anything to do with it. At best, I am neutral. At worst I am suspicious based on motive and opportunity, but I have no supporting evidence that I consider credible. Usually when that happens I am missing something obvious. So tell me if you will why you believe he did not have anything to do with the collapse. I am not trying to be argumentative on this. I am just curious.

  84. wbboei, there were rumblings that there may be foul play when it happened in mid-Sept. But it sounded too much like conspiracy. With the deadwood media, nothing gets done and especially if it has the potential of implicating anyone close to 0bama for 0bama. Hillbuzz has that video and a post asking the question who did it. This needs an investigative media team but don’t see anybody jumping on it — if they didn’t do it then, they won’t do it now. But what the PA Rep says in that video is quite significant. If it had the potential of collapsing our entire economy, then should we not look at what happened on that day? It may have some benign explanation if not something sinister.

  85. http://www.reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE5196IX20090210

    More than 49 million Americans watched President Barack Obama’s first White House news conference on broadcast and cable television, according to ratings figures released on Tuesday.

    The one-hour, prime-time news conference on Monday was shown live on all four major U.S. broadcasters and on cable news channels, CNN, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and the Spanish-speaking Univision.

    Nielsen Media Research said the news conference, which focused on the economy and efforts to pass the administration’s $800 billion-plus stimulus package, drew a TV audience of 49.5 million people.

    That figure was much lower than the 64.3 million Americans who watched President Bill Clinton’s 1993 post-inauguration news conference on the economy, Nielsen said.

    The audience size also was lower than some of the election debates, including the record 70 million viewers who tuned their TV sets to the vice-presidential contest between Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Sarah Palin.

  86. CNBC’s David Faber is a non-believer in Geitner, Summers and Obama- says why now, why so skele tal, why so vague?

    His question is, what was the pressure to do something TODAY, when they were so obviously, profoundly, unprepared. He intimated there is something we do not yet know.

    This apperaence was on Charlie Rose, first 20 minutes.

    CNBC has a special starting Thursday the 12th (sort of a Frontline thing) called House of Cards. Says this mess started in 01-02 and p/u speed 03-06.

  87. NMF: AOL is running a feature story on Wilmington,OH, (Southeast of Dayton, Ohio). They are in economic failure as a German shipping firm DHL and an affiliate ABX is cutting 7,000 from this small community. The German unions would not let this happen in Germany. In fact the US has been told we cannot do anything to affect the international markets

    Too bad someone does not stick up for a small Amerian town.
    ———————————————————–
    NMF: this is a prototypical example of what happens when a successful company is bought out, and the old management team who made it successful is replaced by a cadre of over educated idiots who do not undertand the business and run it into the ground. Ten thousand jobs were lost in the process. It is a sad story full of heartbreak and despair. The town of Wilminton is only the tip of the iceberg.

    On July 15, 2003 Deutsche Post purchased an American company named Airborne Express. Their objective was develop a foothold in the domestic market so they could compete globally with the likes of Fedex and UPS. The transaction cost 1.1 billion dollars. Prior to purchase they spun off Airbornes airline subsidiary because a foreign company could not own more than 25% of a US airline. The name of that airline was ABX, and they were located at the old SAC base in Wilmington Ohio. DHL entered into a long term contract with that airline.

    If you live long enough you realize that there is such a thing as deja vu. The Deutche Post approach to the air express business was similar in many respect to the Obama program. Big bombastic pronouncements, few specifics, no grasp of the business, arrogance and politics uber alles.

    The key parameters in that industry are service deadlines,draconian cost control, and customer intimacy. Airborne understood them to a fare thee well and DHL did not. That in a nutshell is why they failed.

    Over the course of six years DHL managed to lose a staggering 10 billiion
    dollars. Consequently, they announced a shutdown of their domestic operations. At the same time, they announced that they contract their lift to UPS. As a result ABX had little or no business left. It shut down the sort center and grounded its fleet. That was the main industry in that small town and without it the town will suffer.

    The denoument came a couple weeks ago. The chairman of Deutsche Post who told the New York Times that he wanted to buy Airborne so he could become the Bismark of the global postal system was arrested at his home–a castle in Germany and charged with tax evasion. Last month he was forced to pay a fine of 1.1 million dollars and received two years probation. I believe he was an insider in the Merkyl government. So there you have it. Global capitalism in all its glory.

  88. birdgal

    Bad tornados, came out of nowhere….more expected tomorrow, in OK and TX.

    Lordy, it is SO early in the season.

  89. That msnbc, and to a lesser extent cnn come as close to the nazi propaganda machine at the end of world war II than any news outlet I have ever seem. The Allied forces have crossed the rhine river and are moving toward Berlin from the west and the Soviet troops are moving to the outskirts of that city and still they insist everything is grand even to the claiming that victory is at hand and writing a bio on the little groper who drafts bambis dismal prose. They are in lala land.

  90. Jon Stewart made fun of the presser but he was apologetic, uncomfortable, cautious, tentative, and afraid..
    —————————–
    It is hard for a butboy to break out of the mode. If the little man is so afraid of his shadow that he cannot deliver his lines without trepidation who needs him.

  91. Clearly, Obama and his aides were unhappy about Biden’s loose lips. On Friday, top Obama adviser David Axelrod said on CNN: “I don’t know exactly about what that math was.”

    We’re probably going to have to get used to Obama explaining “what Joe may have been suggesting”. And Biden must be wondering if he’s going to end up as a Dan Quayle figure.

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

    Ah. WORMAWBRM.

  92. wbboei Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 10:10 pm
    But when Bambi and or/his minions say the missle defense program is not viable they destroy the value of that bargaining chip.
    —————————————————————————————————

    my worst fears of BHO’s unsuitability to be CIC have come true. perhaps bambi could invite Ahmadinejad to the US to observe and tour our DoD think-tanks and R&D facilities? after all, we want to keep him updated to the viability of defense systems we are working on.

    this is nothing short of treason.

  93. wbboei Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 9:35 pm

    Got this video from hillbuzz.. scary. Do we know who (Soros?) did what in mid September last year (to get this buffoon elected?)
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    wbboei, the Kanjorski video never mentions Soros’s name or points an accusing finger at anyone. It seems the unsubstantiated ramblings of one or two posters on Politico’s comment section mentioning Soros’s desire for seeing Obama elected as motive for causing the financial crisis was enough for hillbuzz to use it as a headline. In fact, the follow up videos of Soros at hillbuzz were very informative. Obama seems to be leaning towards Soros’ think tank resources rather than following Bush advisers in trying to put a handle on this financial boondoggle.

  94. Emjay,

    Today is on the scene in OKL this morning. They are going to Edmund at first light.

    Yes, I hope Okie is alright as well. Maybe she’ll check in and let us know.

    The tornado’s destruction is unbelievable. Houses and buildings turned into a heap of rubble in a matter of minutes.

    Base to Okie… come-in!

  95. FYI: Breitbart just added the video of congressman talking about the run on the banks on sept 15 2008 to their video news line up!!!!

    Now….. will anyone have the guts to talk about it in newspapers and on television??? Will they do more than a blip??? will they ask REAL TUFF questions???

  96. Clinton calls for “better understanding” between U.S., Iran

    2009-02-11
    Special Report: Iran Nuclear Crisis

    Clinton on Tuesday called for “a better understanding” between the United States and Iran.

    Clinton said that Tehran’s insistence on the matter is “a very unfortunate course for them to pursue.”
    Obama renewed on Monday his call for direct talks between Washington and Tehran.

    WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) — U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday called for effort to “develop a better understanding” between the United States and Iran.

    Criticizing Iran’s stand not to give up nuclear program, Clinton said that Tehran’s insistence on the matter is “a very unfortunate course for them to pursue,” noting “We still persist in our view that Iran should not obtain a nuclear weapon.”

    “And we hope that there will be opportunities in the future for us to develop a better understanding of one another and to work out a way of talking that would produce positive results for the people of Iran,” Clinton told reporters at the State Department.

    Clinton made the remarks after U.S. President Barack Obama renewed on Monday his call for direct talks between Washington and Tehran over tense bilateral relations.

    In response to Obama’s call, Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a rally on Tuesday that “The Iranian nation is ready to hold talks but talks in a fair atmosphere with mutual respect.”

    “The new U.S. administration has announced that they want to produce changes. Iranian nation welcomes real changes, and it is quite clear that real changes must be fundamental and not tactical,” he said.

    Washington has long accused Iran of trying to develop nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian nuclear program. Iran rejects the U.S. charges, saying its nuclear program is a peaceful drive to generate electricity so it can export more oil and gas.

    news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-02/11/content_10797494.htm

  97. Clinton asked to redraw Taiwan ties

    NEW LEAF: A pro-Taiwan lobby group also asked the US secretary of state to deflect any attempt by Beijing to tie cross-strait stability to a possible deal on climate change

    By William Lowther
    STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON
    Wednesday, Feb 11, 2009

    The Washington-based Formosan Association for Public Affairs (FAPA) is urging US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to redefine the US’ relationship with Taiwan.

    In advance of Clinton’s much-heralded trip to China, FAPA is expressing concern that she will come under pressure to abandon Taiwan in exchange for Beijing’s cooperation on climate change issues.

    “The time is now for the US to turn over a new leaf in its relationship with Taiwan,” FAPA president Bob Yang (楊英育) said.

    Yang added: “With President [Barack] Obama’s human and civil rights background, redefining the US relationship is an idea whose time has come. The US needs to base its Taiwan policy on the values of democracy and human rights it shares with the island nation, and not on the dictates and threats of an undemocratic and authoritarian China.”

    FAPA has written to Clinton stressing the “erosion of democracy and justice in Taiwan” and charging that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) has failed to protect the nation’s interests and sovereignty during negotiations with China.

    The letter says: “We understand that in the near future you will travel to Japan, Indonesia, South Korea and China. In exchange for its cooperation on climate change issues, the [Chinese] government will undoubtedly attempt to whittle away the support from the United States for Taiwan as mandated in the Taiwan Relations Act, which was passed three decades ago.”

    It adds: “We urge you to stand up for the basic principles of human rights and democracy, and impress upon the government in Beijing that it should accept Taiwan as a friendly neighbor. Peace and stability in East Asia can only be maintained if the people of Taiwan have a free and open choice on their future, as stipulated in the principle of self-determination enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.”

    The first suggestion that Beijing might try to make a deal on climate change at Taiwan’s expense appeared in the Washington Post last week.

    “Some experts 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,” the newspaper said.

    While a senior source within the Ma administration has dismissed this possibility, the fact that FAPA is raising the issue again this week reflects growing concern that it could eventuate.

    Making her first foreign trip as secretary of state, Clinton will be in Tokyo from Feb. 16 to Feb. 18; in Jakarta from Feb. 18 to Feb. 19; in Seoul from Feb. 19 to Feb. 20; and in Beijing from Feb. 20 to Feb. 22.

    FAPA is a Taiwanese-American non-profit grassroots organization established in Los Angeles in 1982. It now has 55 chapters across the US.

    taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2009/02/11/2003435782

  98. And now for an opinion from the Asian Times:

    Feb 12, 2009
    Muscled-up Pelosi casts shadow on world
    By John Browne

    In a sign that may reveal much about the current dealmaking environment in Washington, House speaker Nancy Pelosi has outmaneuvered the administration of President Barack Obama in the design of the US$827 billion so-called Economic Stimulus Package.

    With the collusion of three moderate Republican senators – Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe and Arlen Specter – Pelosi may succeed in steering Obama into supporting a package with which he may secretly disagree. The three backed Democrats on a Senate vote on whether to shut down a Republican filibuster and again to pass the bill.

    Despite the presidential rhetoric of change, the Pelosi plan is Washington at its most habitual. Her version is a massive, pork-laden monster. Tilted heavily towards consumption, only 10% of the bill is allocated toward the infrastructure spending that the president talked about so frequently during the campaign. Obama initially favored a middle way. It was to be based on massive public spending, but specifically on infrastructure.

    Far from restoring the economy to health, the pork-barrel Pelosi plan will likely force the US economy into the catastrophe of acute stagflation and decline, with grave long-term repercussions at home and abroad.

    It is clear that we are now headed into an abnormally severe recession, and we may be face-to-face with a second great depression. Tell-tale symptoms of depression include competitive currency devaluations and protective trade measures. Of even greater concern is the historic fact that trade wars too often lead to hot wars. The times of peace and unprecedented prosperity that we have enjoyed for decades are now under threat.

    With the stakes this high, Pelosi should have restrained her urge to flex political muscle.

    Most economists agree that America has enjoyed unprecedented prosperity, based primarily on excessive US dollar liquidity and unmanageable levels of debt. Thus, any healthy correction would necessarily involve serious deleveraging and a severe recession. After a lot of pain, the economy would rebuild with healthier fundamentals. Infrastructure improvement would aid, but not cause, the eventual recovery.

    Recession is the natural cure for the politically inspired profligacy that America has enjoyed for almost 40 years. Unfortunately, the side effects of this medicine, namely the rapid reallocation of labor resources and deflationary damage to debtors, are still unpalatable to pandering politicians.

    The Washington regime, particularly members of the Democrat persuasion, leans towards a socialist solution of avoiding recession at any cost. After all, the bills are paid by others, such as taxpayers and holders of US dollars. This results in an increasing amount of other people’s money being spent on “public” works that would in other times carry the label “pork barrel”.

    Washington is choosing to pursue the policy of continued and ever-increasing false prosperity, financed eventually by hyper-taxation, hyper-debt and hyper-inflation accompanied by a gradually eroded standard of living. The jobs created by the bill are by and large non-productive and will divert resources from the private sector and rob consumers of their power to make free choices in the marketplace.

    America’s infrastructure is in great need of restoration. By some estimates, for every $1 billion spent on infrastructure, some 35,000 real, wealth-creating jobs are born in the private sphere. For “just” $100 billion, 3.5 million jobs would result. Furthermore, this middle way of Obama’s likely would have commanded much greater bipartisan support than the lonely Republican trio who attached their names to Pelosi’s bill. unfortunately for American and international investors, Pelosi pressured the president into the worst of all plans. It will likely bring on an economic catastrophe, characterized by depression followed by hyper-stagflation and civil unrest. Pelosi’s power play may buy her political status, but the entire world will pay the price.

    atimes.com/atimes/Global_Economy/KB12Dj02.html

  99. Tuesday, February 10, 2009

    McCain to run for fifth Senate term, hits Obama stimulus in fundraising effort

    U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said Tuesday he is definitely running for reelection in 2010 and has begun using criticism of the $838 billion federal economic stimulus plan as a platform to raise money.

    McCain, 72, had given indications of a run for fifth term, but publicly told supporters in a fundraising e-mail Tuesday he is definitely seeking reelection. He also used the opportunity to criticize Democrats over the spending package.

    “The economic challenges currently confronting our nation are immense and unfortunately, the Democrats in Congress propose addressing these challenges through increased spending that wastes billions of taxpayers dollars and saddles our children and grandchildren with a staggering debt. Their proposals will not stimulate economic growth or create jobs,” McCain said in the e-mail.

    McCain lost the 2008 presidential race to Barack Obama and there was speculation during and after the race that he might step down from his long-held Senate seat. McCain could face a challenge from former Arizona governor and current U.S. Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano, a Democrat, in the 2010 race.

    bizjournals.com/phoenix/stories/2009/02/09/daily35.html

  100. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner offers up revised financial bailout plan
    $2 trillion package short on specifics

    By Jim Puzzanghera and Maura Reynolds; February 11, 2009

    WASHINGTON — In unveiling President Barack Obama’s long-promised strategy for reviving the nation’s moribund financial system, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Tuesday offered up the functional equivalent of a plan without a plan: a broad overview of guiding principles, minus most of the crucial details on such critical issues as helping homeowners avoid foreclosure or clearing away the toxic securities at the heart of the banking crisis.

    Despite the scope of a plan that commits up to $2 trillion to mending the economy, the dearth of expected details immediately sent the stock market into a tailspin and underscored the double bind that has caught the Obama administration:

    Fixing the financial system has turned out to be a bigger, harder, and much more expensive challenge than expected, potentially requiring billions more in additional aid. But the political climate has turned so bad that Congress—enraged over what it sees as irresponsible excesses by Wall Street executives—is unlikely to approve more funding, at least for now. As a result, the administration is moving toward approaches that do not require new congressional action and reduce the risk for taxpayers, but are also more complicated and take longer to design and implement.

    Geithner sketched the outlines of a strategy that would use an unspecified amount of already-approved government funds in an attempt to persuade private investors to join in a new public-private partnership. Together, they would buy $500 billion to $1 trillion in toxic mortgage-backed securities and other assets from banks and other financial institutions. Relieved of these liabilities, the private sector would resume normal operations, supplying the everyday credit that is the lifeblood of the overall economy, officials hope.

    The administration also envisions having the Federal Reserve put up $100 billion to expand an existing Fed plan aimed at spurring up to $1 trillion in consumer and business lending.

    Those expenditures would come on top of using the second half of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, to continue injecting money into struggling banks—but this time with tighter oversight and more accountability, Geithner said.

    Underwhelmed by what Geithner did and did not say, the Dow began falling even as he spoke and closed down 382 points or 4.62 percent.

    In unveiling the administration’s new “Financial Stability Plan,” Geithner sought to soothe anger in the public and Congress about the way the first half of the existing $700 billion of bailout money has been spent. He acknowledged problems in the Bush administration strategy, which Geithner helped craft while serving as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and promised the Obama team would do things differently. “What we did today was lay out the broad architecture of the programs we think are necessary to help solve this thing,” Geithner said.

    But Geithner gave few details about how the plan would work. The administration was still “exploring a range of different options” and would seek the input of the public and market participants, he said. Obama’s economic team was also still working on a long-awaited plan to try to reduce home foreclosures. The $50 billion plan will be unveiled in the next few weeks, he said.

    With lawmakers angry about the lack of transparency in how banks used the first portion of the fund, the Obama administration is trying to tighten oversight and accountability as it prepares to start distributing the second $350 billion. Geithner insisted that the Obama administration would not ask for more funds beyond the existing $700 billion until it’s clear that they have a plan that’s working. “I’m not standing here before you today to ask you to authorize more resources,” Geithner told the Senate Banking Committee. “I want to be candid, though, that I think this is going to be an expensive problem for the nation and it’s going to require substantial resources.”

    Geithner described two new government programs in the works. The first would require a rigorous government review of bank balance sheets that administration officials described as a “stress test”—accompanied by a capital assistance program that would provide short-term capital for big banks while they tried to raise more private capital. In return, the government would receive dividend-paying “convertible preferred securities” that would be held by a stand-alone entity called the Financial Stability Trust.

    The second new government program would set up a hybrid “aggregator bank”—sometimes called a “bad bank”—to help clean bank balance sheets of toxic assets.

    In essence, Geithner’s plan tries to find a middle ground between two competing ideas: nationalizing the banks or providing the banks insurance against catastrophic losses on the assets. The middle way, Geithner and other officials said, would have the market, not the government, setting prices for toxic assets. And with managers seeking to maximize their investment, taxpayers would have to put less money in the fund to begin with, and share proportionally in any gains.

    Treasury officials said the fund would be set up initially to buy up $500 billion in bad assets and could be expanded to as much as $1 trillion, depending on how well the process works. The officials did not specify how much capital would be needed to start the fund, or what proportions would be public or private.

    chicagotribune.com/business/chi-wed-bank-bailout-feb11,0,3626528.story

  101. Mrs. Smith: I cannot say whether Soros engineered this run on the banks or not. I cannot dismiss the possibility given his history and the great lengths he went to to rig the game for Obama. But neither can I say that he did absent clear, cogent and convincing evidence.

    But let us assume for the sake of argument that in additon to everything else he did for Obama which includes helping him raise over 700 million dollars in campaign contributions and turning his internet locusts loose on anything which stood in the way, he decided to give a little nudge to send shock waves into the financially system at a strategically timed moment to paralyze the critical thinking capabilities of the electorate to ensure Obama beat McCain.

    Just assume that right now for the sake of argument. In that case, I cannot imagine that he ever intended that nudge to drive the world financial system to the brink of total collapse, because that would not be beneficial to his interests. But that is hardly what one might call exculpatory.

    The fact that Mr Obama would turn to him now for ideas proves nothing given the role he played in putting Obama in office, and the specific expertise he has in the area. I know someone who will have an informed opinion on this and will send that individual an email.

  102. wbboei

    Thanks for the indepth information on Wilmington, Ohio. The story I read was no where near that informative. However, the people stories were heartbreaking.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the people in OK. I has seen a very small tornado up close, and it is something I fear more than any other natural disaster.

  103. Despite the presidential rhetoric of change, the Pelosi plan is Washington at its most habitual. Her version is a massive, pork-laden monster. Tilted heavily towards consumption, only 10% of the bill is allocated toward the infrastructure spending that the president talked about so frequently during the campaign. Obama initially favored a middle way. It was to be based on massive public spending, but specifically on infrastructure.

    Far from restoring the economy to health, the pork-barrel Pelosi plan will likely force the US economy into the catastrophe of acute stagflation and decline, with grave long-term repercussions at home and abroad.
    ——————————-
    Jan-what a brilliant analysis. As a number of us suggested bambi got rolled. He outsource the stimulus bill to congress on the naive belief that a cat would bark. Then, when he tried to exert some control over the process congressional bullies pushed back, he blinked. Yes, that is what we have been saying and it is all in this article.

    You just know when you have found the perfect storm when the skies grow dark, the wind begins to blow, the waves begin to rise, the boat begins to rock and you wander into the wheel house and there you find a would be captain of the female persuasion at the wheel with a face so tight that it threatens to snap wearing a maniacal grin and the smell of alcohol fills the wheelhouse. Just then the first mate walks in and demands to know why they have not put a basketball hoop on the bulkhead so he can practice this passion in his spare time. I am kidding of course.

  104. wbboei Says:

    February 11th, 2009 at 8:36 am

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

    Huh? My response remains, the question is invalid and a complete waste of time.

  105. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is expected Tuesday to start laying out the Obama administration’s long-awaited plans to address the foreclosure crisis.

    But how much detail he’ll reveal remains to be seen.

    This much we know — the Obama administration wants to set aside between $50 billion and $100 billion to address the foreclosure crisis. Loan modifications are expected to be a central part of the plan.

    The administration’s plan to attack the foreclosure crisis should come as part of its proposal for using the $350 billion remaining in the financial industry bailout package. Obama’s officials have said for weeks that they will devote more resources to helping homeowners than their predecessor.

    Washington insiders, however, say that Geithner may merely announce an overall framework for foreclosures, but won’t get into specifics. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan told CNN Saturday that the plan’s details would be unveiled “in coming weeks.”

    Finding a foreclosure fix is daunting, experts said. It eluded the Bush administration, which preferred to try to entice mortgage services to voluntarily modify loans without committing government funds.

    Obama faces similar hurdles.

  106. OOPsy, forgot to post the link to the above article:

    http//finance.yahoo.com/news/Treasury-to-lay-out-cnnm-14307986.html

  107. The question may have morphed into something else now. But when I started the discussion it was to ask who or what was responsible for a surprise run on the banks in the order of 550 billion within a matter of few hours in mid-September and is NOT an invalid question (especially, if in the words of the PA rep it had the potential of causing a total economic collapse). Seems to me that nobody wants to pursue this line of investigation for fear of what they may find. The fact that it came at an opportune time for 0bama when he was having a lot of trouble on the campaign adds to the intrigue.

  108. JanH Says:

    February 10th, 2009 at 7:00 pm
    Clinton hopes North Korea moves will not threaten Asia

    Speaking ahead of her February 15-22 trip to Tokyo, Jakarta, Seoul and Beijing, her first trip abroad as secretary of state, Clinton said the United States was committed to the six-party talks under which North Korea in 2005 agreed to abandon all its nuclear programs.
    &&&&&&

    So Hillary gets to travel around the world, and have her own sphere of influence.

    Meanwhile, Obama’s job is going to be on the next installment of “Dirtiest Jobs”.

    I’m starting to wonder about past Hillary actions that had me stumped:
    * why she didn’t fight tooth and nail for the nomination
    * what they talked about in their one hour tet-a-tet in June after Obama “won”
    * why she energetically campaigned for him (as compared to the one-and-done endorsements from the likes of Edwards and Richardson, etc.)

  109. Barney vs the bankers live now on cspan 3.

    All written statements have now been put in the record w/o being read, so the rest will be mano a mano.

    The previewers who have read the written statements say it is going to be very high political theater.

    Goldman Sacs on now, to be followed by Merrill- no video stream yet, just the audio.

  110. DOWD LICKING HOPIUM ADDICTION? OR DOES SHE JUST MISS BEING SUPER SNARKY??

    Only three weeks out, and MoDo continues to be disappointed with Obama & Cabal. To quote ABM90, “Maureen, to think, you could have had Hillary”.

    So NOW she “gets religion”. Jeesh.
    Hey, Mo, you could have read what you just wrote a few months ago, before the election.

    Enjoy:

    nytimes.com/2009/02/11/opinion/11dowd.html?_r=1

    Trillion Dollar Baby
    ————————

    By MAUREEN DOWD
    Published: February 10, 2009

    So much for the savior-based economy.

    Tim Geithner, the learned and laconic civil servant and financial engineer, did not sweep in and infuse our shaky psyches with confidence. For starters, the 47-year-old’s voice kept cracking.

    Escorting us over the rickety, foggy bridge from TARP to Son of TARP by way of TALF — don’t ask — Geithner did not, as the president said when he drew on the wisdom of Fred Astaire, inspire us to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off and start all over again.

    The Obama crowd is hung up on the same issues that the Bush crew was hung up on last September: Which of the potentially $2 or $3 trillion in toxic assets will the taxpayers buy and what will we pay for them?

    Despite the touting, the Treasury chief unveiled a plan short on illumination, recrimination, fine points and foreclosure closure. The Dow collapsed on its fainting couch as Sports Illustrated swimsuit models rang the closing bell.

    It wasn’t only that Geithner’s own tax history — and his time as head of the New York Fed when all the bad stuff was happening on Wall Street, and when he left with nearly a half-million in severance — makes him a dubious messenger for the president’s pledge to keep the haves from further betraying the have-nots.

    It wasn’t only that Americans’ already threadbare trust has been ripped by Hank Paulson’s mumbo-jumbo and the Democrats’ bad judgment in accessorizing the stimulus bill with Grammy-level “bling, bling,” as the R.N.C. chairman, Michael Steele, called it.

    The problem is that the “lost faith” that Geithner talked about in his announcement Tuesday cannot be restored as long as the taxpayers who are funding these wayward banks don’t have more control.

    Geithner is not even requiring the banks to lend in return for the $2 trillion his program will try to marshal, mostly by having the Fed print money out of thin air, thereby diluting our money, or borrowing more from China. (When, exactly, can China foreclose on us and start sending us toxic toys again?)

    There’s a weaselly feel to the plan, a sense that tough decisions were postponed even as President Obama warns about our “perfect storm of financial problems.” The outrage is going only one way, as we pony up trillion after trillion.

    Geithner is coddling the banks, setting it up so that either we’ll have to pay the banks inflated prices for poison assets or subsidize investors to pay the banks for poison assets.

    As Steve Labaton and Ed Andrews wrote in The Times on Tuesday, Geithner won an internal battle with David Axelrod and other Obama aides who wanted to impose pay caps on every employee at institutions taking the bailout and set stricter guidelines on how federal money is spent. Geithner prevailed over those who wanted to kick out negligent bank executives and wipe out shareholders at institutions receiving aid.

    In a move that would have made his mentor, Robert Rubin, proud, Geithner beat back the populists and protected the economic royalists. The new plan offers insufficient meddling with Wall Street, even though Wall Street shows no sign that the hardscrabble economy has pierced its Hermès-swathed world.

    Wells Fargo, for instance, which has leeched $25 billion in bailout money, bought an inadvertently hilarious full-page ad in The Times to whinge about the junkets to Las Vegas and elsewhere it was forced to cancel because of public outrage. (The ad in The Times on Sunday could have cost up to $200,000, which may count as a bailout for our industry.)

    “Okay, time out. Something doesn’t feel right,” John Stumpf, the president and chief executive of Wells Fargo wrote in an open letter defending their two decades of four-day employee recognition “events.” Calling them junkets or boondoggles is “nonsense,” he protested, adding about his employees: “This recognition energizes them.”

    In this economy, simply having a job should energize them.

    Geithner is wrong. The pay of all the employees in bailed-out banks, not just top executives, should be capped. And these impervious, imperial suits who squander taxpayers’ money after dragging the country over the cliff should all be fired — preferably when they come to D.C. on Wednesday in a phony show of populism on Amtrak and the shuttle to testify before Barney Frank.

    Wall Street cannot be trusted to change its culture. Just look at the full-page ads that Bank of America (which got $45 billion) and Citigroup (which got $50 billion) are plastering in newspapers, lavishing taxpayer money on preening prose.

    We don’t want our money spent, as Citigroup did, to pat itself on the back “as we navigate the complexities together.” Bank of America cannot get back our trust by spending more of our cash to assure us that it’s “getting to work” on getting back our trust.

    Just get back to work and start repaying us.

  111. Huh? My response remains, the question is invalid and a complete waste of time.
    ——————————-
    Amazing. Personally, I would like to know the answer to the question of why we had a 550 billion dollar withdrawal by 11 am and if we had not acted the entire financial system of the world would have collapsed. As pm noted I would like to know what soros was doing at that time since he has been accused of doing this very thing in eastern europe although the case has never been proven to my satisfaction. I would like to know what happened, how it happened, why it happened and how it can be prevented in the future given the terrible cost it has imposed.

    But as the French say to each his own.

  112. admin Says:
    February 10th, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    Even before Benjamin Netanyahu finds out whether he will be Israel’s next prime minister, he is sending a message to President Barack Obama that he won’t be pushed around.
    &&&&&&&&&&

    Isn’t Netanyahu a famous internet pioneer? Didn’t he help invent the ‘net, and then lauch Yahu?

    And then with all his fabulous earnings, he went and ran some small country in the mid-east?

  113. JanH Says:

    February 10th, 2009 at 8:01 pm
    Obama plan holds off on foreclosure rescue details

    (snip)
    Less patient was Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. He issued a statement criticizing the administration for taking too long to put together a housing plan. Frank also said he fears that $50 billion in funding “understates the amount that we will need” and called on lenders to halt foreclosures as the government develops its plans.
    &&&&&

    Didn’t Barney “I love you, you love me” Frank campaign for Obama. I’d love to find quotes of these people supporting Obama over Hillary, snip them out, and send them the quotes.

    “Dear Mr. Frank:

    You campaigned for Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton. Now you are complaining that the new guy either doesn’t know what he’s doing, or he doesn’t care. Join the long line of people that are realizing what it means to have more incompetency at the top, and who are not happy about being thrown under the bus. So here is where we say to you, STFU.

    Sincerely,
    A concerned citizen”

  114. Well, for the people of Israel, and for Hillary, I certainly hope Livini prevails. Netanyahu totally screwed BC over with his stupid continuation of the settlement building even as he said he wouldn’t buil anymore settlements. Now he wants to build even more. I want some success for Israel and Hillary. Not everything is about Obama.

  115. Video now streaming and when cameras go to the congress men and women, they are really, really listening…at least for now.

  116. For your reading pleasure:

    FACT CHECK: Examining Obama’s job, pork claims

    Calvin Woodward, Associated Press Writer – Tue Feb 10, 2009

    Obama says he will engage with Republicans

    WASHINGTON – At least Route 31 is a road to somewhere. President Barack Obama had it both ways when he promoted his stimulus plan in Indiana and later at a prime-time news conference. He bragged in Indiana about getting Congress to produce a package with no pork, yet boasted it will do good things for a Hoosier highway and a downtown overpass, just the kind of local projects lawmakers lard into big spending bills.

    Obama’s sales pitch on the enormous package he wants Congress to make law has sizzle as well as steak. He’s projecting job creation numbers that may be impossible to verify and glossing over some ethical problems that bedeviled his team.

    In recent years, the so-called Bridge to Nowhere in Alaska came to symbolize the worst excesses of congressional earmarks, a device that allows a member of Congress to add money for local projects in legislation, practically under the radar.

    Nothing so bold, or specific, as that now-discarded bridge project is contained in the stimulus package. That’s not to say the package steers clear of waste or parochial interests. Obama played to such interests Monday, speaking at one point as if he’d come to fill potholes.

    A look at some of Obama’s claims in Elkhart, Ind., and the news conference called to make his case to the largest possible audience:

    OBAMA: “Not a single pet project,” he told the news conference. “Not a single earmark.”

    THE FACTS: There are no “earmarks,” as they are usually defined, inserted by lawmakers in the bill. Still, some of the projects bear the prime characteristics of pork — tailored to benefit specific interests or to have thinly disguised links to local projects.

    For example, the latest version contains $2 billion for a clean-coal power plant with specifications matching one in Mattoon, Ill., $10 million for urban canals, $2 billion for manufacturing advanced batteries for hybrid cars, and $255 million for a polar icebreaker and other “priority procurements” by the Coast Guard.

    Obama told his Elkhart audience that Indiana will benefit from work on “roads like U.S. 31 here in Indiana that Hoosiers count on.” He added, “And I know that a new overpass downtown would make a big difference for businesses and families right here in Elkhart.”

    U.S. 31 is a north-south highway serving South Bend, 15 miles from Elkhart in the northern part of the state.

    OBAMA: “My bottom line is, are we creating 4 million jobs?” he told the news conference.

    He said in Indiana, “The plan that we’ve put forward will save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs over the next two years.”

    THE FACTS: Job creation projections are uncertain even in stable times, and some of the economists relied on by Obama in making his forecast acknowledge a great deal of uncertainty in their numbers.

    The president’s own economists, in a report prepared last month, stated, “It should be understood that that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error.”

    Beyond that, it’s unlikely the nation will ever know how many jobs are saved as a result of the stimulus. While it’s clear when jobs are abolished, there’s no economic gauge that tracks job preservation.

    OBAMA: “They’ll be jobs building the wind turbines and solar panels and fuel-efficient cars that will lower our dependence on foreign oil and modernizing our costly health care system that will save us billions of dollars and countless lives.”

    THE FACTS: The economic stimulus bill would allocate about $20 billion to help hospitals and doctors transition from paper charts to electronic health records for their patients. Research has shown that in some instances, electronic record keeping can eliminate inappropriate services and improve care, but it’s not a sure thing by any means. “By itself, the adoption of more health IT is generally not sufficient to produce significant cost savings,” the Congressional Budget Office reported last year.

    OBAMA: “I’ve appointed hundreds of people, all of whom are outstanding Americans who are doing a great job. There are a couple who had problems before they came into my administration, in terms of their taxes. … I made a mistake. … I don’t want to send the signal that there are two sets of rules.”

    THE FACTS: Two of his appointees, former Senate Democratic leader Tom Daschle for health and human services secretary and Nancy Killefer as Obama’s chief compliance officer, dropped out after reports they had not paid a portion of their taxes.

    Obama previously acknowledged he “screwed up” in making it seem to Americans that there is one set of tax compliance rules for VIPs and another set for everyone else. Yet his choice for treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, achieved the post despite having belatedly paid $34,000 to the IRS, an agency Geithner now oversees.

    That could leave the perception that there is one set of rules for Geithner and another set for everyone else.

    OBAMA: “We also inherited the most profound economic emergency since the Great Depression.”

    THE FACTS: This could turn out to be the case. But as bad as the economic numbers are, the unemployment figures have not reached the levels of the early 1980s, let alone the 1930s — yet. A total of 598,000 payroll jobs vanished in January — the most in nearly 35 years — and the unemployment rate jumped to 7.6 from 7.2 percent the month before. The most recent high was 7.8 percent in June 1992.

    And the jobless rate was 10.8 percent in November and December 1982. Unemployment in the Great Depression ranged for several years from 25 percent to close to 30 percent.

    Associated Press writers Tom Raum, Jim Kuhnhenn, Kevin Freking and Anne Gearan contributed to this report.

  117. mj Says:

    February 11th, 2009 at 10:55 am

    ———————————————–

    I totally agree! I hope wiser minds prevail and she gets the coalition she needs.

  118. from rgb’s post:
    He(0bama) said in Indiana, “The plan that we’ve put forward will save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs over the next two years.”
    ————–

    So if there are 4 million plus 1 jobs at the end of this pork run, will he say he SAVED those 4 millions jobs? The guy is a con artist to boot. The absurdity of what he says has to hit the worst of kool-aid slurpers. They can’t be this stupid, right?

  119. Here are a few things we can look for ourselves, to help us figure out “Is it working?”
    ———————————————–
    Stimulus: How to Know If It’s Working

    By Moira Herbst – Wed Feb 11, 8:08 am ET

    At his first prime-time press conference, President Obama was asked a central question about the $800 billion-plus economic stimulus package: How will Americans know if it’s working? “My initial measure of success is creating or saving 4 million jobs,” Obama answered.

    That was on Feb. 9, a day before the Senate passed an $838 billion version of the bill by a vote of 61-37, following the Jan. 28 passage of an $819 billion version in the House. The House and Senate have begun negotiations to reconcile the measures, which Obama would like to sign into law by Feb. 16, the federal Presidents’ Day holiday. When people have a job, Obama explained, they purchase and invest, allowing companies to do the same and, in turn, to hire more workers as business expands.

    Indicators of Success

    Yet while job creation is arguably the most important goal of the stimulus package, other parts of the bill will have a much more immediate and visible impact. Food stamp increases and extensions of unemployment benefits will be among the first noticeable effects of the package. Tax credit payments for individuals and families would follow, along with other tax breaks and incentives. Rising consumer confidence and lower unemployment will be far more gradual, and aren’t likely to surface until late 2009 at the earliest.

    There’s an understanding among many economists that the sooner a government intervenes in an economic crisis, the more effective it tends to be in getting the economy back on track. That doesn’t mean that precise measurement of success is easy, however. “The problem is, we don’t know what trajectory the economy would take without the stimulus package,” says J. Bradford DeLong, an economics professor at the University of California-Berkeley. “We can’t enter a Star Trek-like divided universe in which we compare what’s happening with the stimulus versus without it. It’s hard to precisely judge its impact.”

    DeLong says that looking at interest rates will provide a clearer idea of whether the stimulus plan is working. “If interest rates stay extremely low, the plan is definitely working,” he says. “If Treasury interest rates do start to rise by more than normal levels, then we worry that (the spending) is crowding out private economic activity and discouraging investment.” Specifically, he says that if medium- to long-term Treasury bond interest rates climb two or three percentage points higher in the next year and inflation sets in, the stimulus package is not having its intended effect.

    Swift Help for the Neediest

    Of course, how one benefits from the stimulus package depends on several factors, including income, professional skills, and where you live. “What you’ll see (in benefit) and when you see it depends on who you are,” says Steve Ellis, vice-president at Taxpayers for Common Sense, a taxpayer advocacy group. “If you are living hand-to-mouth, you should have greater access to food stamps and other assistance right away. If you’re employed and not doing as well but hanging on, you won’t see much change unless a (federally funded) construction project starts up nearby. For them, the government hand will be less visible and less direct.”

    Direct assistance for the poor and unemployed, considered as among the most effective stimulus measures, will be the first to take effect. Both the House and Senate bills offer an additional $20.2 billion to extend emergency unemployment benefits for more than 3 million people whose state benefits are set to run out after March. They also offer an extra $25 a week in jobless benefits to millions of workers through the end of the year; the current average weekly benefit is $293.

    The packages also would give $7 billion to states that adopt reforms that make it easier for part-time workers, low-wage earners, and women to qualify for benefits. The proposals vary in the amounts by which they would increase food stamp benefits and additional medical assistance for low-income, unemployed workers under Medicaid, but both include spending for these items. An additional $17 billion in the stimulus bills would boost the maximum Pell Grant for higher education by $400 per applicant and provide other financial aid. Along with extended benefits, the unemployed may start to see shorter lines at the unemployment office. Both stimulus bills give states $500 million to help process unemployment applications, which have been overwhelming state systems across the country.

    Tax Credits and State Aid

    Working and middle-income Americans will benefit from the $82.1 billion in tax credit payments the plans offer. The House plan would give individuals earning up to $75,000 a year a tax credit of $500 and couples earning up to $150,000 a year a tax credit of $1,000. (The Senate bill lowers the income cap to $70,000 for individuals and $140,000 for couples, which critics say would reduce the stimulus effect.) Taxpayers can receive this credit either by claiming a credit on their 2009 and 2010 tax returns or by reducing their withholding from their paychecks. Other tax incentives to encourage auto and home purchases, included in the Senate bill, would be experienced by consumers at the time of purchase.

    Later this year, the effects of other spending will become more visible. The bills offer states tens of billions in “state stabilization” money, to fund grants for education and to patch holes that have emerged in many state budgets. (The House bill sets aside $79 billion in state stabilization funds, the Senate bill cuts that to $39 billion.) Another $3 billion is earmarked for state and local law enforcement.

    In the meantime, the stimulus plans are expected to create or save jobs in various sectors of the economy. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated that the House version of the bill would create between 1.3 million and 3.9 million jobs by the end of 2010. While police officers and teachers might feel the effect immediately, other workers would find jobs later this year on such projects as modernizing electrical grids, building highways, and weatherizing federal buildings.

    Metrics May Prove Elusive

    Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moodys.com (NYSE:MCO – News), says that if the package works according to Washington’s plan, unemployment insurance claims should start to drop in the summer and continue through the fall. He warns, however, that the unemployment rate will be slower to fall because layoffs will offset some of the gains. Some economists say that even as the unemployment rate does begin to fall, it will be hard to measure what would have happened without the economic stimulus plan.

    The stimulus is likely to provoke heated “Did it work?” debates for years to come among politicians, economists, and the public. “We are throwing a rock into our nation’s economic pond, and the ripple effects will spread throughout the economy,” says Ellis of the taxpayer group. Still, he says the impact might be more muted than many would hope: the annual U.S. gross domestic product is $13 trillion, while the stimulus package is about $900 billion over several years. Says Ellis: “It’s a big rock, but it’s a very big pond.”

  120. AmericanGal Says:

    February 10th, 2009 at 8:19 pm
    Off topic, but I don’t know what to make of this. Earlier today I received a phone call on behalf of Minnesota Congressional Democrats. They wanted donations ($100..I gave $0). Anyway the woman on the phone, who sounded middle aged, went on and on about Obama, how WONDERFUL he was and it’s so great that there is a majority in congress and how he doing such a GREAT job etc…she was positively giddy. She sounded like some lovestruck teen..

    Now my question is, why are statewide congressional Dems looking for donations right now and do they really think there is still that 75% positive rating of Obama from inauguration day? Are they thinking they need to get donations now because they are going to dry up in the future?
    &&&&

    Perhaps it is to raise money for Al Franken’s court challenge. Last I heard, Franken was ahead by a handful of votes, but was not going to be officially designated Senator because of Coleman’s legal challenge. Then Franken had his own tax problem crop up. And now I see on CNN that Coleman is up now, by 215 votes:

    Coleman
    (Incumbent) 1,211,590 42%
    Franken 1,211,375 42%
    Barkley 437,404 15%

    100% of precincts reporting

    Anyone else know the latest?

  121. marie3548 Says:

    February 10th, 2009 at 9:36 pm
    Were you all aware of this

    Its like putting the Wolf in charge of the Henhouse.

    aphiemi.wordpress.com/2009/02/09/obama-wants-to-move-us-census-oversight-to-rahm-emanuel/
    Obama Wants To Move U.S. Census Oversight To Rahm Emanuel
    February 9, 2009 by Aphiemi
    FOX News is reporting that Obama has decided he wants to move oversight of the U.S. Census from the Commerce Department directly into the hands of Rahm Emanuel.
    With Democrats (or even Republicans, if this were a Republican move) in control of the total census numbers, they can effectively redraw congressional districts, affect the Electorial College makeup, and even steer congressional funding to specific districts.
    Is this the “change” you Obama voters wanted? Total Liberal Control?
    &&&&&&&&&&&&&

    Sure looks and smells like a power grab to me.

    Now maybe the Commerce Dept. is not the best entity to run this thing…that can be debated. But centralizing it in the hands of the party in control of the Executive Branch?? If Bush did this, wouldn’t people be screaming bloody murder??

    Another oafish overreach by the inexperienced “Boy Wonder”.

  122. I think this says it all…

    Does ‘When Bibi met Barack’ have a happy ending?
    By Ron Kampeas · February 10, 2009

    (Brian Hendler) WASHINGTON (JTA) — When Bibi met Barack there was chemistry, the story goes.

    Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, the once and possible future Israeli prime minister, first met then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama in a private meeting in 2007, during one of Netanyahu’s stateside visits. It was clear, Netanyahu aides later told reporters, that the two men one day would assume roles on the world stage. The pair met a second time last July, in Jerusalem, and both with their country’s top jobs in their sights. Obama had secured the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, while Netanyahu had revived his Likud Party from a rump and was leading in polls to succeed the scandal-tainted Ehud Olmert, who would announce his resignation as prime minister days later.

    Obama won his race in November, and Netanyahu’s campaign took on Obama’s hues, adopting the slogan of “change” for Israel and erecting a campaign Web site that mimicked Obama’s. Or so the story goes. This version, accurate if not quite complete, is being peddled behind the scenes in Washington by those keen on seeing a smooth relationship between Jerusalem and Washington if Netanyahu becomes Israel’s prime minister, which remains a possibility after the right wing’s strong showing in Tuesday’s election. Netanyahu and Obama may not agree on the details, they say, but like any successful couple they see eye to eye when it comes to the big picture.

    But tune out the toasts and listen to the gossip, and it becomes clear that this marriage could end with broken dinnerware. If Netanyahu becomes prime minister, this will be his second time around, and survivors from his 1996-99 dalliance with the Clinton administration are not only around, they are members of Obama’s new administration. Dennis Ross, President Clinton’s top Middle East peace negotiator, is expected take up a Middle East policy overseer slot at the State Department — headed, as it happens, by Hillary Clinton, the former first lady.

    Look up “Netanyahu, Binyamin (Bibi) — personal qualities” in Ross’ mammoth 2004 account of his struggle for peace, “The Missing Peace,” and on page 260 Ross describes the Israeli prime minister as “nearly insufferable” in his first meeting with Clinton. “After Netanyahu was gone, President Clinton observed, ‘He thinks he is the superpower and we are here to do what he requires,’ ” Ross writes. “No one on our side disagreed with that assessment.”

    It doesn’t stop there: In his dealings with Ross, Netanyahu comes across as needy, manipulative, unreliable and perhaps worst of all, a party pooper. At the end of the exhausting 1998 Wye River negotiations, Ross reflects on Netanyahu’s constant moving of the goal posts, including a sudden last-minute demand for the release of convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard. “Bibi has already robbed us of the joy of reaching agreement,” Ross tells an associate. Martin Indyk, the U.S. ambassador to Israel at the time Netanyahu was first elected, and now an informal adviser to Hillary Clinton, is no kinder. He describes in “Innocent Abroad,” his just published account of the Clinton years, how Clinton and his staff eagerly hoped for Netanyahu’s defeat in 1996. Clinton resented Netanyahu in part because as Israeli opposition leader, he had agitated in Congress against Clinton’s support of the Rabin-Peres talks with Syria.
    Indyk calls Netanyahu’s term “the winter of our peace process discontent.”

    Some of these resentments have been assumed by the Obama team. Obama himself, meeting with Jewish leaders in Cleveland a year ago, described “a strain within the pro-Israel community that says unless you adopt an unwavering pro-Likud approach to Israel, then you’re anti-Israel, and that can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.” Centrist pro-Israel insiders say Netanyahu has matured in the interim and has foresworn the clumsy attempts at interference in the U.S. political system that characterized his first term, including openly courting Clinton’s evangelical enemies. Additionally, Obama and Netanyahu genuinely get along, unlike Clinton and Netanyahu, who never clicked.

    Furthermore, these insiders argue, Netanyahu’s bottom-up approach to Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking parallels that of Gen. James Jones, Obama’s national security adviser. Both have said in recent interviews that they favor building infrastructure before advancing to final-status talks. “We must fundamentally improve the lives of our Palestinian neighbors so that they have a stake in peace,” Netanyahu told the Chicago Tribune recently. “We need to help Palestinians expand their middle class, strengthen their civil society and provide hope for a better future.”

    Obama’s envoy to the region, George Mitchell, appears to be adopting that cautious approach. Possible differences loom, however. In the previous Bush administration, Jones was the patron of the rehabilitation of Palestinian armed forces in the West Bank; Netanyahu is adamant about demilitarization. In the past, Mitchell has emphasized a settlement freeze; acceding would infuriate much of Netanyahu’s Likud Party, never mind any right-wing parties he brings with him into his government.

    Differences are emerging as well on Iran, the very issue that supposedly brought Obama and Netanyahu together. Netanyahu favors aggressive containment, while Obama in his first major presidential news conference Monday emphasized dialogue.
    “My national security team is currently reviewing our existing Iran policy, looking at areas where we can have constructive dialogue, where we can directly engage with them,” Obama said. “And my expectation is, in the coming months, we will be looking for openings that can be created where we can start sitting across the table, face-to-face diplomatic overtures, that will allow us to move our policy in a new direction.”

    Netanyahu vexes his interlocutors with an agile eagerness to impress that sometimes appears to spill over into dissembling. In 2005, as finance minister, he visited the U.S. Senate to pitch his plan for a canal from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea. He cast the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip as principal beneficiaries of the plan through increased trade and employment, and the senators lapped it up. Just minutes earlier, in the same conference room, he had told Israeli reporters in Hebrew that as far as he was concerned the Palestinians could take or leave participation in the project — they were marginal to its success. The fact that both conversations were on the record didn’t appear to faze him a bit.

    Such maneuvering could trip up Netanyahu, says Yoram Peri, a Tel Aviv University political scientist who is a visiting professor at American University in Washington.
    “That’s his personality,” Peri said. “The major problem of Netanyahu is Bibi; in Israel, the question we ask is, ‘Will Netanyahu be able to tame Bibi?’ ”

    A dovish pro-Israel insider concurred, saying that Democrats in the Obama administration and in the Congress are wary of Netanyahu. “He’s not coming to a Washington that thinks highly of him, on ether side of Pennsylvania Avenue,” the insider said. “Republicans are wowed by him — but they’re not in power anymore.”
    Others said personality issues might be subsumed by the kind of government Netanyahu cobbles together. If he includes Kadima and Labor in a centrist coalition, he might be able to break with some of the doctrines of the past. The same would not be true of a coalition with hawkish parties. “Netanyahu allowed himself to be boxed in in the 1990s” by the right wing, said David Makovksy, a senior analyst with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Should he get a shot at forming Israel’s next government, Makovsky said, Netanyahu should focus on where he wants to take the country when assembling his coalition. “The coalition should reflect the mission, not the other way around,” Makovsky said.

    Peri said Netanyahu would be unlikely to stray too far from Likud doctrine when it comes to the Palestinians, considering the rise of hard-liners within the party. Instead, he suggested, a Netanyahu administration might make headway with Syria. Though Netanyahu has expressed opposition to the Israel-Syria talks revived last year, saying now is not the time to give up the Golan heights, Netanyahu came close to making such a deal when he was prime minister. “If he wants to contain a clash with Washington” over its aggressive pursuit of peace, Peri said, “it’ll be easier for him to support discussions with Syria.”

    Ori Nir, the spokesman for Americans for Peace Now, said interactions between Netanyahu and Obama may be beside the point. The determining factor in the Middle East, he said, is not the personality of the occupant of the White House but the realities of the region. “What every Israeli government finds when it takes the reins is the same reality: the same West Bank, the same Iran, the same Gaza, the same Arab world,” Nir said. “Campaign slogans aside, it has to deal with that reality.”

    jta.org/news/article/2009/02/10/1002880/does-when-bibi-met-barack-have-a-happy-ending

  123. This census and commerce dept thing is a mystery to me. On the one hand, it looks like 0bama made a mistake in nominating Gregg and then tried to correct it by moving the census to WH and on the other it looks like he deliberately wanted it that way so he could take census away from him/c. dept (and have one less Repub in the senate, but that didn’t happen either). But he could have just easily appointed a compliant Democrat and then pretended that there was no political motive for the census. So, no wonder he is a FLAKE and does things in inexplicable ways.

  124. I like both Livni and Netanyahu….both strong leaders who will protect the Jewish state. Admittedly Netanyahu is substantially more Hawkish, but will work with Hillary very well imo….

  125. Hi all,

    I couldn’t resist from posting this comment from another blog. It made my day. LOL!! :

    **Wonder if BO has a teleprompter in his bedroom? He can’t seem to function without one.**

  126. jbstonesfan Says:
    February 11th, 2009 at 11:53 am

    I like both Livni and Netanyahu….both strong leaders who will protect the Jewish state. Admittedly Netanyahu is substantially more Hawkish, but will work with Hillary very well imo….

    What are you talking about? He worked against bill Clinton.

  127. JBStones

    Bibi and Hill will NOT get along that well.

    He does not negociate or deal in a truthful way.

    See above:

    JanH Says:February 11th, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I think this says it all…

    Does ‘When Bibi met Barack’ have a happy ending?
    By Ron Kampeas · February 10, 2009

    (

  128. Admin, for the vision challenged, is it possible to return to the width of the comment column [this one] that was much easier to read through? Or is it just my computer that creates this thinner version of the comment column?

  129. Shorttermer

    Take your cursor to the right, or left, of the FULL page, pass it slowly over the frame edge until you get the double headed arrow, left click and hold down, and use your double arrow to s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the page width, or push in to squeeze it narrower. Middle section where the comments are will just follow along and adjust.

    Hope this helps. Mine got so thin sometimes I had only 2 words per line til I learned this little trick.

  130. Democrat Leaders Hold Midnight Meeting, Freeze GOP out of “Stimulus” Negotiations

    I would like “to come as close as you can in the political reality to a bipartisan management of the House,” said Nancy Pelosi in 2006. “I’m a big believer in bipartisanship on so many issues. You can’t address [most issues] and do it in a partisan way. They are too big, they involve too many people, and they involve too much money, private and public money. You’ve got to do it in a way that has legitimacy.”

    Posted by Jeff Emanuel (Profile)

    Wednesday, February 11th at 10:48AM EST
    9 Comments

    This morning, a very senior contact within the House GOP informed me that Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Harry Reid (D-NV) met at length last night to put together the House/Senate conference report on the “stimulus” package. Only Democratic conference committee members were informed of the meeting and permitted to attend.

    The purpose behind the meeting was apparently to produce a conference report on the over $800 billion borrow-and-spend bill that was entirely free of Republican input, and that could be presented no later than this afternoon in preparation for House and Senate floor action tomorrow.

    Ironically, the Democrat-heavy House yesterday voted unanimously in favor of a GOP-sponsored resolution stating that the bill should be made subject to a 48 hour review period by the public before it was finally passed by Congress — something that seems very unlikely to happen, given Democrats’ actions over the last twelve hours.

    In a post here on RedState, Congressman Tom Price (R-GA), chairman of the Republican Study Committee, confirmed reports of the Democrats’ midnight meeting. “Negotiations have already begun under the dark of night,” wrote Price this morning. “In closed room somewhere in the Capitol Building last night, Congressional Democrats and Obama administration officials met with no Republicans present.”

    Price continued:

    Rules for the conference committee dictate that there must be an open hearing for negotiations, but that hearing is controlled entirely by the majority party. It is the prerogative of congressional Democrats as to whether the hearing will be an honest and open forum or instead a dog and pony show while real negotiations take place in a smoke-filled backroom.

    With a trillion dollars of taxpayer money currently at stake, it is critical to provide the American people a full and complete understanding of how it is going to be spent.

    House Democrats haven’t been shy about voicing their intent to use the conference to re-insert a large portion of the spending taken out of the Senate’s compromise bill, which was passed due to support from three Republicans who, apparently and inexplicably, thought Reps. Pelosi and Hoyer (D-MD) would be content to allow pet pork programs to remain on the cutting room floor when presented with the opportunity to reinsert them in conference.

    The “stimulus” package passed the House with zero GOP votes (and 11 Democrats voting against), and the Senate with three GOP votes, as Sens. Specter (R-PA), Collins (R-ME), and Snowe (R-ME) gave the nearly $1T package the votes it needed to reach the conference in the first place.

    Now that the cuts made in their compromise package are being put back into the bill

    during midnight meetings that the minority is being entirely excluded from, the best thing the GOP as a whole can do is to vote unanimously against this bill in both houses — and the best thing beyond that for Specter, Snowe, and Collins to do would be to apologize to their fellow Republicans and to the American people for being so naive as to negotiate the resuscitation of this bill when it was on life support in their chamber, only to have every cut they negotiated out of it put right back in by a Democrat majority that never had any more intention of living up to its “compromise” agreements than it did of living up to its own rhetoric about “bipartisanship.”

    redstate.com/jeff_emanuel/2009/02/11/democrat-leaders-hold-midnight-meeting-freeze-gop-out-of-stimulus-negotiations/

  131. Well, I will look at the glass 1/2 full. I love Hillary and Bill, and love the state of Israel. Hillary and Bill have both vowed to protect her. While Netanyahu seeks more settlements, and Livni does not, the main concern for both is a nuclear Iran. Concessions will have to be made, but remember, so far, Israel has received very little in return for previous land concessions, other than rockets fiored into it’s towns and cities. Anyway, I prefer not to get into a Middle Eastern debate and focus on my support of Hillary and distrust of Obama.

  132. wbboei

    and if you put in

    pbs.org/now/index.html

    the program wii add the interviews with Bethany McLean and Paul Krugman.

    Bethany’s will make you mad and Krugman’s is dicouraging.

  133. Putting the stimulus package in perspective.

    (From Winston and idiocracy at NQ).

    A. A billion seconds ago it was 1959.
    B. A billion minutes ago Jesus was alive.
    C. A billion hours ago our ancestors were living in the Stone Age.
    D. A billion days ago no one walked on the earth on two feet.
    E. A billion dollars ago was only 8 hours and 20 minutes, at the rate our government is spending it.
    *********************************************************************
    I heard, I think it was Mitch McConnell, saying that you could spend $1 million dollars a day for 2000 years and it wouldn’t total the bailout. True…it totals about $730 billion.

  134. jb,

    Just from way outside the question, I got a whiff of West Wing from a story (perhaps I’m remembering it all wrong) about Hillary and Russia and Iran. Instead of further escalating, she handled it by a de-escalating move. If Russia would stop encouraging Iran on nukes, the US would stop pushing for a missle shield in Poland(?).

    Then in the last segment we learn that the missle shield technology didn’t work anyway.

  135. ShortTermer,

    As Emjay says, colulmn width is somethign you control at your own computer. If her directions didn’t solve it for you, email me. tdo@turndownobama.com

    Chnging the font size also changes the column width. That’s a problem for me; when I get the font big enough to read, teh column has become very narrow. Making the font size smaller widens the colulmn.

    That’s something that could be different at Admin’s level, in her copius spare time.

  136. JanH Says:

    February 11th, 2009 at 8:15 am
    And now for an opinion from the Asian Times:

    Feb 12, 2009
    Muscled-up Pelosi casts shadow on world
    &&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

    “Muscled-up” and “Pelosi” are not two words belong even in the same sentence together, let alone next to each other.

    I’m trying to imagine her carbing-up and pumping iron in her bikini…but it’s not happening.

  137. For all you skeptics out there,take a look at where Hillary is today.Unscathed untouched by the magic wand of the messiah who as imbibed too much of his own snake oil and is sliding down hill to the level of his dimbats in the congress.Do not ever underestimate the ability of Hillary to think,react,and make the correct decisions as they are needed.Starting next week she will show the world a real leader ready to to undue the damage that gwb and bho have spread throught out world with their lack of experience and of course the race card ticket to the whitehouse that bo flashes at every turn.She is our true leader and she will prove it.As for fox and friends and their shill “porky morris”let them eat crow.I still think that his hatred of all things Hillary is based on the theory that he went for her toes in the whitehouse and she was wearing pointed shoes.After the past three weeks of bo in charge and the mess that he has created we now realize that she is our best hope for our futures.

    By ABM90 Helen Reddy song “I am a woman” should be revived”

  138. rgb44hrc Says:
    February 11th, 2009 at 10:30 am

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

    Yep, that’s what I’ve been hopong for a long time.

  139. wbboei, Just assume that right now for the sake of argument. In that case, I cannot imagine that he ever intended that nudge to drive the world financial system to the brink of total collapse, because that would not be beneficial to his interests.

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

    Very sensible!

  140. She was dammed if she did, and dammed if she did not…The senate was a path to nowhere and SOS is prestigious, but she will have to overcome the very same forces that undermined her in the primary. I think Hillary knew this before accepting and simply chose the position where she could do the most beneficial work for our country and the world. Hillary is first and foremost a patriot who put country ahead of party. and has shown what real leadership is comprised of. BO also needs to reach out to Bill as truly he should be appointed “Ambassador To The World”, as a man of his greatness is needed at times like these.

  141. Judd quits!

    Obama appoints Biden as Commerce! (Biden takes all the dirty jobs.)

    Obama appoints Michelle as VP! (Now she gets a salary too.)

    Obama quits, Michelle becomes POTUS, Obama goes to the beach!

    Michelle appoints Spiro Agnew as VP!

    Michelle runs for Pres in 2012!

    Hillary wins.

Comments are closed.