Why? Barack Obama – This Boat Is Sinking

It’s the economy stupid!

Obama is too busy attacking talk show hosts and dreaming up schemes to spend money we don’t have to actually bother with the job of fixing the economy and saving/creating a financial system that works.

This is not an economics website but lately we are forced to devote ourselves almost exclusively to the economy. We have to write about the economy because Obama clearly is too busy serving whine and $100 steaks from skinny cows to a parade of guests.

We have to write about the economy because PINO Big Blogs are praising Obama’s Bush-like looting of the economy and rubbing their hands in anticipation of Santa wish lists coming down the chimney along with now hidden deficit credit card bills.

But the boat is sinking.



* * *

Obama’s lie of a “budget overview” is exposed daily as a delusion. Obama bases his entire “budget overview” on an economic turnaround this June, but water is seeping into the ship faster than ever.

The country spiraled deeper into recession to start 2009, forcing widespread cutbacks and layoffs among everyone from blue-collar workers who once churned out construction equipment to white-collar professionals like business consultants and accountants.

The Federal Reserve’s new snapshot of business activity nationwide, released Wednesday, showed the economic picture darkening over the last two months and revealed little hope for a quick turnaround.

In ten of the twelve Federal Reserve regions economic activity dropped further “National economic conditions deteriorated further,” the Fed’s survey concluded. “The deterioration was broadbased, with only a few sectors such as basic food production and pharmaceuticals appearing to be exceptions.”

This Boat is Sinking. Nouriel Roubini is tolling the bells. Obama’s “budget overview” is a lie. Dr. Kervorkian now has an economic equivalent on board the sinking boat captained by “HMS Pinafore” Obama. This Boat is B.O. stinking:

For those who argue that the rate of growth of economic activity is turning positive–that economies are contracting but at a slower rate than in the fourth quarter of 2008–the latest data don’t confirm this relative optimism. In 2008’s fourth quarter, gross domestic product fell by about 6% in the U.S., 6% in the euro zone, 8% in Germany, 12% in Japan, 16% in Singapore and 20% in South Korea. So things are even more awful in Europe and Asia than in the U.S.

There is, in fact, a rising risk of a global L-shaped depression that would be even worse than the current, painful U-shaped global recession. Here’s why:

Roubini gives Obama the “L” (All You Need Is L-U-V) facts. They are not pretty. Economic activity is negative in Europe and Japan and unemployment continues to climb. China is not investing and steel is falling there. Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and China are a mess with falling exports.

The scale and speed of synchronized global economic contraction is really unprecedented (at least since the Great Depression), with a free fall of GDP, income, consumption, industrial production, employment, exports, imports, residential investment and, more ominously, capital expenditures around the world. And now many emerging-market economies are on the verge of a fully fledged financial crisis, starting with emerging Europe.

Is there any even fake hope? According to Roubini, no. Roubine says: But such stimulus is unlikely to lead to a sustained economic recovery. The fake Obama “stimulus” in this age of fake will not help:

Of the $800 billion of the U.S. fiscal stimulus, only $200 billion will be spent in 2009, with most of it being backloaded to 2010 and later. And of this $200 billion, half is tax cuts that will be mostly saved rather than spent, as households are worried about jobs and paying their credit card and mortgage bills. (Of last year’s $100 billion tax cut, only 30% was spent and the rest saved.)

Thus, given the collapse of five out of six components of aggregate demand (consumption, residential investment, capital expenditure in the corporate sector, business inventories and exports), the stimulus from government spending will be puny this year.

Roubini says the fall will continue into 2010, if not longer (a rising risk of an L-shaped near-depression). Hopium addled addicts will scream in triumph at this: Of course, you cannot rule out another bear market suckers’ rally in 2009…. However, after the effects of a tax cut fizzle out in late summer, and after the shovel-ready infrastructure projects are done, the policy stimulus will slacken by the fourth quarter….

Roubini notes that the U.S. government (in guarantees, investments, recapitalization and liquidty provisions) has committed about $9 trillion to the financial system and has already spent $2 trillion.

At this point we will not get into several incendiary charges that Roubini makes about a potential scandal involving Goldman Sachs’ CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Suffice to say that investigation of the charges will be needed.

As the economic ship of state sinks, the Hopium addled are still walking into walls, but some are finally waking up to the mess which is “HMS Pinafore” Obama.

Don’t blame us – we voted for Hillary:

The Dow closed today at its lowest mark in 12 years, and now it’s becoming clear even to Obama supporters on Wall Street that his reckless agenda will make a bad situation worse.

If you want to understand why, despite his popularity with the general public, Barack Obama is losing the confidence of Wall Street, all you really have to do is speak to his supporters on the Street. There are many, contradicting the long-held myth that the bankers, investors, and hedge-fund traders who inordinately profited during the past two-plus decades of unfettered capitalism don’t always vote as unfettered capitalists. They were a vital part of Bill Clinton’s coalition, were cozying up to Hillary, but bolted for Obama the minute they heard him speak about social justice, the need to reform the nation’s energy policy, the necessity to end the war in Iraq, and most of all, how the past eight years of George W. Bush elevated mediocrity to new heights.

Obama was anything but mediocre, they told me time and again, as the financial crisis devastated the markets and ushered in one nasty recession. And these days they are a sorry lot because they now admit they really didn’t listen to Obama.

“HMS Pinafore” Obama, is a boob, many of his Wall Street supporters are saying, even as the Hopium addled continue to walk into walls.

But for all of that they can’t believe what they are witnessing: an economic agenda that is contradictory at best, and possibly reckless in its extreme. Policies that will certainly make a very bad situation even worse, and when things do get better, they will certainly not be better enough to compensate for the pain we are experiencing.

The prominent “friends” in this account are unhappy with Obama for many reasons. But the fault is theirs – they did not listen to Big Pink, they believed the razzle dazzle from Chicago.

Only now that it is too late, they are aware of the Obama boobery. They echo our critique of the absolute need for a financial plan:

Part of the reason Treasury Secretary Geithner has received such low marks so far is that he hasn’t produced a plan to save the banks that are still holding more than $1 trillion in bad mortgage and real-estate debt. It’s the reason the banks still aren’t lending money; if they sell these securities at market prices, they have to write down massive losses and become insolvent, barring a massive government bailout.

These former Hopium addicts receive no sympathy from us, nor do we necessarily agree with their complaints. Frankly they disgust us. After fleecing ordinary Americans now they pretend to care about “Main Street”.

The above assessment is buttressed today in a Business Week article:

At least on Wall Street, the honeymoon is over for President Barack Obama.

Polls still show the President has strong popularity among the general U.S. population, and Obama continues to command power in Congress. But among investors, fairly or unfairly, there is griping that the new Obama Administration is at least partly to blame for the recent slide in stocks. Since Nov. 4, Election Day, the broad Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index is off about 25%, and since Jan. 20, when Obama took office, the “500” is down 15%. [snip]

But BusinessWeek interviewed a wide array of investment professionals, and many said the first six weeks of the Obama Administration have soured their outlook on the stock market.

It wasn’t always so. On Nov. 21, word arrived that Timothy Geithner would be tapped as Obama’s Treasury Secretary and markets rallied immediately. The S&P 500 rocketed 15% higher that day and the following trading session.

Stocks continued to climb into January, and even rallied in the week after the inauguration. “Hopes were too high,” says independent market strategist Doug Peta. Too many were hoping the new Administration would have “this magic potion to solve our problems,” he says. “That was unrealistic.”

How many times have we written the highlighted sentence below? What fools these mortals be!

Many investors hoped Obama could start to solve the stock market’s—and the economy’s—biggest problem: the credit crisis. “It was a false hope,” says Brian Reynolds, chief market strategist at WJB Capital Group, who believes there is “nothing the government can do to stop the crisis.”

Others are more hopeful the government can ease credit conditions, but say the Obama Administration has bungled the operation so far.

The Business Week article is composed of many on the record quotes from prominent business leaders. These business leaders are taking risks telling the truth about the Obama Chicago thugs. The truth telling is not partisan nor ideological – these business leaders know the boat is sinking and “HMS Pinafore” Obama is flapping his arms on deck.

Obama tried to bamboozle Americans into throwing away money on stocks “Profits and earning ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good idea,” Obama said, adding “if you’ve got a long-term perspective on it.” These investors disagree with Obama. The problem for investors is the long-term outlook has never looked so fuzzy. Readers of this Big Pink website will find this sentence familiar: It may be quite some time before investors find a change they can believe in.

The New York Times meanwhile is suggesting American taxpayers throw away more money trying to save others when we cannot even help ourselves. Perhaps the New York Times editorial page has missed the story in its own “news” pages that GM is going under, and that CitiMorgue stock is selling for a dollar.

So much for the upbeat news. The worse is yet to come:

The Biggest Story of the Week. Or the year. Frightening.

I’ve been wondering why the impact of the financial crisis on the overall retirement “system” hasn’t gotten more attention in the media. We already knew the system was in bad shape before September 2008. According to the Fed’s Survey of Consumer Finances, in 2007, only 60.9% of households where the head of household was age 55-64 had retirement accounts . . . and their median retirement balance was $98,000. Given that the stock market has fallen by over 50% from its October 2007 peak – and that, for decades, the standard investment advice has been that stocks do better than any other asset class in the long term – we would be lucky if that median balance were more than $70,000 today.

The above is commentary based on an article in Bloomberg News. The news is not pretty:

The second, and the focus of the article, is the perverse behavior that is caused by accounting rules governing pension funds. The key question for a pension fund is whether the assets it has today will be enough to pay off its future liabilities. The assets are relatively easy to value, at least most of the time; the future liabilities are relatively easy to predict actuarially (although unanticipated developments, such as a sudden change in life expectancy, could mess up that calculation); but the hard part is estimating the rate of return on the assets. So . . . public pension funds are allowed to assess their long-term solvency using assumed annual rates of return, generally around 8% per year. Of course, as we know, things don’t always work out that way: the Vanguard Balanced Index Fund (which indexes virtually all U.S. stocks and bonds) has an average annual rate of return of 0.9% over the last 10 years, and even since its inception 1992 its annual return is only 6.0%.

These optimistic assumptions are bad enough, because they allow underfunding of pensions. But what’s even more bizarre is the behavior this causes. As the Bloomberg article explains, local governments issue pension obligation bonds to raise cash for their pension funds. These bonds usually pay fixed interest rates, say 6%, and the proceeds are then invested in risky assets. But the magical thing is that because you are allowed to assume an 8% return, for pension accounting purposes, the difference between 8% and 6% is free money! Well, it’s free money as far as this year’s assessment of the pension is concerned. In the long term, of course, it’s a crazy investment strategy (and a mistake many people make – comparing a risk-free interest rate you borrow money at with a risky expected rate you hope to earn). And the results in the future are predictable: either higher taxes, or yet more value-destroying pension obligation bonds. Sometimes people get caught saying stupid things, like Christine Whitman saying, “You’d be crazy not to have done this. It’s not a gimmick. This is an ongoing benefit to taxpayers,” but it’s really a systemic problem.

Our retirement “system” has four main legs: Medicare, Social Security, corporate or government defined-benefit pensions, and private saving (IRAs, 401(k)s, etc.). Right now it looks like Medicare and Social Security are the stronger legs.

The Bloomberg News article is more ominous than we dare explore. Some very brief samples (first one from Chicago).

The Chicago Transit Authority retirement plan had a $1.5 billion hole in its stash of assets in 2007. At the height of a four-year bull market, it didn’t have enough cash on hand to pay its retirees through 2013, meaning it was underfunded to the tune of 62 percent. [snip]

Public pension funds across the U.S. are hiding the size of a crisis that’s been looming for years. Retirement plans play accounting games with numbers, giving the illusion that the funds are healthy. [snip]

With stock market losses this year, public pensions in the U.S. are now underfunded by more than $1 trillion.

That lack of funds explains why dozens of retirement plans in the U.S. have issued more than $50 billion in pension obligation bonds during the past 25 years — more than half of them since 1997 — public records show.

The quick fix for pension funds becomes a future albatross for taxpayers.[snip]

The Teacher Retirement System of Texas, the seventh-largest public pension fund in the U.S., reports each year that its expected rate of return is 8 percent. Public records show the fund has had an average return of 2.6 percent during the past 10 years.

The nation’s largest public pension fund, California Public Employees’ Retirement System, has been reporting an expected rate of return of 7.75 percent for the past eight years, and 8 percent before that, according to Calpers spokesman Clark McKinley.

Its annual return during the decade from Dec. 31, 1998, to Dec. 31, 2008, has been 3.32 percent, and last year, when markets tanked, it lost 27 percent.

Did we mention the boat is sinking? Sinking fast?

Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair said the deposit insurance fund could dry up amid a surge in bank failures, as she responded to an industry outcry against new fees approved by the agency.

Did we mention the boat is sinking?

The boat is sinking and “HMS Pinafore” Obama is flapping his arms on deck.

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139 thoughts on “Why? Barack Obama – This Boat Is Sinking

  1. Is Europe Falling Out of Love with Obama?
    ——

    What is this thing called “LUV”…I mean it may have been Lust or infatuation perhaps….

    HMS “Clueless, Sleeveless” PINAFORE…

    I wanit it to sink !!!!!! completely, utterly and never ever to be found some future GIGOLO type adventurers

  2. Still hammering Rush

    The Democrats’ political apparatus seems to be enjoying — and raising good money off — the chosen focus on Rush Limbaugh, and is turning it into a party-building exercise.

    Just today, three emails on the subject, from the DNC, the DSCC, and the DGA. The DNC is running a contest to put a slogan on a poster in Limbaugh’s hometown.

    “[Y]our gift right now can show Rush Limbaugh that Americans won’t tolerate this kind of thinking by helping us fight his Republican Governor cronies all across the nation,” writes DGA executive director Nathan Daschle.

    The DSCC, meanwhile, is petitioning to demand GOP senators reject Limbaugh.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/

  3. I am scared, to be quite honest. I have been contributing to a 401K plan, but I’m not sure that is the right thing to do. Jeez. No one seems to know what they are doing.

  4. There’s a classic hero motif, we see it in Zorro, The Scarlet Pimpernel, etc. The rich person who secretly fights for the poor.

    Obama is the opposite. He represents himself as of the poor, but in fact twists everything to benefit the rich.

  5. Hi

    I posted this before, never showed up.

    A firend of mine work for the Urban League of Cleveland for thirty years. She started when she was eighteen. She went to work on Tuesday, they called her into the office and told her and five others they no longer had a job. She was let go with no severance package. She is too young to collect Social Security. She will be penalized if she takes any money out of her retirement package. There goes loyalty to a company.

    She is an Obama supporter. I feel sorry for her.

  6. TurndownObama, those anti-zorros are frequently men of the cloth who fleece their flock.

    On a far-flung but somewhat related note (which kinda sorta makes us think of Hillary):

    Page 116, of Villains of all Nations (by Marcus Buford Rediker) has some interesting “rob the poor” stories.

    A few excerpts on the woman pirates Mary Read and Anne Bonny:

    “Courage was traditionally seen as a masculine virtue, but Read and Bonny proved that women might possess it in abundance. They demonstrated it in the mutinies that launched each of them into piracy and again in the skirmish after which they were captured when they fired a pistol into the hold, aiming at their quivering comrades. [snip] The strongest evidence of the importance of courage came in Read’s class-conscious answer to the questions of a captive about her prospect of an “ignominious Death” on the gallows, when she gamely insisted “Men of Courage”, like herself, would not fear it. [snip]

    Read considered courage a resource, something akin to a skill that offered the poor some protection in a vicious labor market. The same idea was expressed more fully by pirate captain Charles Bellamy, who lectured a captured captain thus: [snip] They viliify us, the Scoundrels do, when there is only this Difference, they rob the Poor under the Cover of Law, forsooth, and we plunder the Rich under the Protection of our own Courage.”

  7. neetabug Says:

    March 5th, 2009 at 2:54 pm

    ———————————-

    I’m so sorry about your friend. What is most scary is that this is starting to happen in epidemic numbers.

  8. Does anyone see a trend towards an upwards trend of racial discrimination happening now? I’m not sure how to explain this but with the downturn of the economy…

    In the late 1930’s early 1940’s when Hitler came to power and began his scourge of the Jewish race among others, i.e. the deaf, blind, etc… many countries including the U.S.A., Great Britain, Portugal, Palestine and my own Canada, drastically cut immigration quotas for the Jewish people, all the while ignoring what was happening to them, and severely censoring the news. There was a very strong faction in government of antisemitism as well as an overriding bias in favor of the Arab nations and oil.

    Economies are failing once more, antisemitism is on the rise, and I just wonder how many other extremely damaging trickle effects will take place because on obama and his bankrupt policies.

  9. # hillarygirl Says:
    March 5th, 2009 at 2:31 pm

    President Barack Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter.

    politico.com/news/stories/0309/19663.html
    ———————————–

    Yep, we wrote blog posts, comments about this from the beginning of the campaign and these fools want to talk about it now?!! This issue always makes me angry. Because it is the first hint of his incompetence and everyone in the media glossed over it. It is the first sign that he is not a master orator and the media’s deception of it. If he can’t hold a few minutes discourse on any topic, why do we we think he is capable of running the country.

  10. MOST INTELLIGENT PRESIDENT EVER?

    SMARTEST MAN ON THE PLANET?

    “Uuuh, ummm, errr, would someone fix that damn teleprompter!”

    Scene 3, at The Ritzy Swan Restaurant on Valentine’s Day:

    Teleprompter: “Michelle, Happy Veneral Day, you are the loaf of my life”.
    Obama: “Michelle, Happy Veneral Day, you are the loaf of my life”.
    Michelle: (SLAP!!!)

    $$$$
    What a doofus. We thought Bush was dumb as a bucket of hammers??

    Might as well save y’all the trip to politico. This is priceless:

    &&&&&&&

    President Barack Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter.
    Obama’s safety net: the TelePrompter
    The textbook-sized panes of glass holding the president’s prepared remarks follow him wherever he speaks.

    Resting on top of a tall, narrow pole, they flank his podium during speeches in the White House’s stately parlors. They stood next to him on the floor of a manufacturing plant in Indiana as he pitched his economic stimulus plan. They traveled to the Department of Transportation this week and were in the Capitol Rotunda last month when he paid tribute to Abraham Lincoln in six-minute prepared remarks.

    Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter is unusual — not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events, large and small.

    After the teleprompter malfunctioned a few times last summer and Obama delivered some less-than-soaring speeches, reports surfaced that he was training to wean himself off of the device while on vacation in Hawaii. But no such luck.

    His use of the teleprompter makes work tricky for the television crews and photographers trying to capture an image of the president announcing a new Cabinet secretary or housing plan without a pane of glass blocking his face. And it is a startling sight to see such sleek, modern technology set against the mahogany doors and Bohemian crystal chandeliers in the East Room or the marble columns of the Grand Foyer.
    “It’s just something presidents haven’t done,” said Martha Joynt Kumar, a presidential historian who has held court in the White House since December 1975. “It’s jarring to the eye. In a way, it stands in the middle between the audience and the president because his eye is on the teleprompter.”

    Just how much of a crutch the teleprompter has become for Obama was on sharp display during his latest commerce secretary announcement. The president spoke from a teleprompter in the ornate Indian Treaty Room for a few minutes. Then Gov. Gary Locke stepped to the podium and pulled out a piece of paper for reference.

    The president’s teleprompter also elicited some uncomfortable laughter after he announced Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as his choice for Health and Human Services secretary. “Kathy,” Obama said, turning the podium over to Sebelius, who waited at the microphone for an awkward few seconds while the teleprompters were lowered to the floor and the television cameras rolled.

    Obama has relied on a teleprompter through even the shortest announcements and when repeating the same lines on his economic stimulus plan that he’s been saying for months — whereas past presidents have mostly worked off of notes on the podium except during major speeches, such as the State of the Union.

  11. They are making excuses left and right for Geithner. They are saying he is:

    *Only one man doing the job of many, has a shadow staff of many advisors that have yet to be vetted or confirmed and who can’t help with the paperwork.

  12. His addiction to the teleprompter is just plain laziness on his part or maybe also a touch of incomprehension of the big picture, words bigger than two syllables, etc…

    This is one case where we remember Admin’s constant admonishment…don’t blame us, we voted for Hillary.

    Why is it that Hillary rarely uses a teleprompter and also rarely looks at her notes when she is speaking while he continues to be so crippled in this way?

  13. jan, I tend to think it is more than laziness. A person of intellect and smarts must be able to explain and express freely without assistance. This is a case of technology masking his mediocre intellect.

  14. The market closes down about 281. CitiGroup down under $1.

    The ship is sinking. We’ll soon be here:

  15. I have to agree, the constant use of the teleprompter is odd. It shouldn’t be necessary for every speech, especially informal ones.

  16. So I have to wonder what would have happened if Bill Clinton hadn’t spoken up and recommended to obama that he start talking more positively about the economy and country. Would he continued his downward spiral of negative comments, blaming everyone but himself, etc.? Would the economy have faltered even quicker?

    I’m thinking it was too little too late for obama. I’m also thinking that some of those soundbites coming from him and Geithner have done a lot of damage.

  17. pm317 Says:

    March 5th, 2009 at 4:03 pm

    ————————————–

    I like your explanation better than mine…lol…

  18. admin Says:
    March 5th, 2009 at 3:03 pm

    HillaryGirl, that Obama TelePrompter story shows what a boob Obama is. We predict it will be on all the “Hillary” sites soon – it not it should be.
    ——————-

    Admin, you’re right. I would have written it for NQ but don’t have time (Susan is on it, though). I recently wrote a post entitled Intellectually Challenged President(shocking title but we need shock therapy to expose this bastard) where I talked about this issue.

  19. Sleeveless Mary Todd getting blamed in Britain (although we resent any comparison in any way with Hillary):

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/james_delingpole/blog/2009/03/05/was_lady_macbeth_behind_barack_obamas_snub_of_gordon_brown

    On US radio’s Garrison show today, I was asked for my reaction as a true born Englishman to President Obama’s double insult – first the sending back of the Winston Churchill bust, then his snub to Gordon Brown. “Tough one. Really tough one,” I said, torn – as most of surely are – between delight at seeing Brown roundly humiliated, and dismay at having the special relationship so peremptorily, cruelly and bafflingly ruptured.

    Iain Martin is quite right here: no matter how utterly rubbish we have become as a nation in the Blair/Brown years, Britain’s friendship is something Obama will come to regret having dispensed with so lightly. This was not the act of a global statesman, but of a hormonal teenager dismissing her bestest of best BFs for no other reason than that she felt like it and she can, so there.

    What was the guy thinking? In researching my new book Welcome to Obamaland, I discovered that Obama’s judgment is pretty dreadful – but this? My favourite theory so far – suggested by presenter Greg Garrison – was that it was a move calculated to please his Lady Macbeth. At the moment in Britain, we’re still in the “Doesn’t she look fabulous in a designer frock” stage of understanding of Michelle Obama. Gradually, though, we’ll begin to realise that she is every bit the terrifying executive’s wife that Hillary Clinton was. Or, shudder, Cherie Blair.

    We may just LURVE Michelle’s fashion sense. But Michelle doesn’t reciprocate our affection, one bit. Her broad-brush view of history associates Brits with the wicked white global hegemony responsible for the slave trade. Never mind that a white, Tory Englishman – William Wilberforce – brought the slave trade to an end. Judging by her record, Michelle does not make room for such subtle nuance. [snip]

    Here we see that she has mastered the authentic voice of grievance culture. She also – the thesis was written in 1985 – pre-empts the Macpherson report’s ludicrous, catch-all definition of racism: “A racist incident is any incident which is perceived to be racist by the victim or any other person.” No matter how hard young Michelle’s white undergraduate contemporaries try to be nice, it’s not their behaviour that counts, but how Michelle feels.

  20. We read about Mary Todd gift to Brown’s sons, but only now do we know what B.O. gave Brown:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1159627/Just-wanted-Barack-Obamas-blockbuster-gift-25-DVDs-Brown-reaffirm-special-relationship.html

    He had put clearly great thought into giving the U.S. President lavish gifts to signify Britain’s ‘special relationship’ with the U.S.

    During his historic trip to Washington, Gordon Brown gave Barack Obama an ornamental pen holder made from the timbers of the Victorian anti-slave ship HMS Gannet – once called HMS President.

    The unique present delighted Mr Obama because oak from the Gannet’s sister ship, HMS Resolute, was carved to make a desk that already takes place in the Oval Office in the White House, after being presented by Britain to the US in 1880.

    The Prime Minister went to the trouble of hunting down the perfect gift after becoming the first European leader invited to the White House by the new Commander In Chief.

    So it would be perfectly understandable if Mr Brown felt a little underwhelmed at the official gift he received in return.

    For despite being leader of the world’s most bountiful nation, President Obama handed over nothing more thought-provoking than 25 classic American films on DVD.

    It was the equivalent of receiving a pair of socks from an unfamiliar aunt at Christmas – and a less-than-glowing affirmation of the UK-US bond. [snip]

    Mr Brown also took to Washington a framed commission for HMS Resolute, a vessel that came to mark Anglo-US peace when it was saved from ice packs by Americans and given to Queen Victoria.

    He also gave a first edition set of the seven-volume classic biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.

  21. re Geithner:

    *Only one man doing the job of many, has a shadow staff of many advisors that have yet to be vetted or confirmed and who can’t help with the paperwork.”

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

    Energy Sec Chu complained of the same situation: no deputies yet. The Senate has been asking Obama to at least submit a list of candidates but Obama has not.

  22. Admin: Brown’s wife gave the Obama girls top shop dresses with matching necklaces and a set of classic English history or literature books. MO gave the Brown sons, plastic replicas of Marine 1 helicopters. I may have read this in the previous post (maybe Jan posted it). It is obvious, which couple gave more thought into the gifts presented.

  23. “He also gave a first edition set of the seven-volume classic biography of Churchill by Sir Martin Gilbert.”

    ———————————————————————————————————

    HA! Bo should of kept the bust of Churchill. It would have gone well, with the seven-volume biography of Churchill.

  24. h…./ no w’s
    sarahs-accomplishments.blogspot.com/2009/03/general-information-package-sarahs_05.html

    May be worth checking out!

  25. So know we definitely know the Obama’s are tight cheapskates.

    What next, do we give Angela Merkel, a plastic swaztica, Sarkozy, a toy frog, maybe a stuffed Kangaroo for the Aussie pm, and of course the obligatory Bear for Putin.

    Jesus, talk about protocol, this would never ever happen in ANY other administration, Republican or Democrat.

    Obama really is an AMATEUR and is creating one hell of a storm back in the UK. They are really offended with the snub. The British has scrubbed our back and stood with us for decades and although i canot stand Brown, Obama really has disrespected the whole of Great Britain

  26. Whoever is in charge of protocol in the WH must be insane…25 movies and plastic helicopters that anyone can buy in a gift shop?

  27. neetabug,
    I am sorry for your friend. I’m in a similar situation as I had to take early DB retirement from teaching coz of my condition. I’m afraid one day the monthly check, from a fund I paid into at the rate of almost 10% of my salary per year, may dry up with what’s going on in Wall Street.

    Admin,
    Congrats. you have scared the sh!t outta me!
    BTW, it is so embarrassing to have such a crude, classless couple representing us to Great Britain. My mother lived through the London blitz.

  28. I would like to know what the Fraud gave to Steve Wonder…I wonder if according to Mo’s thesis, we could conclude that Mrs Brown may feel a “victim” of racism?

  29. moononpluto

    The fumble of the gift was another example of lack of experience of them, and their staff.

    Admin, those are excellant points about the retirements. I had wondered what was going on myself. I know here in NM the teachers retirement fund has a scandal involving the Gov staff about strong arming them into investing in a deal that went backrupt.

    Although there are not that many, I wonder what is happening with the lottery winners that elected to leave their money in the pot for the lottery people to handle. The lottery winner in our neighborhood did not hire his Chirstmas Lights done this year. I have wondered why, but did not have the guts to ask.

    I think things are going bad for some of those winners also.

  30. JanH Says:

    March 5th, 2009 at 3:45 pm
    His addiction to the teleprompter is just plain laziness on his part or maybe also a touch of incomprehension of the big picture
    &&&&&&

    I think Hunter Thompson might have described it thusly: “You could smell the fear”.

    It’s fear of failure, and knowing deep down that he is a fraud, an empty suit who doesn’t know the issues. Having spent a full term in the Senate might have given him his “sea legs”, but instead, we have a captain who regularly gets sea sick. A captain who’s never been outside the marina. Pathetic.

  31. pm, thanks, you’re right, page 2 brings us more “special gifts”, too special to pass up.

    Enjoy!

    &&&&&&&&&&&&&
    Ari Fleischer, a former spokesman for George W. Bush, said while it’s entirely a matter of personal style, using a teleprompter at these smaller events has its drawbacks.

    “It removes you from the audience in the room,” Fleischer said. When speaking from notes, Fleischer said, the president can pick up his head and make eye contact with those in the audience, as opposed to focusing on the teleprompter to his left and right.

    Bush, Fleischer added, “would use the teleprompter for his major big events, but when he would travel around the country or do events, he would almost always work off of large index cards.”

    The White House says Obama’s point of reference is insignificant.

    “Whether one uses note cards or a teleprompter, the American people are a lot more concerned about the plans relayed than the method of delivery. This is not always true of the media,” said Bill Burton, deputy press secretary.

    Obama has never tried to hide his use of a teleprompter. It was a mainstay during the final months of his campaign. He brought it to county fairs and campaign rallies alike — and once had it set up in the ring at a rodeo.

    $$$$$$$$$
    In a break from his routine, Obama did not use a teleprompter during his pre-Inauguration speech at a factory in Bedford Heights, Ohio — and his delivery seemed to suffer. He paused too long at parts. He accentuated the wrong words. And overall he sounded hesitant and halting as he spoke from the prepared remarks on the podium.
    $$$$$$$$

    As president, the stakes in what he says are higher. Governing is not campaigning, and, as a former first-term senator, Obama has not held a previous elected position where his words carried even close to this level of influence.

    “In this kind of environment, you don’t want to make mistakes — on the economy you’re talking about doing things that affect the markets,” Kumar said.

    But be it extra precaution, style or a mental crutch, Obama has shown in the past that he needs the teleprompter. And while he still has his prepared remarks placed on the podium in a leather folder, the White House has shown no sign of trying to wean him off of it.

    Before Obama entered a room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Wednesday to announce his crackdown on defense contracts, a CNN reporter asked an Obama aide if the teleprompter could be moved further away from the podium or lowered. The answer was an unequivocal ‘no.’

    “He uses them to death,” a television crewmember who also covered the White House under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said of the teleprompter. “The problem is, he never looks at you. He’s looking left, right, left, right — not at the camera. It’s almost like he’s not making eye contact with the American people.”

    Wednesday’s event posed another scenario photographers and television crews have to work around. Obama had five others join him at the announcement, including Sen. John McCain. The takeaway shot was of Obama and McCain. But the teleprompter on Obama’s left was almost directly in front of McCain.

    “You couldn’t get a good angle on him with McCain,” said a White House photographer who also covered Bush. “So if there’s someone else important in the frame, it’s hard to get a shot without the teleprompter.”

  32. HillaryGirl, I got an email from Terry Macauliffe today. I loved Terry when he promoted Hillary, but if being behind the Governor’s race causes these statements, then I don’t know about him:
    “At a time when we desperately need to come together as a nation, Rush Limbaugh’s gone out of his way to sabotage our President – announcing publicly that he wants Barack Obama to fail.

    This kind of rhetoric does nothing but pollute our political process. That’s why after Rush reiterated his remarks at the Conservative Political Action Conference this weekend, I called on Bob McDonnell to condemn them. But so far, Bob’s refused to say anything that might offend the GOP’s ringleader.

    Now we need your help to apply some public pressure in order to make it happen.”
    ———————————————————–
    Why does Terry need Rush repudiated? How would it help him to belittle someone who spoke the truth [I want Obama to fail if he represents socialism and bankruptcy, and the downfall of our country iircc] I think that Terry would have agreed with him before the general election, or at least that was how he presented himself.

    What has happened to the people that I once admired and respected?

    Click here to tell Bob McDonnell to condemn Rush Limbaugh’s hateful remarks.

    Bob ought to use the leverage at his disposal and help the raise the level of debate. He seems to think he’s got some pull with national Republicans. Just last week he bragged to the Washington Post that, “‘Everybody who cares about the Republican Party nationally or everybody who wants to run for president in 2012 will be in Virginia’ this year.”

  33. He is worrying about Rush when he should be worrying about the economy.

    Governance zero. Politics uber alles.

  34. My bubble has burst. I am toppling. It appears he is no good at the ceremonial function either. A 360 degree flop he is. Nice touch by MO however. War toys for toys. Plastic at that–saves a tree. Looks green and it saves green.

  35. I am sorry to say this but the conspicous use of a teleprompter reinforces the notion that Obama is a puppet and the words he speaks are not his own. It is one thing to be a puppet, but it is even worse to appear to be one. Whoever is advising him is an unmitigated fool.

  36. With the economy collapsing around his ears why is anyone worried about Rush and his “hateful” remarks. Does the DNC think that kind of shit will cause the country to avert its eyes from that is really going on? So here at last you see the propaganda machine of the DNC gasping and wheezing unable to spew out enough a dark cloud large enough to cover up his mismanagement of our future. Now thats change you can believe in. As for big media, their twisted opinion no longer matters. Nobody believes they are credible.

  37. “He uses them to death,” a television crewmember who also covered the White House under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said of the teleprompter. “The problem is, he never looks at you. He’s looking left, right, left, right — not at the camera. It’s almost like he’s not making eye contact with the American people.”
    ———-
    This is my favorite part from the Politico article. I have belabored this point on all blogs I have been on since the primary. I called it the tennis thingy. How can he be a super class orator is he does not connect with his audience? Media bastards and gullible public.

    Hillarygirl, thank you for the link. It is up on NQ (no long commentary but most of the article).

  38. wbboei Says:

    March 5th, 2009 at 7:07 pm
    With the economy collapsing around his ears why is anyone worried about Rush and his “hateful” remarks. Does the DNC think that kind of shit will cause the country to avert its eyes from that is really going on? So here at last you see the propaganda machine of the DNC gasping and wheezing unable to spew out enough a dark cloud large enough to cover up his mismanagement of our future. Now thats change you can believe in. As for big media, their twisted opinion no longer matters. Nobody believes they are credible.

    ——————————————————————————————————-

    The over-the-top rxn to Rush is a total distraction. They are actually giving Rush more power, by paying so much attention to him. Rush is eating it up. This administration is off to a very rocky start.

  39. The Spending Is the Thing
    Obama is a pragmatist in pursuit of an ideological prize.

    By Rich Lowry
    March 3, 2009 12:00 AM

    When President Barack Obama wanted to push an $800 billion “stimulus” or “recovery” bill through Congress a few weeks ago, he thought an atmosphere of economic crisis helped his cause. So he repeatedly warned of “catastrophe,” of “a crisis that, at some point, we may not be able to reverse.” A little more than a week later, Obama moved onto his next priority, proposing a unbridled federal budget that will spend $3.6 trillion next year and $5.3 trillion more in the next ten years than the Congressional Budget Office was projecting just last year. To get revenue for this budgetary explosion, Obama assumes the economy will be recovering at a nice clip next year, at a 3.2 percent annual rate.

    What happened to the looming cataclysm? The Obama team argues that the passage of the recovery package has suddenly brightened the economic future. But there’s no way that $220 billion in extra government spending — the amount in the stimulus bill for 2010 — can be the margin of difference between irreversible catastrophe and healthy growth in a $14 trillion economy. Obama exaggerated the downside of the economy two weeks ago so he could get more spending, and now he’s exaggerating its upside so he can get more spending. The fixed goal is more spending. The means — the rhetoric, the arguments, the assumptions — are flexible so long as they serve that ultimate goal.

    The past few weeks should have cleared away the debate over Obama’s intentions — is he a pragmatist or an ideologue? Obama is a pragmatist in pursuit of an ideological prize, willing to zig and zag so long as his lodestar of expanded government is ahead of him.
    A trope of conservative commentary about the stimulus package was that Nancy Pelosi had rolled the neophyte Obama, producing a sprawling monstrosity that betrayed his talk of pragmatism. This missed the point — Obama’s deference to Pelosi was his pragmatism. By giving Pelosi running room and enduring a few embarrassments, he got what he wanted, which was as much new spending as quickly as the political system could bear. If barely any Republicans could support it, so what? Bipartisanship was a means, not an end.
    If Obama felt ill-used by this process, he wouldn’t be proposing to duplicate it with his health-care plan. Obama wants to give Congress a few principles and a $634 billion health-care slush fund, and let Congress go at it and write his health-care plan. How it works out exactly doesn’t matter so much than it gets done — and government grows.

    Obama has been truest to the centrist image he projected in the campaign in his national-security policy, backing away from Pres. George W. Bush’s practices more in his rhetoric than in his actions. He hopes foreign policy can be reasonably managed by his team of heavy hitters — Hillary Clinton, with her troika of special envoys, Richard Holbrooke, Dennis Ross, and George Mitchell — while he focuses on the more central goal of more domestic spending.
    Nothing can distract from that higher call. The financial crisis is still at the heart of our economic woes, but Obama has refused to grapple with it forthrightly. The contrast with Franklin Roosevelt — who acted immediately and forcefully to stem his (much more dire) banking crisis — couldn’t be starker. Why punt on the financial crisis? Because bold action means courting considerable political risk, and that could threaten the larger spending agenda. In this sense, the spending is evidently more important than recovery for Obama.

    Obama’s critics who accused him of “socialism” during the presidential campaign were roundly ridiculed. What rank name-calling! The charge didn’t have much resonance because the best (not particularly convincing) evidence for it was Obama’s proposed tax credit for workers who don’t pay the income tax. But Obama’s opponents read him well. He has the heart, if not the affect, of an ideologue. For him, above all else, the spending is the thing.

    article.nationalreview.com/?q=MGRhN2VmMmNkMDhkNWRmM2I0NjJkOGZkOTUzZjg0MzA=

  40. Apologies for the fright basil9.

    Another one quits:

    http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/05/gupta.surgeon.general/index.html

    Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, has withdrawn his name from consideration as surgeon general of the United States, an administration official said Thursday.

    “Sanjay Gupta was under serious consideration for the job of surgeon general,” the official said in an e-mail. “He has removed himself from consideration to focus more on his medical career and his family. We know he will continue to serve and educate the public through his work with media and in the medical arena.”

  41. Overuse of the teleprompter only tells me he depends on MO to tell him everything he needs to say. lol. Someone asked earllier: Why is it that Hillary rarely uses a teleprompter and also rarely looks at her notes when she is speaking while he continues to be so crippled in this way?

    My answer to that is BECAUSE SHE KNOWS HER SH!T – inside, outside, upside, downside – and he has sh!t for brains.

  42. And yet another quits:

    http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/090305/geithner_choice_withdraws.html?.v=1

    Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s top pick to be his deputy withdrew from consideration Thursday, a setback for the agency as it confronts the worst financial crisis in decades.

    Annette Nazareth, a former senior staffer and commissioner with the Securities and Exchange Commission, withdrew after several interviews and vetting of her financial history, a person familiar with Nazareth’s decision said.

    But this person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because Geithner never publicly named Nazareth as his choice, said no problems with her taxes or other issues arose.

    Nazareth, a partner at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, could not be reached for comment. Treasury and White House officials would not comment on the matter.

    Nazareth’s withdrawal from consideration comes as critics say Geithner’s lacks the senior staff he needs to make critical decisions about the financial crisis. Not one of his top 17 deputies has been named, let alone confirmed.

    Without senior leadership, lower-level Treasury employees can’t make decisions or represent the government in crucial conversations with banks and others.

    At a Senate hearing Thursday about failed insurance giant American International Group Inc. — which has received four separate bailouts totaling more than $170 billion — Sen. Chris Dodd said he had asked Treasury for someone to appear, but that no one was available.

    “I am not pleased that we don’t have someone here from Treasury to explain what their role in this is,” Dodd said.

  43. wbboei, I agree, appearance of being a puppet is much worse but I don’t think it is just an appearance problem here.

    a comment on NQ (even if this is true, we will never know):

    Obama is also using an IFB..in his last press conference ..when he was being asked questions by the media..he would hesitate for a long few moments and he was looking down..seriously looking down..he was listening to what he was being told his answers were to be…in his ear…I watched it screaming that ..he is using the IFB..my husband looked and said sure enough..he sure as hell is..

    I know this because in my husbands business he uses an IFB all the time.

    I have not one doubt he was using an IFB.

  44. Vetting Delays Obama Picks
    Review For Federal Appointees Has Intensified

    March 4, 2009
    (Washingtonpost.com) This story was written by Washington Post Staff Writers Michael D. Shear and Philip Rucker.

    An intensified vetting process has left dozens of President Obama’s picks to run the government mired in a seemingly endless confirmation limbo, frustrated and cut off from the departments they are waiting to serve and unable to perform their new duties.

    In the month since $146,000 in unpaid taxes and penalties forced former senator Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) to withdraw as the nominee to become secretary of health and human services, other appointees say an army of investigators from the White House, the FBI and the Senate has descended on them, demanding years-old receipts from business trips, examining minor charitable contributions, digging through 20 years of their associations, and leading them to hire accountants to field a web of complex tax questions.
    On Monday, a Senate committee revealed the results of an investigation of former Dallas mayor and Obama friend Ron Kirk, whose nomination to be the U.S. trade representative has been stalled since it was announced in mid-December. After combing through his finances for weeks, investigators discovered relatively minor tax mistakes involving basketball tickets, speech honoraria and a $1,500 television he donated to charity. In recent days, two more of Obama’s choices withdrew abruptly. Susan F. Tierney, who had been the leading candidate for the Energy Department’s No. 2 official, said she was no longer interested. And Jane Garvey, a former Federal Aviation Administration chief who had been rumored to be the top choice for deputy transportation secretary, also said she was no longer a candidate.

    the rest of the article can be found here…

    cbsnews.com/stories/2009/03/04/politics/washingtonpost/main4843131.shtml

  45. While trying to figure out why Gupta quit on the same day of the so-called Health Care summit, we came across another quitter:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123629285769044959.html?mod=djemalertNEWS

    Mr. Geithner’s pick for undersecretary for international affairs, Caroline Atkinson, has also withdrawn.

    The withdrawals are the latest stumbling block for Mr. Geithner, who has struggled to build a staff. Aside from Mr. Geithner, the department doesn’t have a single nominated official in place.

    People familiar with the decision say Ms. Nazareth withdrew in large part because of the long vetting process. But there was also some concern on Capitol Hill about her previous role at the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  46. Admin,
    NP. hehehehe. I’d rather know the truth no matter how bad it is. And since I have next to zero understanding of finaces and economics it’s great to read your commentary which is always so clear and consise. (not to mention funny as he!!)

    But I confess there have been days lately when i really am tempted to empty my modest bank account and bury the cash in the woods behind my cottage!
    I’ve been working on farming and agriculture articles up here in the Catskills and I’m meeting a lot of people with several hundred acres who still farm their land and i swear even though they’re mostly land rich and cash poor they’re in a heck of a lot better shape than most of us, if the sh!t hits the fan. They can still grow their own food, chop their own wood and be almost totally self-sufficient. I’m getting VERY friendly with some of them. LOLself reliant.

  47. “Sanjay Gupta was under serious consideration for the job of surgeon general,” the official said in an e-mail. “He has removed himself from consideration to focus more on his medical career and his family. We know he will continue to serve and educate the public through his work with media and in the medical arena.”
    ———————–
    And to spend more time with his family I am sure.

    Its good in one sense and bad in another. I like Gupta, and I think he would have done a good job. But he is wise enough to see the handwriting on the wall and does not want to be part of this administration.

  48. An Actor, a teleprompter and someone elses script. . . .

    IS THAT ALL THERE IS?
    Peggy Lee

    SPOKEN:
    I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire.
    I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up
    in his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement.
    I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames.
    And when it was all over I said to myself, “Is that all there is to a fire”

    SUNG:
    Is that all there is, is that all there is
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is

    SPOKEN:
    And when I was 12 years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth.
    There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears.
    And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads.
    And so I sat there watching the marvelous spectacle.
    I had the feeling that something was missing.
    I don’t know what, but when it was over,
    I said to myself, “is that all there is to a circus?

    SUNG:
    Is that all there is, is that all there is
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is

    SPOKEN:
    Then I fell in love, head over heels in love, with the most wonderful boy in the world.
    We would take long walks by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other’s eyes.
    We were so very much in love.
    Then one day he went away and I thought I’d die, but I didn’t,
    and when I didn’t I said to myself, “is that all there is to love?”

    SUNG:
    Is that all there is, is that all there is
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing

    SPOKEN:
    I know what you must be saying to yourselves,
    if that’s the way she feels about it why doesn’t she just end it all?
    Oh, no, not me. I’m in no hurry for that final disappointment,
    for I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you,
    when that final moment comes and I’m breathing my lst breath, I’ll be saying to myself

    SUNG:
    Is that all there is, is that all there is
    If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
    Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
    If that’s all there is

  49. basil9 Says:

    March 5th, 2009 at 7:39 pm
    birdgal,

    What’s up with your job?

    ———————————————————————

    My job is okay. It is my 401K fund that I am anxious about. But I’m not alone. I think I’ll be working until I’m 80.

  50. # pm317 Says:
    March 5th, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    wbboei, I agree, appearance of being a puppet is much worse but I don’t think it is just an appearance problem here.

    a comment on NQ (even if this is true, we will never know):

    Obama is also using an IFB..in his last press conference ..when he was being asked questions by the media..he would hesitate for a long few moments and he was looking down..seriously looking down..he was listening to what he was being told his answers were to be…in his ear…I watched it screaming that ..he is using the IFB..my husband looked and said sure enough..he sure as hell is..

    I know this because in my husbands business he uses an IFB all the time.

    I have not one doubt he was using an IFB.
    ********************************************************************

    I remember reading or hearing something about how they were going to use a small laptop?? set inside down low on the podium to feed obama answers to “POP” “on the fly” questions he might get at pressers etc……

    SO IS THERE ANY DOUBT HE WENT WITH THE IFB?????

    HE’S A STOOGE……. A SOCK PUPPET FOR SURE

  51. While reading this blog, I briefly glimpsed one of those crawls on my TV screen. I must have misread it, but it makes a lot of sense.

    I read: The Dow Jones Average dropped in 14 of the last 12 sessions. It might be impossible but it seems right to me.

  52. FROM THE TELEPROMPTER ARTICLE POSTED ABOVE:

    “Obama has never tried to hide his use of a teleprompter. It was a mainstay during the final months of his campaign. He brought it to county fairs and campaign rallies alike — and once had it set up in the ring at a rodeo.”

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  53. The Rats are jumping the “stinking” ship…..they are always the first to abandon

    How Long till the Inexperienced teleprompter dependent “Captain May I” jumps the shark i mean ship and leaves his crew to drown?

  54. Just how much will this “I wanna be a star” cost the taxpayers? And how often will tweedledee and tweedledum be doing this?

    I am so tired of all these “moments in the light” for this idiot. Does he honestly think this is all there is to being the president?

  55. I meant to add that this penchant he has for touring and talking to the little people is a waste of time. Rome is burning and obama wants to take a European holiday?

  56. I luv you administrator, but Annie Lennox’s recent comments on the Gazza war make her a zero in my book.

  57. Nobody in the whole damned gang can shoot straight!
    ———————————–
    Treasury secretary’s choice for deputy withdraws

    AP Business Writer Daniel Wagnerr – 15 mins ago
    Geithner: Worst financial mess ever

    WASHINGTON – The person Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner wanted as his chief deputy withdrew from consideration Thursday, dealing a setback to the understaffed agency as it struggles to address the worst financial crisis in decades.

    Annette Nazareth, a former senior staffer and commissioner with the Securities and Exchange Commission, made “a personal decision” to withdraw from the process, according to a person familiar with her decision.

    The decision followed more than a month of intense scrutiny of her taxes and multiple interviews. No tax problems or other issues arose during Nazareth’s vetting, said the person, who requested anonymity because Geithner’s choice of Nazareth was never announced officially.

    “She did put a great deal of consideration into the potential of taking the position, and she concluded that she really enjoys what she’s doing now,” this person said.

    Though popular in policy circles, Nazareth has drawn criticism for her role in creating what some considered to be lax oversight of the banking industry.

    Nazareth, 53, a partner at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell, could not be reached for comment. Treasury and White House officials said they would not comment.

    Geithner has been criticized for staffing his department too slowly as it grapples with a banking crisis that has crippled the economy. Uncertainty about Treasury staff also has unnerved financial markets.

    Five weeks into his tenure, he has yet to name a single top deputy or assistant secretary. This has left Treasury with too few people authorized to make decisions or represent the department in meetings with stakeholders.

    The department has been meeting with members of the financial services industry as it oversees the government’s $700 billion financial bailout and other parts of President Barack Obama’s financial stabilization plan.

    At a Senate hearing Thursday about failed insurance giant American International Group Inc. — which has received four separate bailouts totaling more than $170 billion — Sen. Chris Dodd said he had asked Treasury for someone to appear, but that no one was available.

    “I am not pleased that we don’t have someone here from Treasury to explain what their role in this is,” Dodd said.

    Geithner’s choice for undersecretary of international affairs, Caroline Atkinson, also withdrew from consideration, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

    Some at Treasury and other financial regulators had looked forward to Nazareth’s appointment. She is well-known in policy circles and is close with Geithner and Obama economic team members, including Paul Volcker, a former Federal Reserve chairman.

    Nazareth joined the SEC in 1998 as senior counsel to then-Chairman Arthur Levitt, later directing the Division of Market Regulation. She is credited with creating numerous key policy changes.

    She created the voluntary program intended to supervise large investment banks including Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and the now-defunct Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch. The program was canceled in September as the financial crisis erupted and the remaining investment banks converted themselves into bank holding companies.

    Some on Capitol Hill had expressed concern that Nazareth was too closely associated with the weak federal oversight that contributed to the banking collapse. Among her responsibilities at Treasury would have been overseeing the creation of a new regulatory system for large financial institutions.

    Geithner told a Senate panel Wednesday that he hoped “to come up for the committee soon with a full slate of very strong people.”

    “We’re doing this carefully, as you would expect, and … trying to make sure we have the best talent in the country,” he said.

    Geithner’s lack of a senior staff has raised concerns on Wall Street.

    “This doesn’t help confidence,” said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor’s in New York. “Geithner is stuck there all by himself trying to do everything. They don’t have anybody confirmed, and Treasury is a big shop to try to run with one person, especially right now.”

    Wyss, who previously worked at the Federal Reserve, said the administration needed to have made a much bigger push before taking office to get people cleared to take over the top jobs at Treasury so that Geithner could assemble his team quickly.

    David Jones, head of Denver-based economic consulting firm DMJ Advisors, said that Geithner’s missteps in putting together a financial rescue program and his inability to assemble a team at Treasury were raising concerns about whether the new administration’s economic team is up to the challenges confronting them.

    “There is no question that Wall Street is losing patience,” said Jones, who for more than three decades served as a top economist at a major bond trading firm. “If there was ever a time when we need an effective and strong Treasury secretary, it is now.”

    Jones said that investors had initially viewed the economic team that Obama was assembling favorably because it included experienced hands such as Summers and Volcker.

    “There were high expectations for this team, but at this time of crisis, it doesn’t seem to be functioning effectively,” Jones said.

    __

    AP Economics Writer Martin Crutsinger contributed to this report.

  58. Emjay Says:

    March 5th, 2009 at 9:28 pm
    Nobody in the whole damned gang can shoot straight!
    ———————————–
    Treasury secretary’s choice for deputy withdraws

    ——————————————–

    So for all the dims and media out there, how does your wunderkind look to you now???

  59. House turns back call for Murtha probe

    By PATRICK O’CONNOR & ALEX ISENSTADT | 3/5/09 8:32 PM EST

    The House on Thursday night turned back another call to investigate the PMA Group, a once-powerful lobbying firm whose offices were recently raided by the FBI and which has close ties to Pennsylvania Rep. John P. Murtha (D).

    Twenty-one Democrats, including nine freshmen, voted to proceed with debate on the measure offered by Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake (R) calling for an investigation of the lobbying firm. Most of the Democrats represent fiscally conservative districts.

    Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska?the focus of an unrelated federal corruption probe? voted with the Democrats to table Flake’s motion. He was joined by Republicans Walter Jones of North Carolina, Dana Rohrabacher of California and Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania, whose district abuts Murtha’s and who has been an outspoken supporter of his recently embattled neighbor.

    PMA is under investigation for allegedly making improper “straw man” donations to lawmakers. Murtha, who chairs the subcommittee that doles out defense spending, has had close ties to members of the lobbying firm.

    Flake offered a similar motion last week, also unsuccessful, to cut any earmark directed to PMA clients in a $410 billion government-funding measure.

    politico.com/news/stories/0309/19696.html

  60. Friday, March 6, 2009

    Clinton calls for bridges to be built with Russia

    SECRETARY of state Hillary Clinton has called for a fresh start in the West’s increasingly turbulent relationship with Russia through pursuing dialogue with “our eyes wide open”. She has also asked Nato members to provide more support to its Afghanistan mission and called for an international conference to be held this month to discuss the conflict. “I don’t think you punish Russia by stopping conversations with them,” said Mrs Clinton yesterday, after attending her first Nato ministerial meeting as secretary of state.

    At the meeting, Nato ministers agreed to resume formal contacts between the transatlantic alliance and Russia for the first time since the war in Georgia.
    Lithuania initially opposed the resumption of contacts as Russia has not implemented the terms of a ceasefire drawn up during the Georgian conflict, which called for Russia troops to leave all areas of Georgia, including the disputed enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. But after hours of discussion it finally dropped its opposition, following strong US support for the resumption of the Nato-Russia Council, the body that directs dialogue on security issues between the transatlantic alliance and Moscow. French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner told the media the opposition was “tenacious” but he supported the Nato decision. “If you don’t talk, can you move ahead?” he asked.

    Mrs Clinton said the debate was vigorous and she understood the concerns of states in eastern Europe that had lived under Soviet occupation. But Nato must co-operate with Russia to combat terrorism and nuclear proliferation and to promote arms control, she said. “We think this kind of dialogue with Russia has the potential of easing tensions and solving problems and we pursue it with our eyes wide open,” said Mrs Clinton, who meets Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov for her first substantive talks today in Geneva.

    US-Russian relations began well under president George Bush who, after attending his first meeting with former Russian president Vladimir Putin in Slovenia in 2001, famously told the media he had looked into Mr Putin’s eyes and felt he could trust him.
    Relations deteriorated, however, as growing oil and gas wealth enabled Mr Putin to expand Russia’s influence in Ukraine and Georgia, both of which are currently candidates to join Nato.

    Mrs Clinton said Nato membership must be kept open for the two ex-Soviet states and said the US would work with Nato to ensure they would not be the subject of Russian intimidation or aggression. But she acknowledged that Russia’s help was required in Afghanistan. “We can and must find ways to work constructively with Russia, where we share areas of common interest, including helping the people of Afghanistan,” she said. Russia has agreed to open a northern transit route to provide an extra supply line to the Nato mission in Afghanistan, which is coming under severe pressure from the Taliban. The US is currently carrying out a major review of its strategy in Afghanistan and Mrs Clinton has proposed holding an international conference on March 31st to map out a new strategy. She said this should be a “big tent” meeting open to all nations and civilian organisations with an interest in the Afghanistan conflict, including its neighbour Iran. She said the fact that US vice- president Joe Biden would come to Nato next week to continue consultations on ideas and potential contributions in Afghanistan was a good measure of just how much importance the Obama administration attached to it. The US has called on European members of Nato to provide more troops for the conflict, but without much success.

    irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2009/0306/1224242372701.html

  61. the Teleprompter President presents: Political Karaoke with Oblabla

    (credit to pm317 and another over at NoQuarter for the combination of ‘Political Karaoke and Oblabla)

    what will he do if it breaks down…god help us…what will he do without it? no, don’t take his tele from him, anything but that…take Michelle, his cabinet, his stimulus plan, his health reform, his omnibus, his basketball…anything, but not his tele…NO, NEVER!

    we don’t want to say we told you so…but remember this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hSnEMV58F8&eurl=http://www.redstate.com/streiff/2009/03/05/obama-loves-his-teleprompter/

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/19663.html Obama’s Safety net – His Teleprompter

    http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/2009/03/05/from-a-reader-a-writer/

    comments from many who are fed up all over the net…

    …How lucky are we, a totally inexperienced politician, thinks he is the embodiment of Lincoln, FDR, MLK, JFK and Reagan…as long as he has his tele…is able to spread himself like peanut butter on bread…very thin…but with no tele…the dream ends…

    clue to the White House – none of those guys, except maybe Reagan, used TELEPROMPTERS

    hell…get Steve Wonder and Earth, Wind and Fire to the WH fast so we can get that conga line going while the stock market goes to 5000…he can’t worry about that, O has a million things to do at once to even try to focus on any one thing…

    …how insulting to the American people…great communicator, my —!

    more like watching Mr. tennis head – yeah, words matter, as long as you can read…

  62. MUST READ Articles from Bmerry’s blog today therealbarackobama.wordpress.com/

    Pundita: Countdown to disaster: Massive U.S. borrowing knocks other governments and private borrowers out of capital markets, skyrockets the cost of money

    snippet:

    How are donor countries going to come up with that kind of money, on top of increasing their financial commitment to the IMF, when they’re having to borrow heavily just to keep their own economies afloat?

    They’ll have to borrow it. As he said, the money to help the poorest countries will have to be included in the donor countries’ stimulus packages, which they’re having to borrow to create.

    Has Messr Strauss-Kahn got any idea how to manage all that borrowing without touching off global hyperinflation?

    That’s an off-limits question because it’s a reality question, which doesn’t actually exist until — well, until the ship is sinking.

    Loudon: The Communists, Obama and the Cesar Chavez Holiday Campaign
    March 5, 2009 by Procrustes

    snippet:

    Obama has been quoted recently to say:“As farmworkers and laborers across America continue to struggle for fair treatment and fair wages, we find strength in what Cesar Chavez accomplished so many years ago and we should honor him for what he’s taught us about making America a stronger, more just, and more prosperous nation. That’s why I support the call to make Cesar Chavez’s birthday a national holiday. It’s time to recognize the contributions of this American icon to the ongoing efforts to perfect our union.”

    The anniversary of Cesar Chavez’s birthday is due March 31.

    It will be very interesting to see what President Obama does to progress “notable Obama supporter” Evelina Alarcon’s goal of a Cesar Chavez national holiday.

  63. Jan

    I have been meaning to say thank you to you for posting all the hillary info here

    so….. THANK YOU! 😀

  64. FROM PUMA’S UNLEASHED

    March 5, 2009
    Obama’s lost Control of the Fed.. Geithner impotent!
    March 5 (Bloomberg) — The Federal Reserve Board of Governors receives daily reports on bailout loans to financial institutions and won’t make the information public, the central bank said in a reply to a Bloomberg News lawsuit.

    The Fed refused yesterday to disclose the names of the borrowers and the loans, alleging that it would cast “a stigma” on recipients of more than $1.9 trillion of emergency credit from U.S. taxpayers and the assets the central bank is accepting as collateral.

    Fed secrecy was the focus of a Senate Banking Committee hearing today in which the panel’s top two members said the central bank’s reluctance to identify companies benefiting from the American International Group Inc. bailout risks undermining public confidence in the government.

    more to read here: pumasunleashed.wordpress.com/

  65. djia Says:

    March 5th, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    ————————

    Thanks very much! And thank you for all the wonderful articles you’ve been posting. LOL…there are so many good ones that I apologize for not responding for more of them. But I do enjoy reading. 🙂

  66. This is the part that got me in the Wall Street article admin quotes about Bots having buyer’s remorse:

    They were a vital part of Bill Clinton’s coalition, were cozying up to Hillary, but bolted for Obama the minute they heard him speak about social justice, the need to reform the nation’s energy policy, the necessity to end the war in Iraq, and most of all, how the past eight years of George W. Bush elevated mediocrity to new heights.

    They have no one to blame but themselves for deciding fancy rhetoric outweighed experience when it came to choosing a president.

  67. “They have no one to blame but themselves for deciding fancy rhetoric outweighed experience when it came to choosing a president.”

    ——————————–

    Exactly! Unfortunately the ones who didn’t drink the koolaid are having to suffer alongside the ones who thought he walked on water.

    Obama is an equal-opportunity destroyer.

  68. ZZzzzzzzzING!!!!!!!!

    Ari Fleischer Zings MSNBC: Should Dems Denounce Keith Olbermann?
    By Scott Whitlock | March 5, 2009 – 18:10

    Former Bush White House press secretary Ari Fleischer appeared on the Thursday edition of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” and stopped the program cold when he challenged the hosts as to whether they were “going after Democrat members of Congress for why they aren’t distancing themselves from Keith Olbermann?” Co-anchors Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, who had been discussing the battle between the White House and Rush Limbaugh, were silent for a moment before Brzezinski admitted, “That was a good one. We’re all thinking.”

    Fleischer pressed, “That’s my point. It’s a one-sided debate because, largely, the press loves it because the press doesn’t like Rush.” The quip occurred after Brzezinski attempted to trap Fleischer into saying that he would be following the tactics of attacking the radio host, were he in the same situation as the Obama White House. After Fleischer’s jibe, Scarborough started sipping from his coffee and attempted to toss the potential network hot potato over to the show’s other guest, Mike Barnicle. Scarborough joked, “I’m going to have a – I can’t talk right now because I’m drinking. Mike?” A few seconds later, however, the token MSNBC conservative did admit, “No, that was good.”

    newsbusters.org

  69. Obama’s UN Ambassador Married to ‘This Week’ Executive Producer
    By Noel Sheppard | March 5, 2009 – 14:32

    The unholy alliance between the White House and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos goes beyond mere conference calls with President Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

    The executive producer of “This Week” is married to newly-confirmed United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice.

    Such was reported by Commentary magazine’s Jennifer Rubin Thursday:

    newsbusters.org

  70. Judas did not want to be a distraction, the repo from New Hampshire decided there were irreconcilable differences and he could be more useful in the senate, daschel did not want to be a distraction, gupta decided private practice and public advocacy was where his heart was, geithners pick has concluded that what she really enjoys what she is doing now–nobody in their right mind is eager to book passage on the good ship Titanic under the inspirational much beloved by big media Captain Obama. Hope, change, man the lifeboats.

    I wonder why . . . .

    “She did put a great deal of consideration into the potential of taking the position, and she concluded that she really enjoys what she’s doing now,” this person said.

  71. My dear friends and Admin. here at big pink: I have had to slow down an regroup my thoughts and fears of what has happened to our great democracy at the hands of a useless congress and led by a power hungry racial egomaniac.This person will turn out to be a traitor far worse than aaron burr.and stupid greedy americans have no one to blame but themselves.I still believe he cares little about being president and his goal is to become the global leader of all blacks in every country.With adulation and feelings of guilt that he has so skillfuly imposed on the white population of this country he has led us into an invasion of our country.
    I keep seeking any and all news about Hillary and the magnificent strength wisdom and skill she has brought to the role of SoS as no one before her as ever acheived.With MSM boycotting almost all of her news making efforts for peace every where she visits,we are left to be bombarded by Obamacrats and their desire to become a welfare society.As I said in the past,I lived and survived the depression of the thirties when bankers and stock losers were bailing out of their office windows,crushed by their losses and way of life.That was a cake walk compared to what is happening today.Then we had FDR to bring us back from its depth.Today we have a repeat by the same financial criminals with the help of our congress and led by a snake oil salesman Barack Hussein Obama taking us on a journey with no end in sight but chaos.

    By ABM90 Try going to picasaweb.google.com-sahrahERodrigues-Hillary for a slide show of over 300 photos of Hillary

  72. Admin–thank you for embedding the Peggy Lee video clip. This song has real depth. It is existentialism, nihilism and Obama all wrapped in one. It is the endgame of all true believers. It the despair of those who worshipped at the alter of a god that failed. It is the bots lament twenty years from now. It is what I liked most about Peggy Lee. She figured it out before most of us did.

  73. INTERESTING…….

    President Obama’s czar system concerns some
    He has ‘super aides’ for healthcare, the economy, energy and urban issues, with more to come — prompting some lawmakers and groups to worry that he may be concentrating power and bypassing Congress.

    By Tom Hamburger and Christi Parsons
    March 5, 2009
    Reporting from Washington — As President Obama names more policy czars to his White House team — high-level staff members who will help oversee the administration’s top initiatives — some lawmakers and Washington interest groups are raising concerns that he may be subverting the authority of Congress and concentrating too much power in the presidency

    Read More:

    latimes.com/news/nationworld/washingtondc/la-na-obama-czars5-2009mar05,0,1528130.

  74. Politico also seems to be having a series of lover’s tiffs with their fave recently.
    ———————————
    Obama’s safety net: the TelePrompter

    President Barack Obama doesn’t go anywhere without his TelePrompter.

    The textbook-sized panes of glass holding the president’s prepared remarks follow him wherever he speaks.

    Resting on top of a tall, narrow pole, they flank his podium during speeches in the White House’s stately parlors. They stood next to him on the floor of a manufacturing plant in Indiana as he pitched his economic stimulus plan. They traveled to the Department of Transportation this week and were in the Capitol Rotunda last month when he paid tribute to Abraham Lincoln in six-minute prepared remarks.

    Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter is unusual — not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events, large and small.

    After the teleprompter malfunctioned a few times last summer and Obama delivered some less-than-soaring speeches, reports surfaced that he was training to wean himself off of the device while on vacation in Hawaii. But no such luck.

    His use of the teleprompter makes work tricky for the television crews and photographers trying to capture an image of the president announcing a new Cabinet secretary or housing plan without a pane of glass blocking his face. And it is a startling sight to see such sleek, modern technology set against the mahogany doors and Bohemian crystal chandeliers in the East Room or the marble columns of the Grand Foyer.

    “It’s just something presidents haven’t done,” said Martha Joynt Kumar, a presidential historian who has held court in the White House since December 1975. “It’s jarring to the eye. In a way, it stands in the middle between the audience and the president because his eye is on the teleprompter.”

    Just how much of a crutch the teleprompter has become for Obama was on sharp display during his latest commerce secretary announcement. The president spoke from a teleprompter in the ornate Indian Treaty Room for a few minutes. Then Gov. Gary Locke stepped to the podium and pulled out a piece of paper for reference.

    The president’s teleprompter also elicited some uncomfortable laughter after he announced Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as his choice for Health and Human Services secretary. “Kathy,” Obama said, turning the podium over to Sebelius, who waited at the microphone for an awkward few seconds while the teleprompters were lowered to the floor and the television cameras rolled.

    Obama has relied on a teleprompter through even the shortest announcements and when repeating the same lines on his economic stimulus plan that he’s been saying for months — whereas past presidents have mostly worked off of notes on the podium except during major speeches, such as the State of the Union.

    Ari Fleischer, a former spokesman for George W. Bush, said while it’s entirely a matter of personal style, using a teleprompter at these smaller events has its drawbacks.

    “It removes you from the audience in the room,” Fleischer said. When speaking from notes, Fleischer said, the president can pick up his head and make eye contact with those in the audience, as opposed to focusing on the teleprompter to his left and right.

    Bush, Fleischer added, “would use the teleprompter for his major big events, but when he would travel around the country or do events, he would almost always work off of large index cards.”

    The White House says Obama’s point of reference is insignificant.

    “Whether one uses note cards or a teleprompter, the American people are a lot more concerned about the plans relayed than the method of delivery. This is not always true of the media,” said Bill Burton, deputy press secretary.

    Obama has never tried to hide his use of a teleprompter. It was a mainstay during the final months of his campaign. He brought it to county fairs and campaign rallies alike — and once had it set up in the ring at a rodeo.

    In a break from his routine, Obama did not use a teleprompter during his pre-Inauguration speech at a factory in Bedford Heights, Ohio — and his delivery seemed to suffer. He paused too long at parts. He accentuated the wrong words. And overall he sounded hesitant and halting as he spoke from the prepared remarks on the podium.

    As president, the stakes in what he says are higher. Governing is not campaigning, and, as a former first-term senator, Obama has not held a previous elected position where his words carried even close to this level of influence.

    “In this kind of environment, you don’t want to make mistakes — on the economy you’re talking about doing things that affect the markets,” Kumar said.

    But be it extra precaution, style or a mental crutch, Obama has shown in the past that he needs the teleprompter. And while he still has his prepared remarks placed on the podium in a leather folder, the White House has shown no sign of trying to wean him off of it.

    Before Obama entered a room in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Wednesday to announce his crackdown on defense contracts, a CNN reporter asked an Obama aide if the teleprompter could be moved further away from the podium or lowered. The answer was an unequivocal ‘no.’

    “He uses them to death,” a television crewmember who also covered the White House under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush said of the teleprompter. “The problem is, he never looks at you. He’s looking left, right, left, right — not at the camera. It’s almost like he’s not making eye contact with the American people.”

    Wednesday’s event posed another scenario photographers and television crews have to work around. Obama had five others join him at the announcement, including Sen. John McCain. The takeaway shot was of Obama and McCain. But the teleprompter on Obama’s left was almost directly in front of McCain.

    “You couldn’t get a good angle on him with McCain,” said a White House photographer who also covered Bush. “So if there’s someone else important in the frame, it’s hard to get a shot without the teleprompter.”

  75. The mark of a great leader is resiliency. When the corrupt anti democratic powers denied Hillary the presidency she sought and obtained the positon of sos. Instead of solving our problems from the inside she is doing it from the outside. All I ask of Obama is that he support her 100% for the sake of the country.

  76. # wbboei Says:
    March 5th, 2009 at 6:59 pm

    I am sorry to say this but the conspicuous use of a teleprompter reinforces the notion that Obama is a puppet and the words he speaks are not his own. It is one thing to be a puppet, but it is even worse to appear to be one. Whoever is advising him is an unmitigated fool.

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

    Yes, absolutely without a doubt, the words are not Obama’s because they are not coming from his own thoughts. Obama is the political equivalent of a “NEWS READER” like Mika Brzezinski.

    I read somewhere Rush challenged Obama to a debate.. now that would be a ticket worthy event.

    One wonders during the debates, if Obama was using an IFB device when he stumbled through answering questions when debating Hillary… Remember, they always had her answer first?

  77. # Emjay Says:
    March 5th, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    Dr. Gupta has withdrawn from nomination for US Surgeon General “to focus on his medical career.”
    *************************************************************************

    That one line certainly says it all rather LOUDLY does it not?

    everyone knows this ain’t no good ship lollipop but rather the titanic ll and they are running away so fast in every direction that obama may end up with whip lash at the next “great teleprompter oracle staged event”

  78. The title of President of the United States seems to far too pedestrian when you have all these Czars reporting to you. To rectify this embarrassing situation, I would suggest that Mr. Obama devise a new seal which reads Grand Exalted Ruler With Credentials Under Court Seal.

  79. Mrs. Smith: would it be fair to say that Obama is really nothing more than a talking head? If so then this partially explains his allure to the media celebrities. He is just like them.

  80. sounds to me like the Queen is going to put “that one” in his place…LOL!! and catch another big “shame on you Barack” at the end

    Yes One can

    By GEORGE PASCOE-WATSON
    Political Editor

    Published: Today
    rigTeaserImage
    THE Queen is to give Barack Obama a private “getting-to-know-you” audience next month.

    Her Majesty will meet the new US President in advance of an economic summit in London.

    The private meeting is highly unusual because Mr Obama will not be on a State visit.

    But advisers believe it is important the Queen — who opened an interchange in Hull yesterday — meets him before any official trip.

    Visit … Barack Obama

    Visit … Barack Obama

    A source said: “There is a wish to do these things as discreetly as possible in the first instance.”

    President Obama, famed for his Yes We Can slogan, will fly with wife Michelle on Air Force One to Stansted, Essex.

    The private talks will be held the next day at Buckingham Palace.

    Mr Obama will then join the G20 leaders for a Downing Street dinner on the eve of the summit on April 2.

    Last night it emerged he gave Gordon Brown 25 top US movies as a gift after talks in the US.

    Mr Brown’s wife Sarah gave Mr Obama’s two daughters Topshop outfits. And the First Lady gave Mr Brown’s two boys toy helicopters.

    thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/royals/article2299172.ece

  81. “Whether one uses note cards or a teleprompter, the American people are a lot more concerned about the plans relayed than the method of delivery. This is not always true of the media,” said Bill Burton, deputy press secretary.
    ———————————————-
    How does Burton know what the American People care about? Has he made a life study on the subject, or is he just being the same snearing presumptious wiseguy we saw in the campaign. It may come as a great surprise to you Mr Burton, but people do care about the means of delivery when they indicate that the speaker is not the author of the words and thoughts conveyed. Even stage actors do not resort to such an obvious crutch. It makes Mr Obama appear to be nothing more than a newsreader, which reinforces the perception that he is unqualified.

  82. [I want Obama to fail if he represents socialism and bankruptcy, and the downfall of our country iircc]

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

    If this or something like it was what Limbaugh really said, then apparently he’s being badly misrepresented.

    See Russia from my house … Africa is a country … Girls can’t do math … Invented the internet….

  83. [I want Obama to fail if he represents socialism and bankruptcy, and the downfall of our country iircc]
    ———————————
    If you read Rush’s comments in context that is what he was saying. The DNC empowered him when they attacked him and Steele disenpowered himself when he did so.

  84. My dear friends and Admin. here at big pink: I have had to slow down an regroup my thoughts and fears of what has happened to our great democracy at the hands of a useless congress and led by a power hungry racial egomaniac.This person will turn out to be a traitor far worse than aaron burr.and stupid greedy americans have no one to blame but themselves.I still believe he cares little about being president and his goal is to become the global leader of all blacks in every country.With adulation and feelings of guilt that he has so skillfuly imposed on the white population of this country he has led us into an invasion of our country.
    ——————————————
    ABM: there are economic forces in play now that have great destructive potential if they are not properly managed. Obama claims to be an economist but he is a gadfly. Hillary is the only superstar. The rest of his inner circle and he himself are backbenchers who think they can navigate the ship of state and the world through this perfect storm. Even with Hillary in command this would be difficult but we would be back on a proper course wherea with Obama the ship is in irons and the current is pulling it into a riptide.

  85. Admin. it is as you say the economy. The polls confirm this, cabinet appointees drop like flies, yet the public supports him and fails to connect the dots. Why?

    Three reasons are possible. Either: i) election hopium has not warn off, ii) they have been desensitized by the media, or iii) they do not want to face the consequences of acknowledging there is no there there.

    As to the first possibility, consider the case of Gordon Brown. Yes, he was snubbed by Obama qua in the gift department and the Churchill Bust. But the slaveship thing from Browns end is really no better.

    If I were instructing a jury I would caution them that it is possible to look at a man who is half black and happens to be President without thinking of a slave ship. But evidently that is what Brown sees–which makes me wonder who owns Gordon Brown–Lord Highcross perhaps.

    That said, I would not dismiss the slave ship analogy altogether because it does have some relevance here. But contrary to what Brown believes, it is more appropos of Obamas constituents than it is of Obama. Lest we forget, they are the ones who froze in the Chicago slum while Barack was soliciting Rezko help in buying a mansion for himself and Mary Todd. He was more of an overseer than a slave.

    Now of course, he has the pen set from the hull of a slave ship. A nice conversation piece I am sure. But it is reminiscent of the executive who has a stuffed cape buffalo head in his den but has never been to Africa.

    The second possibility is desensitization by the media. At the conclusion of the primary William advanced a disturbing possibility that we live in a big media controlled totalitarian state.

    I have thought about that statement many times as the events of the past year unfolded, and wondered if he is right–and if he is right whether there is any corrective mechanism, any righting moment like naval architects talk about which causes a ship to roll in one direction and then in the other to avoid capsizing.

    Getting back to SLA Marshall, another thing he apparently said is that 2 out of 3 soldiers will obey a command which is morally wrong because of the influence of authority. Can it be any lower than that in the general population? And who is the voice of authority in this case? The President and his amen corner in Main Stream Media.

    But surely you say they will sound the alarm when the seawater comes over the gunwhales. Haa. Its like the old Perry Como song: dream on–little dreamer dream on.

    The third possibility seems most compelling to me. They do not want to face the possibility that there is no there there. Why is that?

    Apart from the fact that nobody likes to be wrong because it is an admission that your thinking was defective and you are not nearly as smart as you want other people to believe and if you were wrong about that what about everthing else you opined on, you are fallible, etc there is something more important in the scheme of things.

    People cling to faith when they have nothing else to cling to. It is not as if they have any institutional alternative at this point. For better or for worse the die has been cast for the next four years as a result of this past election. And for that reason, many scared people are inclined to impute to him mystical qualities which they know in their heart he does not have. He is in that sense perhaps their shaman.

    How do you break thorugh these defenses and in the words of Miguel Cervantes to see life as it is, rather tha as you might hope it would be. More specifically, how do you do that when the propaganda machine is spinning out lies and half truths.

    We must stay at it, show them the truth and Mr Obama will do the rest. The refusal of so many qualified people to sign on this voyage is symptomatic of a problem. Let those who have eyes to see see. Let those who have ears to hear listen. Maybe then the truth will get through. And when we have the truth we can see past false gods to real solutions. Then and only then is there real “hope”.

  86. wbboei Says:

    March 6th, 2009 at 12:58 am
    Obama is an embarrassment.

    ——————————–

    Sometimes a simple statement of 4 words says it all!

    Obama is an embarrassment.

  87. Clinton in Brussels: she’s got them eating out of her hand

    March 6, 2009 11:09am

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has just finished a question-and-answer session with a group of so-called “young Europeans” at the European Parliament in Brussels. Even though her performance lasted less than an hour, by the end she had them eating out of her hand and she received a standing ovation. The best moment came when she caught sight of a semi-shaven man sporting an “I love Hillary” T-shirt. She said she simply had to take a question from him because of what he was wearing. The guy turned out to be an English-speaking gay rights activist from Moldova, and he wanted to know what the Obama administration would do for the world’s gays and lesbians. Putting on her best stateswoman-like face, Clinton replied: “Human rights is and always will be one of the pillars of our foreign policy. In particular, persecution and discrimination against gays and lesbians is something we take very seriously.” Lots of applause followed.

    Clinton’s performance was brilliantly executed in that she pitched her message at exactly the level the European audience wanted. They wanted to hear an American talk like a European, and that’s what they got.

    Take the battle against climate change, an area where Europe – not entirely correctly – thinks it’s leading the world and the US has been lightyears behind. “Certainly the US has been negligent in facing up to our responsibilities,” she told a Belgian questioner. “We are making up the best we can for lost time.”

    Or take her answer to an Irishwoman who asked if the US found it difficult to understand the complexity of European Union institutions. Yes, she said, but “I often find Europeans confused about the way the United States government operates… Democracies must be careful that we don’t become so process-driven and overwhelmed by the procedural aspects of decision-making that we are in effect paralysed.” That reply got a big round of applause from her audience, who appeared mostly to be brainy people working for the EU who would know all about things getting too “process-driven”.

    Of course, her best line came at the start when she called Europe a “miracle” because of the way it had overcome two world wars and a century of fanaticism and put itself on the path of peaceful, prosperous integration. “Europe is enjoying its longest period of peace since Roman times,” she said, displaying a grasp of 2,000 years of history that is just the kind of thing Europeans think the average American doesn’t have a clue about.

    Clinton was the highest-ranking US visitor to the European Parliament since President Ronald Reagan in 1985. It was a clever move to go there on her first trip as secretary of state to Europe. But that’s what you’d expect from such a seasoned political operative.

    blogs.ft.com/brusselsblog/2009/03/clinton-in-brussels-shes-got-them-eating-out-of-her-hand/

  88. President Barack Obama dislikes Britain, but he’s keen to meet the Queen

    Iain Martin Mar 6, 2009
    at 12:44:22 [General]

    President Obama has been rudeness personified towards Britain this week. His handling of the visit of the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to Washington was appalling. First Brown wasn’t granted a press conference with flags, then one was hastily arranged in the Oval office after the Brits had to beg. Obama looked like he would rather have been anywhere else than welcoming the British leader to his office and topped it all with his choice of present (*) for the PM. A box of 25 DVDS including ET, the Wizard of Oz and Star Wars? Oh, give me strength. We do have television and DVD stores on this side of the Atlantic. Even Gordon Brown will have seen those films too often already.

    This was coupled with Michelle Obama’s casual choice of gifts for the Brown sons – matching models of the helicopter which ferry her husband around. While Sarah Brown had spent time choosing gifts for the Obama girls, Michelle had clearly sent an aide to the White House gift shop at the last moment.

    All in all, he doesn’t think much of us, as I explained in my post here earlier this week. But what’s this? Something, suddenly, seems to have made the Obama White House perk up and start to take an interest in the Brits. The Queen has invited the President to tea when he’s here for the G20 in April. And he’s in through the front door of Buckingham Palace faster than a Harley Davidson roaring along Route 66.

    Note how the coolness of Team Obama disappears when a bit of regal glamour is introduced into the equation. He might not like the Brits, but he can recognise a global superstar when he encounters one. He wants to be associated with her. He’s shameless.

    If Obama, or someone in his inner circle, had spent two minutes thinking about what present to get Brown then they could easily have come up with something appropriate. He likes books. He loves American history. Get him a signed first edition of a good Robert Dallek book such as the brilliant Flawed Giant on LBJ. Come to think of it, Obama should read it too, if he hasn’t yet, as it reveals a great deal about how a Presidency can go so wrong.

    blogs.telegraph.co.uk/iain_martin/blog/2009/03/06/president_barack_obama_dislikes_britain_but_hes_keen_to_meet_the_queen

  89. Ginsburg plans to stay on high court for years, despite cancer

    By Joan Biskupic, USA TODAY

    WASHINGTON — One month after her surgery for pancreatic cancer, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said Thursday she expects to be on the Supreme Court for several more years. In an interview, she also vividly recalled why, on her second day back on the bench, she attended President Obama’s televised speech to a joint session of Congress.
    “First, I wanted people to see that the Supreme Court isn’t all male,” the lone female justice said of the evening event Feb. 24. “I also wanted them to see I was alive and well, contrary to that senator who said I’d be dead within nine months.”

    Ginsburg was referring to a prediction by Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., three days before Obama’s speech, in which he said she would likely be dead from the pancreatic cancer within nine months. Bunning later apologized for the comment.

    Ginsburg, who will be 76 on March 15, underwent surgery Feb. 5. Doctors removed a small malignant lesion from her pancreas. All lymph nodes proved negative for cancer and no metastasis was found, according to a statement from the court. A decade ago, Ginsburg survived colorectal cancer. She spoke Thursday in her chambers, a temporary, smaller office than usual because of the court’s ongoing renovation. Ginsburg appeared in fine form, getting up often to retrieve books to show a visitor. She has resumed her usual schedule of conferences, dinners and travel.

    http://www.washington/judicial/2009-03-05-ginsburg_N.htm

  90. Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Dow

    It’s hard not to see the continued sell-off on Wall Street and the growing fear on Main Street as a product, at least in part, of the realization that our new president’s policies are designed to radically re-engineer the market-based U.S. economy, not just mitigate the recession and financial crisis.

    The illusion that Barack Obama will lead from the economic center has quickly come to an end. Instead of combining the best policies of past Democratic presidents — John Kennedy on taxes, Bill Clinton on welfare reform and a balanced budget, for instance — President Obama is returning to Jimmy Carter’s higher taxes and Mr. Clinton’s draconian defense drawdown.

    online.wsj.com/article/SB123629969453946717.html

  91. Deception at Core of Obama Plans
    By Charles Krauthammer

    WASHINGTON — Forget the pork. Forget the waste. Forget the 8,570 earmarks in a bill supported by a president who poses as the scourge of earmarks. Forget the “$2 trillion dollars in savings” that “we have already identified,” $1.6 trillion of which President Obama’s budget director later admits is the “savings” of not continuing the surge in Iraq until 2019 — 11 years after George Bush ended it, and eight years after even Bush would have had us out of Iraq completely.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2009/03/a_dishonest_gimmicky_budget.html

  92. President Obama, famed for his Yes We Can slogan, will fly with wife Michelle on Air Force One to Stansted, Essex.
    ————————————————————————————————
    I wonder if her dress will be sleevless.

    I wish i was in England now. I was always going in and out of Stansted airport.

  93. So who is on the other end of the ear piece, we know who writes his speeches? Is it the guy who writes his speeches?

    Therefore I guess we really elected him to the Presidency.

  94. Obama touts stimulus, 25 jobs at a time — but can he keep pace with slide?

    Twenty-five down, 3,499,975 to go.

    A more than decent number of balls are floating in President Obama’s air, but only one bears watching. (Yes, bears.)

    New (bad) job numbers are out, and the president is touting jobs saved by the stimulus package, back in a purple state, again.

    From the White House, on the president’s trip Friday: “The President will deliver remarks at the Columbus Police Graduation Exercises. The 25 Columbus police recruits graduating Friday learned in January that instead of being sworn-in as officers, they would be let go. However, Mayor Michael Coleman announced last week that he would use money from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to pay the recruits’ salaries so they could keep their jobs.”

    Yes, 25 jobs. Just wait until that new Arby’s opens out on Route 50. . . .

    blogs.abcnews.com/thenote/2009/03/the-note-3609-j.html

  95. Clinton in Brussels: she’s got them eating out of her hand
    ————————-
    Hillary is a world leader whereas Obama is a world symbol.

    Whereever she goes in the world she receives respect and outpourings of support.

    They see what many in the United States fail to–that she is the greatest leader of country has produced since Roosevelt. And now she belongs to the
    world as well as to us.

    I love that on the one hand but I cannot escape the simultaneous feeling that something of value has been lost.

    Why does the world appreciate what we in this country take more for granted or get twisted about. The answer is always the same–big media and the hatred it feels toward Hillary and ultimately the American People. They are the central problem.

  96. wbboei,

    If we honestly analyze the over the top hatred that the media and dims feel towards Hillary, what do we come up with? What is the root cause? It can’t just be jealousy or gender.

    I’m at a loss for this unwarranted and definitely biased behavior on their parts.

  97. Obama touts stimulus, 25 jobs at a time — but can he keep pace with slide?

    Twenty-five down, 3,499,975 to go.
    ——————————–
    This is right up there with go buy stock it is cool. Now, its lets play cards.

    The name of the game is piss in the ocean, jokers are wild, the ante is two trillion dollars . . .

  98. Obama touts stimulus, 25 jobs at a time — but can he keep pace with slide?

    Twenty-five down, 3,499,975 to go.

    —————————————-

    I’m waiting for one of his royal waves and “let them eat cake” moments. That must have taken so much out of him. No wonder he is going on a European vacation.

  99. Clinton Calls Europe an ‘Essential Partner’

    March 6, 2009
    BRUSSELS — In her first visit to Europe since taking office, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday promised a rejuvenated trans-Atlantic relationship, and offered a preview of what she hopes will be a fresh start in frayed relations between the United States and Russia. Receiving a jubilant welcome from 500 interns and other young people at a town-hall meeting at the European Parliament, Mrs. Clinton described Europe as the “essential partner” for the United States in climate change, fighting terrorism, and recovering from the global economic crisis.

    Hours before flying to Geneva for a closely-watched meeting with the Russian foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, she said the Obama administration wanted to work with Moscow, even while it objects to Russia’s behavior in Georgia and elsewhere. “We’re testing the waters; we’re determining what is possible; we’re turning the pages; we’re resetting buttons,” Mrs. Clinton said in an interview with National Public Radio in Brussels. “We’re doing all kinds of things to create more partners and fewer adversaries.”

    Mrs. Clinton has a crowded agenda for her meeting with Mr. Lavrov, including arms-control talks, Afghanistan, Iran, and the proposed American missile defense system for Eastern Europe, which the Russians oppose and about which President Obama has been showing some flexibility. On Thursday, the United States helped push through a decision by NATO to resume high-level consultations with Russia, which had been suspended last summer after the war in Georgia. Saying that the Bush administration’s approach to arms control had been plagued by “infighting,” Mrs. Clinton said she wanted to pursue a new arms control agreement with Russia that would replace the START-1, the last Cold War-era arms pact, which will expire this year. Mrs. Clinton also appeared to leave the door open for talks with Russia on missile defense, saying the United States had several missile defense systems, beyond the one planned for Poland and the Czech Republic.

    President Obama recently said, in a letter to the Russian president, Dmitri A. Medvedev, that the United States would be flexible on the deployment of missile interceptors, while also seeking Russia’s support in the campaign against the Iranian nuclear program.

    In her session at the European Parliament, the assembly’s president, Hans-Gerd Pöttinger, praised Mrs. Clinton, saying she sounded “like a European.” The election of Mr. Obama, he predicted, would allow the administration to “restore your country’s influence and its standing around the world.”

    In contrast to town-hall meetings in Asia two weeks ago, which touched on personal issues like work and family, Mrs. Clinton fielded mainly substantive questions about American foreign policy. A Scottish rights activist, for example, wanted to know what the United States planned to do about Jewish settlements in the West Bank. Mrs. Clinton offered only the formal American statement that the United States regards settlements as “unhelpful” to the peace process. On other topics, she was more expansive. Mrs. Clinton noted that on climate change policy, “we are long overdue in stepping up.” In a rare public swipe at the previous administration on foreign soil, she said “the United States has been negligent in facing up to its responsibilities.” Mrs. Clinton said the Obama administration’s stimulus package contained provisions to encourage the development of energy efficiency and clean-energy sources. Noting that the economic crisis had helped push these measures over political hurdles in Congress, she invoked a recent comment by Mr. Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel: “Never waste a good crisis.”

    The only place where Mrs. Clinton put a foot wrong was in answering a question about democracy, when she declared that “our democracy has been around far longer than European democracy.” The remark drew raised eyebrows and scattered murmurs from the audience. Mrs. Clinton’s intention, it appeared, was to compare the United States to Europe’s experiment in trans-national democracy, the European Union.

    While Mrs. Clinton said she was looking forward to dinner with Mr. Lavrov, she cautioned that the United States and Russia still had plenty on which they disagreed, including Russia’s efforts to stop former Soviet satellites from joining NATO or its use of energy as a “tool of intimidation.” “Our engagement with Russia in no way undermines our support for countries like Georgia,” Mrs. Clinton said. “We are entering into our renewed relationship with our eyes wide open.”

    While in Brussels, Mrs. Clinton held meetings with three key European officials: Javier Solana, the European Union’s high representative for foreign policy; Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European commissioner for external affairs, and Karel Schwarzenberg, the foreign minister of the Czech Republic, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.

    nytimes.com/2009/03/07/world/europe/07diplo.html?hp

  100. If we honestly analyze the over the top hatred that the media and dims feel towards Hillary, what do we come up with? What is the root cause? It can’t just be jealousy or gender.

    I’m at a loss for this unwarranted and definitely biased behavior on their parts.
    ———————————-
    The greatest single cause is misogny.

    It is a worse disease than racism.

    It is institutional and intergenerational. It infects fellow travellers like Andrea Mitchell and it infects Campbell Brown. That plus high school jealosies. They command the stage until Hillary comes in and then she fills the room.

    There are other reasons as well, e.g. resentment toward Bill, and ideological differences, and a fear of her power and popularity.

    Ironically, most of the people who criticize her have never even met her. When they do meet her often they change their opinions–Larry at No Quarter, Richard Mellon Scaiffe, etc.

    Where the newsrooms are concerned there is fact recited above that 2 out of 3 people will do what is morally wrong if authority commands them to do so.

  101. “Now we have the US with us” – Europe on Clinton.

    March 6, 2009 2:18pm

    So, that’s it, folks, Hillary Clinton has wrapped up her first visit to Brussels as US Secretary of State, and now she’s off to Geneva for a session of talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

    What struck me most about Clinton’s visit to Europe was, first, how eager the Europeans were to stress that Europe and the US are singing from the same songsheet on a whole range of issues, now that Barack Obama is in the White House; and, secondly, how Clinton did nothing to pour cold water on that notion.
    One of the most obvious examples is the fight against climate change, where Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the European Union’s external relations commissioner, went so far as to say: “Now we have the US with us.”

    You could say that some of Clinton’s reassuring remarks in Brussels – “A strong Europe is a strong partner for the United States” – were just platitudes. But everything needs to be put in perspective. When George W. Bush was in the Oval Office, when Dick Cheney was vice-president and when Donald Rumsfeld was at the Pentagon, the Europeans felt unloved and to some extent unwanted.

    These were times when the US was not averse to exploiting policy divisions inside the EU’s member-states, much like China and Russia have been known to do. When this sort of mischief-making is cooked up in Washington, it hurts the Europeans almost as if a father is doing it to his kids.

    For the moment, then, the message is out: under Obama and Clinton, both the substance and style of foreign policy are going to be different. Unilateralism is out. Crude ideology is out. Alliance-building, a sense of responsibility and pragmatism are in. That has been the point of Clinton’s two big trips over the past couple of weeks to Asia and Europe. But the world is a harsh place these days. Major crises can explode in unexpected places at unexpected times, as 9/11 showed. How will the new US foreign policy survive a test like that?

    blogs.ft.com/brusselsblog/2009/03/now-we-have-the-us-with-us-europe-on-clinton/

  102. wbboei Says:

    March 6th, 2009 at 10:44 am

    ——————————————–

    And yet she is the “chosen one” for their rants. No rhyme or reason.

    I would also suggest that of those media, many as they are, that got on the obama bandwagon, have egos that refuse to admit they are wrong. For the few who have stepped up, begrudgingly so, they qualify their criticisms more often than not.

  103. I would also suggest that of those media, many as they are, that got on the obama bandwagon, have egos that refuse to admit they are wrong.
    —————————–
    I think it is more that just ego because they were at it before the pretender ever appeared. I believe it is misogyny and I shove it back in their faces in a polite but persisten manner every chance I get. At some point they become embarrassed and slink away.

  104. In the end, I have to wonder how many media firings, network and periodical collapses will happen with the economy in such dire straits. With obama at the helm of this catastrophe, the world as we know it is going to change like never before.

  105. The way its done is to find out whether their opinion is based on some their perception of her character or her policies. If it is the former, then it is important to establish that they have never met her, and often the people who harbored such feelings change their minds once they do. If it is the latter, then I say things like think how much better off we would be today if they had allowed her to establish universal health care in the early 90s. If its macho types I point out that 34 flag officers supported her candidacy. Hardly any support barcrack.

  106. The one other trick I learned which I learned from a Texas cowboy journalist is when you are about to tell someone something they dont know you say as you know . . .

  107. JanH Says:

    March 5th, 2009 at 10:02 pm
    Friday, March 6, 2009

    Clinton calls for bridges to be built with Russia
    &&&&&&&&&&

    Would these be built in Alaska?

    Will they be called “Bridges to Nowhere, Part 2”?

    Will Gov. Palin fight is as unnecessary pork?

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