Oh Boy, Right Again – Let X Equal X, Part II

How right have we been? On the left hand column of this website we post several article series. Both series have been right on target. The first “Obama Is The Third Bush Term” was mocked when first published but every day more articles confirm what we wrote last year.

When we wrote the Guantanamo section of our Obama Is The Third Bush Term there was more mockery from the Hopium addled. Again, on a daily basis, our initial analysis is proven correct.

The Obama administration is moving toward reviving the military commission system for prosecuting Guantánamo detainees, which was a target of critics during the Bush administration, including Mr. Obama himself. [snip]

Continuing the military commissions in any form would probably prompt sharp criticism from human rights groups as well as some of Mr. Obama’s political allies because the troubled system became an emblem of the effort to use Guantánamo to avoid the American legal system. [snip]

When President Obama suspended Guantánamo cases after his inauguration on Jan. 20, many participants said the military commission system appeared dead.

But in recent days a variety of officials involved in the deliberations say that after administration lawyers examined many of the cases, the mood shifted toward using military commissions to prosecute some detainees, perhaps including those charged with coordinating the Sept. 11 attacks.

“The more they look at it,” said one official, “the more commissions don’t look as bad as they did on Jan. 20.”

Obama can’t be trusted.

Still, during the presidential campaign Mr. Obama criticized the commissions, saying that “by any measure our system of trying detainees has been an enormous failure,” and declaring that as president he would “reject the Military Commissions Act.”

Today, the Dimocrat run House of Representatives spoke to the issue of Guantanamo.

Unveiling the House version of war spending bill, House Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D., Wisc.) didn’t include the funds, complaining that the administration has not yet developed a clear plan to wind down operations at Guantanamo and relocate the detainees, either abroad or in the U.S.

“When they have a plan, they’re welcome to come back and talk to us,” Mr. Obey said.

Mr. Obama has issued an executive order ordering the facility be shut down in one year. The administration still has some authority to shift dollars around the budget to help begin the process. But Mr. Obey suggested a “concrete plan” will be needed before lawmakers approve any direct funding to shutter the facility.

The U.S. Senate will have its say soon on war funding and Guantanamo. Don’t expect much from newly minted Dimocrat Arlen Specter. Our initial reaction to Specter’s defection appears to be on target as well. Dimocrats will have their 60 vote majority but our challenge to actually get things done won’t be met. Re-election comes first and there is the Supermajority Paradox.

For all the breathless speculation that Arlen Specter’s defection has changed everything in the Senate, yesterday’s Democratic leadership loss on mortgage “cramdown” actually suggested the opposite is happening — and leadership’s hand is actually becoming weaker.

There’s an emerging Supermajority Paradox: The closer Dems get to a veto-proof majority, the greater their difficulty in wielding their 59 to 60 votes to upset the status quo.

Dimocrats, like the Republicans, before them have to pay the piper but that does not explain why the people’s business is secondary.

Thus the paradox. As Democrats approach the magic number of 60, each member of their caucus becomes more valuable, more powerful and more apt to buck leadership in the name of self-interest — and the preservation of the Supermajority.

* * * * *

The second series in our left hand column is The Shame Of The Democratic Left. In that series we discuss “The misogyny, sexism and gay-bashing by Democrats that occurred in the 2008 election cycle….” In that series we discuss Dimocratic Party chair Howard Dean and his “good German” excuse for not stopping the sexism and misogyny during the Democratic primary process.

Now, one of the websites we have written about before, one of the websites which shamed itself by trashing “Sarah Palin about her daughter’s behavior and her mother-in-law’s behavior, held a perverse “lottery” to determine when Palin would withdraw, chose Obama because he was the “media darling”, and acually dared to declare Obama will be one of our greatest presidents – comparable to FDR.” is discussing a book about bloggers about to be published Eric Boehlert’s “Bloggers on the Bus: How the Internet Changed Politics and the Press”.

In Chapter 9, there is a discussion of misogyny. The website which itself acted shamelessly has a discussion on what is in Chapter 9.

The most startling quote on the subject in the book comes from Chris Bowers during the 2008 Presidential primary – “[Was sexism] somehow pervasive throughout the entire blogosphere? I certainly have not seen that.” [snip]

But how about Susie Madrak – “It’s disgusting and repellant. It’s a real sustained problem that’s out of control. I think there are a lot of Democratic women that are very very angry with the Netroots right now.”

How about Digby – “When people assumed I was a man they reacted to me in a certain way. the minute it became known I was a middle aged woman, — Oh God the worst of possibilities! — people reacted to it differently. I’m not an idiot. I can tell.”

How about Melissa McEwan? Boehlert describes her reaction:

McEwan became increasingly unnerved by what she saw of the sexist coverage of Clinton, and how the progressive blogosphere, having embraced Obama, let so much of it pass without comment. . . . Worse was the fact that over time, she couldn’t shake the feeling that portions of the netroots were actually pushing the sexist stuff.

How about Jane Hamsher’s rationalization for this behavior? “I think there might be a lack of sensitivity to sexist coverage. . . . I think that if you are a man you just do not see it that fast.” What does it mean if you do not see it at all Jane?

The most ironic reaction Boehlert recounts comes from Booman (with whom I was quite friendly at one time), who, according to Boehlert, admitted that

[H]e was so “pissed off” [at Clinton] . . . that he lowered his outrage threshold in terms of defending Clinton against sexist broadsides.”

How do you lower your threshold below zero, Booman?

What makes Booman’s confession ironic is how he first built up his site – by taking advantage of the original “pie fight” – the battle over Daily Kos’ (I was a front page poster at Daily Kos at the time) running of an ad for a new Gilligan’s Island television program that featured a pie fight between the new Ginger and Maryanne. When Markos made the blatantly sexist remark about the “sanctimonious women’s studies set” (a remark roundly and rightly blasted by many, including Daily Kos front pagers like myself and Meteor Blades. Markos later apologized for the remark), Booman made a big show of trashing Markos for it and offering his site as a welcoming haven for feminists. Booman had his own history of rather sexist comments so his newly found awareness of the importance of fighting sexism was quite, um, convenient.

Of all the episodes of the 2008 primary wars, to my mind, the pervavsive acceptance, even encouragement, of sexism and misogyny remains the most shameful and the one that must be remembered. Progressives abandoned one of the most basic tents of progressivism – all due to their love of one politician and their loathing of another politician. It should never have happened. And it is a wound that has not been addressed forthrightly.

That website has plenty to answer for too as we have noted repeatedly.

We’ll watch to see how honest Eric Boehlert himself addresses the issue of sexism and misogyny.

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90 thoughts on “Oh Boy, Right Again – Let X Equal X, Part II

  1. Admin,

    If I were the dims and the media, I would be terrified of what you reveal next. Excellent analysis once again!

  2. ACORN charged with voter registration fraud

    May 4, 2009

    Nevada authorities are accusing the political advocacy group ACORN and two former employees of illegally paying canvassers to sign up new voters last year.

    Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto filed charges Monday alleging the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now had a handbook and policies requiring employees in Las Vegas to sign up 20 new voters per day or be fired. Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller and Masto say that’s voter registration fraud, and it violates state law banning quotas for registering new voters.

    A criminal complaint filed in Las Vegas Justice Court accuses ACORN and two former employees of 39 low-level felonies.

    ACORN spokesman Scott Levenson in New York blames rogue former employees for the allegations. He says ACORN will fight the charges in court.

    kvbc.com/Global/story.asp?S=10298977&nav=menu107_2

  3. How about Jane Hamsher’s rationalization for this behavior?
    ********
    I wonder how Jane feels about “FOCA not high priority” and “need to tamp down the anger”..that even pissed off my Obot sister….ODD Obama strikes again!!!

  4. Instead of prosecuting ACORN, lets just stipulate that it is a corrupt organizaton. Intead of worrying about whether Obama was born in the United States lets just stipulate that the citizenship requirement set forth in the constitution means nothing. Instead of pretending that foreign foreign contributions are illegal, lets just stipulate that Obama is not held to the same standard because that would be racist. Instead of pretending this is a democracy, lets just stipulate that this is an obligarchy and that certain men are above the law. When you get done stipulating you wonder whether there is anything left really worth preserving. Anyone left to fight wars, pay taxes, and the other things the middle class did, when there was one. The rationale for doing so becomes ever more tenuous and elusive.

  5. Of all the episodes of the 2008 primary wars, to my mind, the pervavsive acceptance, even encouragement, of sexism and misogyny remains the most shameful and the one that must be remembered. Progressives abandoned one of the most basic tents of progressivism – all due to their love of one politician and their loathing of another politician. It should never have happened. And it is a wound that has not been addressed forthrightly.

    —————————

    AMEN

  6. We have to wary of punks like David Sirota who hate Hillary and are determined to rewrite the history of the primary. Sexism was not a factor he says. Even if it was, racism was a bigger factor again he says. WTF? He claims to be a populist, but the truth is he is an anti populist left wing screed.

  7. Anyone left to fight wars, pay taxes, and the other things the middle class did, when there was one.
    *************
    I can remember when the middle class considered education as a way for their children to advance; now the fight is to keep the religious right from sending the American education system back to the Bronze Age.

  8. sadly some of the worst sexist offenders were so called progressive women…TM, J@TL, Stephanie Miller, Randi Rhodes, many of the women on HP … the whole damn lot of hypocrites made me ashamed of every respecting them for having any objectivity or integrity…no joke was too low a blow if it was meant for Hillary or Sarah…

    as for the so-called progressive men, they showed their true colors and agendas…and most of them were pathetic…

  9. Buffett Sees Massive Inflation to Handle Staggering Debt

    Monday, May 4, 2009 2:34 PM

    By: Dan Weil Article Font Size

    Faced with a staggering national debt relative to the rest of the world, Buffett says the U.S. government will do what every country that has denominated its debt in its own currency has done — “inflate its way out of the burden of that debt.” (Saul Loeb/Getty Images)

    The explosive rise of the U.S. budget deficit and debt burden will lead to serious inflation down the road, says billionaire and Obama supporter Warren Buffett.

    The Congressional Budget Office predicts that government debt will peak around 54 percent of GDP in 2011.

    But Buffett told CNBC Monday morning that the ratio could surpass 80 percent — unless there are significant spending cuts or tax increases.

    After a testy exchange with Sen. Judd Gregg, who suggested that President Obama’s plans to hike federal spending would only increase the nation’s staggering national debt, Buffett relented by stating that, in the end, the U.S. government simply will do what every other government has done in such circumstances.

    “A country that continuously expands its debt as a percentage of GDP and raises much of the money abroad to finance that, at some point, it’s going to inflate its way out of the burden of that debt,” Buffett said.

    Experience proves that, he points out.

    “Every country that has denominated its debt in its own currency and has found itself with uncomfortable amounts of debt relative to the rest of the world, in the end they inflate,” Buffett explains.

    “That becomes a tax on everybody that has fixed dollar investments.”

    Of course, it’s likely that these trends also will mean a serious swoon for the U.S. dollar.

    Buffett also suggested that dollar denominated investments like T-bills won’t be a wise investment, in the long run.

    Elsewhere in the economy, Buffett sees unemployment rising further. “Who knows where it tops out,” he says. But, “it will top out eventually.”

    Buffett remains bullish long-term for the economy. “We have a wonderful economy over time,” he says.

    We do come out of recessions, Buffett says.

  10. I heard on the last thread that Hillary canceled some appt. today because she is sick. I think she has looked very sice for the last week or so. Her allergies must really be bad. They got bad during that extended primary, but she made every campaign stop, even if she could not talk. This seems unusual for Hillary, Hmmm!

  11. In other words, Obama will destroy everyone who survives on a fixed income.
    *********
    Bush/Obama….Ah, for the Clinton days when it was budget surpluses for a far a the “eye could” see. Two sociopaths with father issues have totally screwed the country.

  12. OT: Obama Official Kareem Dale Confirms White House’s Love for MSNBC

    latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/05/white-house-msnbc.html

  13. # wbboei Says:
    May 4th, 2009 at 11:05 pm

    In other words, Obama will destroy everyone who survives on a fixed income.

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

    Yes- tonight, Brian Williams announced a 2yr moratorium on cost of living raises for SS recipients. Every City and Town is feeling the bite of the foreclosure crisis. With municipal Real Estate Tax revenues down by the millions, school closings, budget cuts and unprecedented layoffs affecting services. The America we once knew is turning into the newest Third world country where a poverty level existence will be in the middle class majority eclipsed only by the homeless and indigent.

  14. SHV, speaking about the Clinton days… I found this article yesterday but don’t know if it’s been posted..

    Obama needs Clintonomics, and Soon

    w w w .newsmax.com/ruddy/Clinton_book_Reagan/2009/05/01/209743.html?utm_medium=RSS

  15. unprecedented layoffs affecting services
    *********
    One of the few sectors doing well are universities….Foreign student applications, especially Chinese, are way up. The universities love it; bright, highly educated and motivated students and with money to pay the tuition. In order to further tap into this market, the SAT exams are going to be given in Hong Kong and Singapore.

  16. # SHV Says:
    May 4th, 2009 at 11:35 pm

    One of the few sectors doing well are universities….Foreign student applications, especially Chinese, are way up. The universities love it; bright, highly educated and motivated students and with money to pay the tuition. In order to further tap into this market, the SAT exams are going to be given in Hong Kong and Singapore.

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

    An amazing phenomena..hmm..

  17. We dwell on the lies and inconsistencies of Obama as if they mattered. I certainly do. But in doing so, I tend to miss the larger point which was illuminated by the article I posted earlier today. It is as important and relevant of an insight as you will find.

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090503_buying_brand_obama/
    What we are betting on is that at the end of the day the facts will matter. If we have an L shaped recovery, unemployment gets worse, Obamas policies fail and there is pain, then people will say 2+2=4. We need a new leader.

    But as this article reveals, the other side is busy building an alternative world and a pseudo reality to insulate him distract us from the failure of his policies. In that world he is infallible even when he fails.

    The difference between the two worlds could hardly be more stark. when we see Obama spend money like a drunken sailor while millions of Americans lose their jobs, we say he is out of touch with reality and he is. But those who worship him say look at his style and panache.

    As time goes on and things get worse, those people will find increasing comfort in the pseudo world of entertaninment and escape of comfortable illusions as opposed to the real world where there is pain and consequences. They will not reject him because he has failed.

    Every day now they pound us with images of him, speeches, bumper stickers, magazine covers, toys and every other artifice and device to fix that image subtly and subconsciously in our brains.

    The implications of this are clear. In order to defeat candidate Obama we must destroy the Obama brand. It is not enough to point out his lies, inconsistencies and failures. If they call us racists for doing this we can remind them of what Jack Wheeler said–that he is Arab, and has not a drop of AA blood in him–it is all a charade.

    With the exception of FOX news big media on the other side, mythmaking until hell wont have it anymore. Their goal is to sedate the American People, so they do not become despondent or rebellious as the economic situation gets worse. In the 1930s they had Astaire and Rogers in tux and evening gown. It is the same here. Bamboozle.

    I cannot provide an a to b to c roadmap for how we fight this thing but I do know some things we are doing are right. Part of it has to show how artificial it is and the tele meme certainly advances that cause. There need to be more interviews with people who have lost their jobs. But we must also find his Achilles heel, and that may be the fact that if he does not hate this country he is at least ambivalent about it.

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090503_buying_brand_obama/

    at I am betting on is that when there is real pain, a the lies and inconsistencies of Mr. Obama. And we wonder sometimes why it fails to sink in with people. We think of them as gullible, we show them how they were deceived, yet nothing they just hunker down. Why is that.

  18. Sorry about the last paragraph above. I forgot to edit it out. But the point is we need to ask people like ABC questions like: do you consider yourself a serious journalist? The why do you fail to tell us the truth about the economy? Have you interviewed any of the 600,000 Americans who lost their jobs last month? Why do you spend your time worrying about the dog? How do you like being a White House shill? Where is your social conscience?

    The purpose of these questions is to force lax, lazy, intimidated journalists to do their jobs and to give the American People the reality check they need beyond their own narrow path, and ultimately to see Mr Obama as he is beyond the roar of the crowd and the smell of the grease paint and without the warm embrace of tele.

  19. Bush/Obama….Ah, for the Clinton days when it was budget surpluses for a far a the “eye could” see. Two sociopaths with father issues have totally screwed the country.
    —————————
    That is about the size of it. But they had help from the far right on the one hand and the far left on the other, and neither group of true believers figured out that both of them were serving the same master and the pseudo leader they were supporting was out to screw THEM.

  20. Yes- tonight, Brian Williams announced a 2yr moratorium on cost of living raises for SS recipients. Every City and Town is feeling the bite of the foreclosure crisis. With municipal Real Estate Tax revenues down by the millions, school closings, budget cuts and unprecedented layoffs affecting services. The America we once knew is turning into the newest Third world country where a poverty level existence will be in the middle class majority eclipsed only by the homeless and indigent.
    ————————————————————–
    If Obamas 3.6 trillion dollar budget causes crushing debt, if doubling the money supply causes hyper inflation as Buffet predicts, and if Obama cancels the cola as he is doing, then the survival of the middle class will be in jeopardy. It is just that simple.

  21. But they had help from the far right on the one hand and the far left on the other, and neither group of true believers figured out that both of them were serving the same master and the pseudo leader they were supporting was out to screw THEM.
    *************
    Again, at a fundamental level, the political spectrum is circular and not linear. Was Stalin different from Hitler, other than that Stalin had more time to kill more people and died before he could exterminate Soviet Jewry?

  22. Again, at a fundamental level, the political spectrum is circular and not linear. Was Stalin different from Hitler, other than that Stalin had more time to kill more people and died before he could exterminate Soviet Jewry?
    —————————————–
    Right. And before they attack eachother the left and right often join hands to destroy the center. In the last century, the Kerensky government in Russia, the Weimar Repulic in Germany, etc. were the victims of both the left and right.

  23. Not everyone agrees that the first hundred days of glory have been all that glorious. No current member of big media sans FOX is willing to countenance that possibility because they want to preserve their jobs, access and influence. But one former bureau chief for NYT believes that Barack has blown it by his decision to elevate wall street over main street and loot the middle class. Given a choice between helping banker buddies with bailouts vs helping main street with social safety nets and jobs, he looted the treasury to benefit banker buddies. The writer seems surprised, but the mold was set that way long ago, when he helped Rezko and screwed his constituents, a later helped Eccelon and screwed constituents.

    by Chris Hedges
    Featured Writer
    Dandelion Salad
    Truthdig
    April 27, 2009

    Barack Obama has squandered his presidency. He had a fleeting moment to challenge the casino capitalism and financial recklessness of our economic and political elite. He could have orchestrated a state socialism that would have provided a safety net for tens of millions of Americans faced with dislocation and misery. The sums he has doled out to Wall Street could have been used to force companies to keep workers on the job or create new banks to open up credit. But he lacked the foresight and the courage to challenge entrenched power. And now we are headed down one of two frightening roads—massive deflation or hyperinflation. Neither will be pleasant.

    Hyman Minsky—an economist largely ignored during his lifetime and now held up as something of a prophet—argued that speculative bubbles, and the financial collapses that follow them, are an inevitable consequence of unregulated capitalism. Minsky, an economics professor at Washington University in St. Louis who died in 1996, warned: “The normal functioning of our economy leads to financial trauma and crises, inflation, currency depreciations, unemployment and poverty in the middle of what could be virtually universal affluence—in short … financially complex capitalism is inherently flawed.” He called for socialized banking and stimulus packages to protect workers.

    Our Minsky moment, however, has passed. Obama did not introduce radical measures to change our financial structures. And the outlook, even from Obama’s chief financial advisers, is very gloomy. The U.S. economy will continue to contract “for some time to come,” said Lawrence Summers, director of the White House National Economic Council. “I expect the economy will continue to decline,” with “sharp declines in employment for quite some time this year,” Summers said Sunday on “Fox News Sunday.”

    The International Monetary Fund has forecast that the U.S. economy will shrink 2.8 percent this year and have no growth in 2010, with unemployment rising to 10.1 percent.

    Deflation, for the moment, remains our most immediate threat. The Labor Department reported that in March the consumer price index fell 0.4 percent over the last year, the first decline in over 50 years. Home values have fallen in the last year by 18 percent. Our current deflation is not the massive deflation endured during the Great Depression, but if it continues, and it becomes sustained, it will wreck our economy. I suspect that the few trillion dollars thrown at an economy that may have lost as much as $40 trillion in wealth means deflation will win out.

    A sustained deflation, such as the one that has afflicted Japan, would make it much harder for borrowers, who would have less cash, to pay off debt. It would fuel more defaults, see more bankruptcies and dry up credit. It would lead to a fall in wages. Those attempting to sell houses, or any other products, would watch helplessly as the value of what they own evaporated.

    Classical economic theory states that when you pump huge sums of money into the economy you produce inflation. And Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke would like to trigger inflation to relieve the heavy debts weighing on many banks and investment houses. Inflation, because it reduces the value of the dollar, effectively devalues debts and reduces what many owe. This push toward inflation is why we have low interest rates. This is why we are printing and borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars. And this is why projected deficits are almost beyond comprehension.

    The Congressional Budget Office recently released its analysis of the Obama administration’s 10-year budget proposal. The projected deficit for fiscal year 2009 is $1.8 trillion. And the CBO projects deficits over the next 10 years that annually are between about $650 billion and $1 trillion. The CBO also projects that the outstanding federal debt held by the public will increase from 40.8 percent of GDP in 2008 to 82.4 percent in 2019. This is a doubling of the national debt over the next 10 years. These deficits are being produced to jump-start the economy, to prevent deflation and to produce inflation.

    Inflation, which may look good if you are a Wall Street firm overloaded with bad debt, is as risky as deflation, however. It can easily morph into hyperinflation and bring, like deflation, political and economic instability. It can lead to runs on banks. It can make your currency worthless. It discourages investment and thrift. And when you borrow at the level we are borrowing at you frequently debauch your currency. This could lead to the dollar being abandoned as a global currency. Why would the Chinese, or anyone else, want to keep buying our debt while we work overtime to devalue our currency? It means, in essence, that they can never make a profit and what they own is being reduced daily in value.

    Hyperinflation is never controlled domestically. It is created by outside forces. If China and other buyers of our debt view the endlessly increasing American deficit spending as a threat to the viability of the U.S. dollar they will abandon the dollar and reduce their purchases of treasury bills. Chinese leaders have already questioned the wisdom of keeping foreign reserves predominantly in the form of U.S. dollar-denominated treasury bills and bonds. And if they walk away from the dollar our currency will become junk and hyperinflation will race through the society like a plague.

    Deflation or hyperinflation will be our nemesis. These are the only two options left. The speculators on Wall Street and in the White House are again rolling the dice. But be assured that no matter what combination comes up we are going to be fleeced.

    Copyright © 2009 Truthdig

    Chris Hedges, who is an Arabic speaker and spent seven years in the Middle East, was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times.

    see

  24. In the Parliament of England, the members of Parliament regularly hurl insults, and bring forward the errors and mistakes of the Prime Minister, putting on the record for all what has gone on. The newspapers operate like rag sheets, and are always digging for the truth and dirt. Sounds like they think their leaders work for them.

    At the first show of lack of confidence in the Prime Minister, out they go.

    I wonder what happened in America. I guess we have confidence in the Hoods of Chicago, and the neighborhood organizers.

    In England WJC will still be in charge.

  25. The U.S. Senate will have its say soon on war funding and Guantanamo. Don’t expect much from newly minted Dimocrat Arlen Specter. Our initial reaction to Specter’s defection appears to be on target as well. Dimocrats will have their 60 vote majority but our challenge to actually get things done won’t be met. Re-election comes first and there is the Supermajority Paradox.

    For all the breathless speculation that Arlen Specter’s defection has changed everything in the Senate, yesterday’s Democratic leadership loss on mortgage “cramdown” actually suggested the opposite is happening — and leadership’s hand is actually becoming weaker.

    There’s an emerging Supermajority Paradox: The closer Dems get to a veto-proof majority, the greater their difficulty in wielding their 59 to 60 votes to upset the status quo.

    Dimocrats, like the Republicans, before them have to pay the piper but that does not explain why the people’s business is secondary.

    Thus the paradox. As Democrats approach the magic number of 60, each member of their caucus becomes more valuable, more powerful and more apt to buck leadership in the name of self-interest — and the preservation of the Supermajority.
    &&&&&&&&&&

    Sounds like Einstein’s observation that the speed of light cannot be attained, unless you are a photon.

    E=mc(2) means that as you go faster (higher energy), your mass increases. As you get closer to the speed of light, your mass increases asymtotically (an asymptote is a line that a graph approaches, but does not intersect) toward the speed of light, never being able to reach it because that would mean achieving “infinite mass”, which is pretty damn heavy.

    As the Dems approach 60, Congressional politics grows heavier and heavier, with each congressman’s secret obligations to their corporate benefactors tainting their judgment.

  26. My post from above quoted admin’s article at the top, if you’re wondering what I was responding to.

  27. The “boys” just can’t stand a strong woman and have to ridicule and try to marginalize her. It’s not working. They are in cohort’s with the big media to make her out to be this alien and comical figure, the “boys” better beware, Sarah’s not afraid of the school yard bullies!
    ***************************

    Romney Suggests Palin ‘Beautiful,’ Not Influential

    Monday, May 4, 2009 1:28 PM

    By: Dave Eberhart

    Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney joked about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s place on Time’s list of influential people, saying, “But was that the issue on the most beautiful people or the most influential people?”

    In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” broadcast Sunday, Romney was responding to a question from the moderator as to whether Time’s inclusion of Palin and talk show host Rush Limbaugh on their list of “The World’s Most Influential People” was a positive or negative thing for the Republican Party.

    Romney added, “I think there are a lot more influential Republicans than that would suggest.”

    After his boss caught flak for his apparent dissing of Palin, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom spun the comment as just “a self-deprecating joke as to why there weren’t more Republicans on the list,” according to a report in Politico.

    “I think there are 100 influential Republicans alone who have tremendous ideas and I hope that we can all work together to accomplish what we believe is best for America,” Palin said through a spokeswoman.

    A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll conducted recently among 429 Republicans showed Sarah Palin with a slight edge over Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney as the preferred GOP nominee for 2012: Palin 29 percent; former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee 26 percent; and Romney 21 percent.

    According to the Politico report, Romney’s comments were unusually sharp – since these days GOP top officials ordinarily simply ignore Palin, leaving her off the rosters of the party’s rising stars – despite poll results such as the CNN survey cited above.

    Romney let fly the zinger while appearing with House Minority Whip Eric Cantor. Both are part of a cabal of prominent Republicans seeking to enliven the GOP under the banner of the National Council for a New America.

    Palin has thus far not been included on the Council — reportedly because she didn’t respond to requests. However, her former running mate, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., went on the record recently saying that he hoped she would become active with the group.

    Meanwhile, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush closed ranks with Romney and Cantor in presiding over the panel.

    According to a Boston Globe report, Romney touted his service on the panel over the weekend, saying, “I’ve learned that when you sit in a position of responsibility as you do now and as we did once, you typically get the best ideas that really make a difference from people that you’re serving.” He cited his experience helping pass the Bay State’s universal healthcare plan.

    But nothing Romney said at the conclave attracted the media attention more than his off-the- cuff Palin remarks to CNN.

    As much as he and other GOP figures may want to deny it, Palin still attracts a strong following and remains the darling of the media – if not her own party.

    “She’s bigger in the media than in reality,” commented GOP consultant Mike Murphy, a longtime adviser to John McCain.

    “Palin,” he said, “is the only Republican politician right now who is interesting, a little different, connected to the last campaign and related to an occasional story in the National Enquirer,” according to the Politico report.

    For his part, on the “State of the Union” show, Cantor was a whole lot kinder and gentler:

    “You know, they [Palin and Limbaugh] are two individuals that have a lot of ideas, and our party should be about ideas. That’s what this effort is about and the National Council for a New America, and that is what they’re about. So I don’t think any of us should have any monopoly on the ideas. And I know that there are some who like to make it all about personalities, but it’s about ideas. It’s about how we take this country forward.”

  28. I did not attend one of those tea parties myself. I assume there will be more of them in the future. The goal must be destroy the Obama brand. The question is whether they served that objective, and how they can be improved in the future.

    1. teach in format

    2. get names and e-mail addersses for networking

    3. speakers with logical coherent message

    4. cartoon visuals tying Obama to failing policies

    5. tying those policies to deflation and/or hyperinflation

    6. bulletpoint his flipflops which reward corporate masters

    7. tie big media to corporate interests–CNN (Time Warner AOL)

    8. day in the life interviews with people who lost jobs

    9. takeaway article showing he is tool (Hedges link above)

    10. designated press spokespeople and press release

    11. no ties to either political party

  29. Romney has been a tremendous disappointment to many people. It isnt just that he surrendered to the religious right in his party who still consider his own religion a cult, but it is also the fact that his progressive credentials have been lost in the process. What has emerged is a mean spirited individual as evidenced by his Palin comments. I cannot figure the guy out. He pretends to be a boy scout and he kind of looks like one. Or else Ward Cleaver. But the underhanded crap that comes out of him and his campaign undermines that image. And who exactly is he influencing these days?

  30. wbboei

    I understand what you are saying. But look what they did with O, based on what, a mirage that they created. It did not matter the underhanded crap that came out of his campaign. who is to day that the Reps cannot do the same thing.

  31. wbboei Says:

    May 4th, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    —————————

    Both your comments and those you posted from truthdig.com cover the issues brilliantly.

  32. Iran’s Ahmadinejad Cancels Brazil Trip Indefinitely

    By Joshua Goodman and Ladane Nasseri

    May 4 (Bloomberg) — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad canceled a trip to Brazil this week without explanation amid criticism at home from the country’s clerical leader and U.S. concern about Iran’s growing influence in Latin America. The state visit of more than 100 officials and businessmen was set to begin tomorrow in Brasilia and focus on expanding the countries’ trade, which quadrupled to $2 billion in 2007 from 2002.

    Ahmadinejad has been seeking allies among nations critical of U.S. policy in the conflict over U.S.-led efforts to shut down his nuclear program. Since coming to power in 2005, he has visited Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the U.S.’s fiercest critic in the region, as well as allied governments in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, where U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said last week Iran was building a “huge” embassy that undermines U.S. interests in the region. The trip, including stops in Venezuela and Ecuador, was postponed indefinitely, Ahmadinejad’s office said in a statement, without saying why the plans changed. Roberto Jaguaribe, a political undersecretary at Brazil’s foreign ministry, told reporters in Brasilia it will be rescheduled for a date after Iran’s June 12 elections. Lula may visit Iran following an Ahmadinejad trip to Brasilia, he said.

    In Iran today, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei overturned a decision by Ahmadinejad to merge two state organizations, the Islamic Republic News Agency reported. The leader’s statement, which comes in advance of June 12 presidential elections, is a public setback for Ahmadinejad, said Farideh Farhi, who studies Iran at the University of Hawaii.

    Ahmadinejad received the invitation to Latin America’s largest country in November, when Brazil for the first time in 17 years sent its foreign minister to Tehran, and after its state-controlled oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, began exploration in the Iranian waters of the Caspian Sea.

    U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, a New York Democrat who chairs the subcommittee overseeing relations with Latin America, said in an interview before the trip was canceled that he was disappointed by Lula’s move. “Instead of shunning someone many people consider a pariah, Brazil seems to be rewarding him,” said Engel, who is also co-chair of Congressional Brazil Caucus. “It makes it a lot harder for people like me who want the U.S. to enhance relations with Brazil. Frankly, I’m at a loss to explain it.”

    Iran’s push to expand economic and political ties in Latin America is “disturbing” and not in U.S. interests, Clinton said May 1. Iran and Venezuela last week signed an agreement to deepen military ties after a series of deals that include funding a bilateral development bank with $200 million of capital. Iran has also promised investments in the energy and petrochemical industries of Chavez’s allies Ecuador and Bolivia. Acceptance by Lula, the leader of the Latin America’s biggest economy, puts Iran on a new diplomatic plane in the region. Still, even supporters of Lula’s foreign policy think that in embracing Ahmadinejad he is going too far.

    “It’s a mistake and inappropriate,” said Roberto Abdenur, who was Lula’s ambassador to Washington from 2004 to 2007. “What this man says and represents completely contradict what Brazil stands for, its commitment to peace and its repudiation of anti-Semitism.” Abdenur said Lula is underestimating the negative impact the visit could cause in the U.S., where Clinton threatened “crippling” sanctions if Tehran rebuffs diplomatic efforts to curb its nuclear program, as well as in other countries.

    In neighboring Argentina, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner been pushing Iran to handover five former officials wanted for the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people. Iranian-backed terrorist groups such as Hezbollah have been increasing money laundering in the border area between Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, James Stavridis, the head of the U.S. Southern Command, warned last month. Brazil’s foreign ministry in a diplomatic note expressed “concern” over Ahmadinejad’s April 20 speech at a UN racism conference in Geneva, in which he accused the West of using the Holocaust as “pretext” to oppress Palestinians, and said objections would be raised during the visit.

    That didn’t satisfy Brazil’s 100,000-member Jewish community. A few thousand rallied over the weekend in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, carrying banners that read “President Lula: explain to your guest what freedom of expression means.”
    Marco Aurelio Garcia, Lula’s top foreign policy adviser, downplayed the controversy, telling reporters April 27 that Ahmadinejad’s visit “doesn’t mean that we share the same opinions.” He pointed to Obama’s own steps to engage Iran, like delivering a videotaped message and joining European allies in talks over its nuclear program, which drew UN sanctions in 2006. Trade Secretary Welber Barral was blunter: “For us it’s a matter of pecunia non olet,” he said in an interview, citing the Latin phrase for “Money Doesn’t Smell.”

    The U.S. State Department would not comment on the invitation. A spokesperson said in a statement, before the visit was postponed, that it was a country’s sovereign decision whether to pursue ties with Iran, and that those who did should push Iran to meet its international obligations. “I can’t think of any national interest that justifies such a loss of credibility,” said Rubens Ricuperio, who was Brazil’s ambassador to the U.S. from 1991-1993. “There’s no point being defiant just to prove your independence.”

    bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601086&sid=apRIS8bKWwPw&refer=latin_america

  33. I like this opinion editorial by a student at California State University Northridge…

    Society doesn’t let women show emotion in public

    Eileen Mansoorian / Opinion Editor
    Monday, May 4, 2009

    When I hear the word newsworthy I think of major events, such as train collisions, murderers convicted and presidents elected among many things. Never does the thought of a person getting emotional conjure any thought in my mind that it could be worthy of being headline news.

    During Friday night’s edition of CNN’s “AC360” with Anderson Cooper, the producers in charge of selecting the stories co-anchor Erica Hill reads on the air in between Cooper’s segments decided to include a story about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton getting emotional when honoring fallen soldiers of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars with a plaque at the entrance of the state department.

    Hill read the story right after briefing the viewers on the latest developments on the professor from the University of Georgia who is wanted for a shooting, which left three people dead including his wife.

    Now, I may be a beginner to the world of journalism and developing good news judgement, but when did a female politician getting emotional over a dead soldier become the equivalent of headline news to a man being suspected of murdering his wife? Wait a minute, that’s always been newsworthy because apparently it’s wrong for women in the public eye to convey any and all forms of emotions because it shows a sign of weakness.

    Anyone who even turned on their TV to any news channel or even scrolled through their Yahoo news bulletins back in January 2008 could not have missed the story about Clinton tearing up at a New Hampshire campaign event during the primaries.
    After reading the story, I was disgusted to see the moment merited any attention. After hearing about it excessively in the weeks that followed made me wonder if Susan B. Anthony would have been rolling in her grave if she knew about it.

    What’s the big deal America if a woman sheds a tear? Does that automatically mean she’s way too emotional and doesn’t know how to be serious and focus on the job? Of course it doesn’t, but coverage of moments like these say otherwise.

    After Hill finished anchoring about Clinton choking up, I was surprised the story made it to air. But within a second it made sense to me that media would find that shocking because women in power can’t show emotion.

    As a society, we have ingrained this way of thinking in ourselves. Time after time, we have made it OK to point out a woman’s emotional moment and use it against her as if it was to our benefit.

    To all those people who think a woman shows weakness when shedding a tear under pressure, or during a sad moment, then the only word to describe this kind of thinking is ignorant. Nothing good will come from continuing this way of thinking. It’s the 21st century America, grow up.

    sundial.csun.edu/society-doesn-t-let-women-show-emotion-in-public-1.1744022

  34. White House Tax Proposals ‘Controversial,’ Sen Baucus Says

    By Martin Vaughan
    MAY 4, 2009

    Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES WASHINGTON (Dow Jones)–Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said President Barack Obama’s proposals to ratchet up taxes on the foreign profits of U.S. firms are “controversial” and may not be enacted this year. “We want to make sure the playing field is level so our American companies are able to compete,” Baucus told reporters before Senate votes Monday evening. He said White House proposals to crack down on offshore tax evasion by individuals may well move more quickly, however.

    Obama on Monday proposed a set of changes that would have the effect of raising taxes on the foreign profits of U.S. multinationals by about $190 billion from 2011 to 2019. That includes a plan, authored by Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., to deny tax deductions for expenses that companies incur related to their overseas operations, until the income from those overseas operations is taxed in the U.S. The White House said the change would raise about $60 billion over the nine-year period.

    It also includes the repeal of the so-called “check the box” rules, which allow U.S. firms to transfer passive foreign income to affiliates in tax havens that aren’t recognized in the U.S. for tax purposes. That change would raise $86.5 billion over that timeframe.

    “We’ll look at it. I don’t know how much is going to be enacted this year,” Baucus said. “It is true that other countries give favorable tax treatment to their companies, and we have to make sure we’re not shooting ourselves in the foot while trying to raise some revenue,” he continued.

    On a conference call Monday following the White House announcement of the tax proposals, business lobbyists pressed Treasury Dept. adviser Gene Sperling on whether or not the White House views its proposals as part of an overall plan to lower the corporate tax burden, or whether they might be passed outside of a more comprehensive tax overhaul, according to people who were on the call. Sperling offered no promises that the proposals would be coupled with lower rates, these people said. The Obama administration has proposed to use some of the revenue raised from higher taxes on overseas income to make the research and development credit permanent.

    “What’s at the heart of this issue is this is one technique, but probably not the only one, that allows companies operating overseas flexibility in trying to manage their foreign tax liabilities,” said Lindy Paull, leader of accounting firm PwC’s legislative tax group, of the repeal of check the box rules. “In the end, it is really a debate over, should we be concerned about our companies lowering their foreign tax liabilities,” said Paull.

    online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20090504-717631.html

  35. The Republican strategy for 2010 will be to pick off the blue dogs. The rationale for this is clear. The conservative democrats come from conservative congressional districts which are more aligned with Republican values. If they can take those seats away from the Democrats they can enhance their voting block. The same thing may be true of Spectre although that is far from clear now. I am highly ambivalent about the two from Maine. Do I like this strategy? No! Absolutely not. It is a travesty. It eliminates the center and leads to even further polarization. It is important that those seats remain Democrat so there is internal resistance to Obama road to hell. I fully suspect he and his ilk will find ways to help defeat those blue dog dems whether through covert complicity with the Republicans like we saw with that fat pig Brazille, or by limited financing and token support.

  36. wbboei 11:.02

    Or they just might buy those seats for Republicans, which become Reps that owe them. As I remember, was it not discussed here that they made a deal with the Reps over Florida?

  37. Regarding the crying episode and the reaction to it, I defended her tears in New Hampshire and I believed they were genuine–I still do.

    In the case of this State Department I am not sure. But that does not mean I find them in any way disingenuous. CNN and ABC saw fit to publicize this moment in their continuing effort to portray her as not commander in chief material and elevate their man Obama.

    In doing so they missed the deeper logic of what was going on here. What she did here was very good for the Department she leads.
    This was one visible way to show her connection with the people who work in that formerly demoralized organization. They did not see Condi as caring about them, and that feeling was widespread.

    An effective leader must always be thinking about the morale of the group she leads. To share whatever pain they felt over this death, whether personally because they knew him, or vicariously because he was part of their team is not only admirable but sends the right message to those who serve that agency in dangerous spots around the world that to Hillary Clinton their lives matter.

    It is hard for me to feel any pain over it beyond the no man is an island response. I do not work for the agency, I did not know him and it is not cause for me to shed tears. It is regrettable, but no more so than the thousands of Amercians who have died on the battlefield for whom the bell never seems to toll in this manner.

    But if I were a member of that agency it would make me feel proud that we had a leader who was on our side.

  38. Or they just might buy those seats for Republicans, which become Reps that owe them. As I remember, was it not discussed here that they made a deal with the Reps over Florida
    ————————————-
    Yes indeed. The Chicago way is to take the competition out of politics. It is a faux political system designed and engineered to rob the public and reward insiders who always receive their vig.

    As an old mafiosi told a friend of mine 20 yeas ago in New York, and as he subsequently reported to the authorities: have you had any loads disappear? (No). Have you had any freight turn up missing? (No). Have you lost any customers because of orchestrated slowdowns? (No). Do you see what I mean? I am doing all this work for you and I am not getting any grease.

    In the Chicago political system, this would all be understood. It was evident in the recent prosecution of one of Daleys henchmen.

  39. In the case of this State Department I am not sure. But that does not mean I find them in any way disingenuous.
    ***********
    I was visiting my sister who watches CNN and saw that live. My impression: A) her allergies were bad and B) she was choking up because she was thinking about how she would feel as, a mother and parent, if Chelsea died and extending those feelings to the parents at the memorial service. It’s nice to have a person in a position of power who isn’t a sociopath. Also as you point out, CNN and ABC used it to bash Hillary. I suspect that it represents more Obama “frat boys” who are threatened by a women with power.

  40. wwoebi,

    I see this as the media, i.e. cnn trying so hard to find any weakness/negative they can about Hillary that they grasp at straws. I’m sure they were hoping that the response from the public would be humiliating for her.

  41. I was visiting my sister who watches CNN and saw that live. My impression: A) her allergies were bad and B) she was choking up because she was thinking about how she would feel as, a mother and parent, if Chelsea died and extending those feelings to the parents at the memorial service. It’s nice to have a person in a position of power who isn’t a sociopath
    ———————
    That could very well be the explanation. But either way the impact on morale was positive. That much I am sure of.

    As far as steotyping, history suggests that when Alexander conquered the world and was given the depressing news that there was no world left to conquer . . . he cried.

    I wonder how the Obama frat boys at CNN feel about that.

  42. This was lost in the transmission.
    ——————————-
    My impression: A) her allergies were bad and B) she was choking up because she was thinking about how she would feel as, a mother and parent, if Chelsea died and extending those feelings to the parents at the memorial service
    ——————————-
    Astute as always. That may well be it. But whatever the cause the impact on the group she leads was very positive. It is so fundamental. If I am going to risk my neck I want to make sure there is someone standing behind me who supports what I am doing. Funerals for those killed in the line of duty are purposeful in that respect.

    As far as stereotypying, if as appears the frat boys are trying to use this against her, then they need to be mindful of the fact that when Alexander the Great conquered the known world and was given the depressing news that there was no world left to conquer he cried. It is a shame the Obama fratboys were not there with him to laugh at his tears, so he could cheerfully vivisect them with a sword. What a Frank Capra happy ending that would be.

  43. Just got an email from a 92 year old retired doctor friend. I hope this doesn’t offend…

    “They said that if Obama became president of America, pigs would fly! 100 days later…Swine Flue…!!!

  44. NYTIMES HAS CONCERNS W/ YESTERDAY’S DIVERSION (TAX HAVENS), WISHES FOR MORE THAN A “WARM UP ACT”.

    Obama is the warm up act, the far less talented one who could only get ahead by doing a Tonya Harding job on the main act (HRC) with help from DNC thugs.

    Couple of quotes stand out:

    “It could even impede job creation in the United States — exactly the opposite of what the Obama administration intends.”

    “The Obama administration deserves credit for putting some of the problems of the corporate tax system on the table, but we hope it is only a warm-up act.”

    Tax Salvos
    =======

    Published: May 4, 2009

    There is something wrong with a system where some of the largest and most profitable companies contribute a pittance to the Treasury. And President Obama was right to call attention to the problem when he proposed corporate tax increases on Monday. The administration noted that in 2004, the latest year for which data were available, American multinational corporations paid about $16 billion on $700 billion in foreign earnings, an effective tax rate of about 2.3 percent.

    A deeper problem, however, is that, with few exceptions, there are no easy fixes to tax problems posed by global profits. The Obama proposals oversimplify the challenge, both technically and politically.

    One of the most controversial proposals would delay deductions against overseas profits until those profits are brought back to the United States. In theory, that makes perfect sense, because matching deductions and income in the same year is a fundamental principle of United States tax law.

    In practice, applying the matching principle to overseas operations could put American companies at a competitive disadvantage to foreign companies that do not face United States tax laws. It could even impede job creation in the United States — exactly the opposite of what the Obama administration intends. That’s because some of the expenses incurred in generating foreign profits are for support jobs in the United States, like human resources and accounting positions. If companies cannot write off those employment expenses in the year they are incurred, they may move the jobs overseas.

    The administration has also proposed to make it harder to abuse the foreign tax credit, a provision that allows companies to claim a credit on their American taxes for taxes paid to another country. No one objects to curbing abuse. Unfortunately, the extent of the alleged abuse is unclear. That presages a much tougher fight, with arguments on each side as to whether the proposal is a mere loophole closer or a fundamental shift in how the credit is calculated and applied.

    The administration is on firmer ground in proposing to change a practice whereby companies shift income from foreign subsidiaries to foreign tax havens, erasing their United States tax liability in the process. The practice was first allowed in the Clinton administration, despite warnings at the time that it would lead to aggressive tax avoidance. That is exactly what has happened, reducing tax revenue by billions of dollars a year.

    The Obama administration deserves credit for putting some of the problems of the corporate tax system on the table, but we hope it is only a warm-up act. Once the economy begins to recover, comprehensive reform of the tax system will be needed to raise enough money in a way that spreads the burden as widely as possible. Done properly, that would inevitably require new tax sources, like a value-added tax or energy taxes — or both. Enacting those would be a monumental challenge that would make enacting the current package of corporate proposals look puny by comparison.

  45. truthdig.com cover the issues brilliantly.
    ————————————
    Jan- I was very impressed with his insights too. It seems he could be a blue collar democrat. As far as the tea parties, they need an informed telegenic spokesperson–preferably a woman to market their message effectively. We need to get as sophisticated as the opposition in that respect. Laura Ingraham is probably too identified with the Republican Party but I think she has the right stuff for this gig. Lady Lynn would be terrific if she wasnt a Rothchilde. In a courtroom, you find an expert to rebut the other sides expert. In this battle you need a celebrity to rebut another celebrity. That is the one thing missing at this point.

  46. BUSINESS NOT KEEN ON THE OBAMA “DEBT BOMB”

    Good technical analysis in NY Times article from yesterday’s business section:

    nytimes.com/2009/05/04/business/economy/04debt.html

    Worries Rise on the Size of U.S. Debt
    ==========================

    By GRAHAM BOWLEY and JACK HEALY
    Published: May 3, 2009

    The nation’s debt clock is ticking faster than ever — and Wall Street is getting worried.

    As the Obama administration racks up an unprecedented spending bill for bank bailouts, Detroit rescues, health care overhauls and stimulus plans, the bond market is starting to push up the cost of trillions of dollars in borrowing for the government.

    Last week, the yield on 10-year Treasury notes rose to its highest level since November, briefly touching 3.17 percent, a sign that investors are demanding larger returns on the masses of United States debt being issued to finance an economic recovery.

    While that is still low by historical standards — it averaged about 5.7 percent in the late 1990s, as deficits turned to surpluses under President Bill Clinton — investors are starting to wonder whether the United States is headed for a new era of rising market interest rates as the government borrows, borrows and borrows some more.

    Already, in the first six months of this fiscal year, the federal deficit is running at $956.8 billion, or nearly one seventh of gross domestic product — levels not seen since World War II, according to Wrightson ICAP, a research firm.

    Debt held by the public is projected by the Congressional Budget Office to rise from 41 percent of gross domestic product in 2008 to 51 percent in 2009 and to a peak of around 54 percent in 2011 before declining again in the following years. For all of 2009, the administration probably needs to borrow about $2 trillion.

    The rising tab has prompted warnings from the Treasury that the Congressionally mandated debt ceiling of $12.1 trillion will most likely be breached in the second half of this year.

    Last week, the Treasury Borrowing Advisory Committee, a group of industry officials that advises the Treasury on its financing needs, warned about the consequences of higher deficits at a time when tax revenues were “collapsing” by 14 percent in the first half of the fiscal year.

    “Given the outlook for the economy, the cost of restoring a smoothly functioning financial system and the pending entitlement obligations to retiring baby boomers,” a report from the committee said, “the fiscal outlook is one of rapidly increasing debt in the years ahead.”

    While the real long-term interest rate will not rise immediately, the committee concluded, “such a fiscal path could force real rates notably higher at some point in the future.”

    In some ways, ballooning deficits should not matter. Deficits are a useful way for governments to use public spending to stimulate the economy when private demand is weak. This works as long as a country closes its deficit and pays back its borrowings after its economy starts to recover.

    The trouble is that government borrowing risks crowding out private investment, driving up interest rates and potentially slowing a recovery still trying to take hold. That is why the Federal Reserve announced an extraordinary policy this year to buy back existing long-term debt — $300 billion over six months — to drive down yields. The strategy worked for a while, but now the impact of that decision appears to be wearing off as long-term interest rates tick up again.

    Then there is the concern that the interest the government must pay on its debt obligations may become unsustainable or weigh on future generations. The Congressional Budget Office expects interest payments to more than quadruple in the next decade as Washington borrows and spends, to $806 billion by 2019 from $172 billion next year.

    “You’re just paying more and more interest and having to borrow more and more money to pay the interest,” said Charles S. Konigsberg, chief budget counsel for the Concord Coalition, which advocates lower deficits. “It diverts a tremendous amount of resources, of taxpayer dollars.”

    Of course, no one is suggesting the United States will have problems paying the interest on its debt. On Wednesday, even as it announced its huge financing needs for the latest quarter, the Treasury said financial markets could accommodate the flood of new bonds. “We feel confident that we can address these large borrowing needs,” said Karthik Ramanathan, the Treasury’s acting assistant secretary for financial markets.

    One worry, however, is that there are fewer eager lenders to buy all that American debt. Most of the world is in recession, and other nations have rising borrowing needs as well. As other nations’ surpluses turn to deficits, America will face competition in global financial markets for its borrowing needs. For the moment, the United States is actually benefiting from a flight to quality into Treasuries brought on by the global financial crisis, which helped reduce rates to record lows this winter. But the influx will not continue forever.

    China has lent immense sums to the United States — about two-thirds of its central bank’s $1.95 trillion in foreign reserves is believed to be in United States securities — but it has begun to voice concerns about America’s financial health.

    To calm nerves and fill the deficit hole, the government is getting creative. The Treasury is ramping up its auction calendar, holding more frequent sales of government debt and selling the debt in expanded amounts. It is now holding sales of its 30-year bond each month, up from four times annually.

    It is also resuscitating previously discontinued bonds, such as the seven-year note and the three-year note, to try to mop up any available money all along the yield curve. There is even talk of issuing billions of dollars of a new 50-year bond, though the idea has not won official approval.

    On a second front, the Treasury and the Federal Reserve are trying to bolster the mechanics of the market — to make sure every auction goes smoothly. With such enormous sums involved, every extra basis point on the interest rate the government pays could mean extra billions of dollars for the taxpayer. Earlier this year, when demand was hesitant at a Treasury auction and when a British bond auction went poorly, investors grew nervous that the government might struggle to sell its mountain of debt.

    To avoid such an outcome and to keep borrowing costs low, the government is trying to expand the group of firms that bid at Treasury auctions. After the demise of such names as Lehman Brothers, the number of these firms, called primary dealers, has shrunk to 16, the smallest since this elite club was formed decades ago. Now the government is in discussions with smaller firms like Nomura and MF Global to persuade them to join.

  47. CAR SALESMAN-IN-CHIEF NOT DESERVING OF HIS SALES COMMISSION

    More from yesterday’s biz section.

    nytimes.com/2009/05/04/business/04showroom.html

    Despite Obama’s Talk, Little Bump for Chrysler Sales
    =====================================

    By NICK BUNKLEY
    Published: May 3, 2009

    DETROIT — Car salesman was probably not among the jobs that President Obama expected to assume during his first few months in the White House.

    And a slow weekend at many Chrysler dealerships around the country after the company filed for bankruptcy protection suggests that few consumers were moved by the president’s plea on Thursday to help Detroit’s automakers by buying an American car.

    The president’s sales pitch was cheered in Michigan and among Chrysler’s 3,200 dealers. And the company said his speech did help sell 11,400 cars on Thursday — although much of that could have been the inventory clearance that is typical for the last day of a month.

    But to the extent there was much action in Chrysler showrooms Saturday and Sunday, it often seemed to be shoppers hoping the company’s plight might prompt dealers to offer give-away prices even lower than deep discounts the company has already been dangling. But sales managers do not have much remaining wiggle room.

    “They’re ambulance chasers trying to take advantage” said Doug Swaim, general manager of Star Chrysler-Jeep in Glendale, Calif.

    “We bite our tongues and say, can you be more realistic?” Mr. Swaim said. “A lot of people hear the word bankruptcy and think worst-case scenario. They think Circuit City. That’s, of course, not the case here.”

    Many consumers remain nervous about paying tens of thousands of dollars to a bankrupt company.

    “I was just curious about how desperate they really are,” Jerry Hubbard, a professional truck driver who stopped by Medved Chrysler-Jeep in the Denver suburb of Wheatridge, said on his way to shop for antiques on Saturday morning.

    Chrysler now plans to essentially sell its assets to the Italian carmaker Fiat, and it is closing all of its North American plants for the next one to two months, but hopes to emerge from bankruptcy later this summer.

    But it could be late next year before the first Fiats, retooled to meet American crash protection standards, reach Chrysler showrooms. And it is not expected to be until sometime in 2011 that the first Fiat-designed vehicles start rolling out of Chrysler’s North American plants.
    [snip]

    go to link for more…

  48. OBAMA CHANNELING REAGAN

    More old news, from Friday.

    What’s the difference between Repubs starving government coffers with tax cuts, and Dems clearing out gov coffers with massive, unfocused spending? Not much.

    What’s the difference between taking a month off from work losing $20,000 in income, or going to work all month and blowing $20,000 at the track? Not much.

    nytimes.com/2009/05/01/us/politics/01budget.html

    Justifying His Fiscal Policies, Obama Borrows From the G.O.P.
    ==========================================

    By JACKIE CALMES
    Published: April 30, 2009

    WASHINGTON — For 30 years, Republicans have held as an article of faith that tax cuts spur the economy and generate more revenue. “Deficits don’t matter,” as former Vice President Dick Cheney said. Now President Obama is adapting Republican arguments to his own agenda — only substituting spending for tax cuts.

    Call it the Democratic version of Reaganomics, the supply-side theory that replaced Republicans’ longtime belief in balanced budgets. As popularized by President Ronald Reagan, the theory holds that cutting income taxes encourages people to work harder and to produce more goods, sparking economic growth and increased tax revenues.

    With Congress’s approval on Wednesday of a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint embracing Mr. Obama’s spending initiatives for education, health care and energy, the president extolled the potential benefits of these “new investments.” In his nationally televised news conference that night, he said the budget would start laying “a new foundation for growth, a foundation that will strengthen our economy and help us compete in the 21st century.”

    Democrats have derided Republicans as going beyond ideology to theology with their antitax orthodoxy. But it was Mr. Obama who borrowed from the Bible for his “new foundation” economic metaphor. In an address at Georgetown University, where he used some variation of “invest” for “spend” 14 times, the president recalled Jesus’ parable in the Sermon on the Mount about two men, a foolish one who builds a house on sand and a wise one whose foundation is rock.

    “We cannot rebuild this economy on the same pile of sand,” he said. “We must build our house upon a rock, a foundation that will move us from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest.”

    Promoting aid for high-speed rail corridors — Mr. Obama seeks $5 billion on top of $8 billion included in his $787 billion recovery plan — the president said, “Investing in our transportation system pays enormous dividends over the long term.”

    At a wind energy plant in Newton, Iowa, to showcase the job-creating potential of his 10-year, $150 billion plan to encourage alternative energies, Mr. Obama called the initiative “a win-win: it’s good for the environment; it’s great for the economy.”

    Obama advisers acknowledge a similarity between the president’s economic justification for spending and supply-siders’ rationale for tax cuts. But they say Mr. Obama would never go so far as Republicans who claim that tax cuts pay for themselves. (Reagan told advisers who recommended a tax increase in 1984 to shrink a ballooning deficit: “There has not been one tax increase in history that actually raised revenue. And every tax cut, from the 1920s to Kennedy’s to ours, has produced more.”)

    “I would be worried,” Mr. Obama’s budget director, Peter R. Orszag, said in an interview, “if the gestalt out there was that we were saying that these investments will by themselves bring down the deficit, as opposed to they will help spur economic performance, partially offsetting the costs of the investments in the first place, which is a much different thing. And in fact, if that’s all Reagan said, then that would have been analytically right, too.”

    From Reagan to President George W. Bush, big tax cuts were followed by big deficits. Might Mr. Obama’s investments yield another outcome? Even sympathetic economists say they will not without action to cut projected spending for popular health and retirement benefits, chiefly Medicare and Medicaid, that are driving the forecasts of unsustainable deficits.

    To some economists, such economic theories are just gloss to cover the fact that both parties want it all: Mr. Obama proposes to have tax cuts as well as new spending, just as Republicans when they were in power consistently increased spending as well as reduced taxes.

    “In both cases, long term the money is not there,” said C. Eugene Steuerle, a Treasury official in the Reagan administration who is a scholar at the Peter G. Peterson Institute for International Economics.

    Mr. Steuerle and other economists say the result for Mr. Obama, if he prevails, may be much the same as for Reagan: rising deficits that force partial retreats from the original policies, tax increases and unanticipated fiscal reforms, like Reagan’s 1986 tax code overhaul.

    “There is an analogy here: 2009 may represent for the Obama administration what 1981 represented for the Reagan administration,” Mr. Steuerle said. “After 1981, after the tax cuts and the defense-spending increases, in the following years you had very substantial movements toward long-term reform on the deficit and Social Security and the tax system.”

    W. Elliot Brownlee, a historian of taxation at the University of California, Santa Barbara, similarly predicted that when the economy recovered, Mr. Obama could end up presiding over budgetary reforms that amounted to “one of the great shifts” in the nation’s fiscal history — the sixth by his count, after economic developments that followed the American Revolution, the Civil War, World War I, the Great Depression and World War II.

    “You only get these in periods of great national crisis,” Mr. Brownlee said.

    The global economic crisis, war, mounting costs for health and retirement benefits, energy woes and climate change, Mr. Brownlee said, presented “a very powerful array” of problems that could well force action.

    Obama aides insist that the president will be true to his word also to cut spending to reduce deficits, projected at $1.2 trillion for the 2010 fiscal year alone. “If we want to spend,” Mr. Obama said in a recent radio address, “we’ll need to find somewhere else to cut.”

    But Presidents Reagan and Bush also promised to shave expenditures to offset tax cuts. They instead added spending.

    The problem with Mr. Obama’s case for spending, just as with the promotion of tax cuts by Republicans, is that the long-run benefits of the policy cannot be separated from the issue of how those actions fit within the country’s overall fiscal picture.

    Mr. Brownlee said it was reasonable for the Obama administration to argue that the kind of investments it wanted would result in productivity gains that produced tax revenues.

    “But the question is, When will we see those gains, and will they be enough to pay for the investment?” he said. “That seems highly unlikely. And will it be enough to help significantly in dealing with the other fiscal challenges that we’re facing?”

  49. China has lent immense sums to the United States — about two-thirds of its central bank’s $1.95 trillion in foreign reserves is believed to be in United States securities — but it has begun to voice concerns about America’s financial health.
    ————————
    !

  50. Jan: I posted the Hedges article at a anti-Hillaryis44 site a moment ago with the following preamble:

    You guys just dont get it. You have suspended whatever critical thinking skills you have and become rubes in a grand corporate marketing scheme. Forget about the Republicans. They are yesterdays news. Look at the facts. Dont let him bamboozle you. Towit:

  51. Franken: Hillary is My Senate Role Model

    Tuesday, May 5, 2009
    By: David A. Patten

    Democrat Al Franken intends to emulate former Sen. Hillary Clinton once he reaches the U.S. Senate, winning respect by downplaying his celebrity and letting his hard work do his talking for him.

    First, however, Franken must overcome former Sen. Norm Coleman’s appeal to the state Supreme Court. The Republican is asking that about 4,000 additional ballots be counted in the election.

    Not that Franken considers the Coleman appeal to be much more than a delaying tactic. He’s already hiring office staff and says it’s only a matter of time before he’s named Minnesota’s next U.S. senator. Once ensconced, Franken says he will follow Hillary’s path to legislative legitimacy. “Hillary came in to a certain amount of skepticism,” Franken recently told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. “They wondered ‘Is she going to be a prima donna? Use her celebrity? Is she going to be grabbing the microphone all the time?’ What she did was put her head down and work.”

    The stakes in the outcome of the Franken-Coleman contest are even higher now that Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter has crossed the aisle to join Democrats. Franken would become Democrats’ 60th U.S. Senator if his election is certified, handing Democrats the coveted 60-vote majority needed to ward off any attempt at a filibuster.

    Franken says he’s been consulting Hillary Clinton on how best to operate effectively in the Senate. “I’m someone who has been very outspoken,” Franken tells the Star-Tribune. “But when I go in there, I think I’ll be most for Minnesota if I let my colleagues know that I respect them and the institution, and will put my head down and do the work.”

    Although he says his work do his talking for him, it’s a safe bet Franken’s razor-sharp tongue will still make occasional guest appearances. Asked if he’ll still speak his mind freely – assuming he wins the election – Franken replied “absolutely.” To help him wrest free the political prize he’s spent $24 million and two years pursuing, Franken’s attorneys face a Monday deadline for filing his response to Coleman, who is asking the state Supreme Court to toss out a prior ruling that Franken won by 312 votes. But for now, Franken is waiting and planning for what he will do if finally elected.

    “I think my actions will speak louder than my words,” he says.

    newsmax.com/insidecover/franken_hillary_clinton/2009/05/05/210888.html

  52. wbboei Says:

    May 5th, 2009

    I posted the Hedges article at a anti-Hillaryis44 site a moment ago with the following preamble:

    You guys just dont get it. You have suspended whatever critical thinking skills you have and become rubes in a grand corporate marketing scheme. Forget about the Republicans. They are yesterdays news. Look at the facts. Dont let him bamboozle you. Towit:

    ———————

    & watch them scramble around and scratch their heads in confusion, like hamsters on a tread mill…

  53. WARNING!
    I have learned about this website recently.
    I won’t post any of the videos, but to see for yourself the TRUTH of what the Taliban and Islamic fascists are doing, visit this site.
    It isn’t pretty.
    From a clip of a 12 year old boy beheading a prisoner while his friends shout allahakbar and urge him on to the schools where christian kids are chained, beaten and forced to scrub slates clean of quaran verses and then drink the water, this is REAL.
    the site is truthtubetv dot com.

  54. wbboei Says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 1:55 pm
    Jan: I posted the Hedges article at a anti-Hillaryis44
    &&&&&&&&&

    What is this “anit-Hillaryis44” site? Who are they, what’s their story?

    And what is the “Hedges article”

  55. The president’s sales pitch was cheered in Michigan and among Chrysler’s 3,200 dealers. And the company said his speech did help sell 11,400 cars on Thursday
    ***********
    In addition to the bankruptcy “problem”, Chrysler cars were some of the lowest rated cars on the Consumer Reports 09 car issue. A year or so ago there was a report about the % of American labor content in cars sold in the US. Some of the “foreign” cars manufactured in the US had more American labor content then did the US brand cars. I really don’t get the Fiat deal…Fiat has been trying to unload their auto division for years…the deal with GM fell through in ’04. Why would they now buy another money loosing car company??

  56. Here is one tolerable clip from that site.
    it’s about a 10 year old yemeni girl who was married to a man 4 times her age, who escaped, went to the courts, demanded a divorce and through the help of human rights workers, won her case.
    Under sharia law, however, she had to ‘compensate’ her husband and pay him $200.
    Marriage at a very youn age is the norm for yemenese girls as it is in most Sharia law countries.
    www dot truthtube dot tv/play.php?vid=728

  57. wboei,

    On a prevuos thrad you spoke of trying to get the Big Media to cover more importatn stoires. However we may be better with them not covering them at all, than pretending to cover them but in a misleading manner.

    With no coveerage from BM, people who have heard about the story at all, will go to some alternate source, such as Fox or blogs. This will help build the readership of alternative media.

  58. Hope, change, hyperinflation or does anyone care, really? And then there is the black swan.
    ———————–
    Taipan Daily: Black Swans and Dead Pigs – Why Swine Flu Is No Joke
    by Justice Litle, Editorial Director, Taipan Publishing Group

    Before we begin, a word in honor of Monday’s stage-five rocket launch of a rally. Or should I say, rally on top of rally.

    As a caveat, these words are being written some two hours and change before market close. Regardless of where that close may be, however, it simply must be said – watching what seemed to be nearly every risk-related asset in the world catch a gigantic bid simultaneously was, in a word, awesome.

    (Your humble editor was so transfixed by the sight, he felt verbally transported back to his seventh-grade skateboarding days.)

    The world, it seems, is pounding the table for a V-shaped recovery. Maybe even a slightly leftward-tilting V, to make more room for a right-side trajectory of almost straight up.

    It takes a lot of guts – and a near-foolproof profit secret – to walk out on your job at a $100 million hedge fund.

    It may sound crazy, but that’s exactly what I did.

    After I discovered the secret to pocketing gains of 360%. 500%. even 7,100% every single week, I simply didn’t have to work.

    So what is this? Is it the mother of all short squeezes, as such to slay the mightiest of caught-out quant funds, making all past squeezes look positively Lilliputian in comparison?

    Is it the blowoff top-of-tops, as every long-only fund manager on the planet loses his mind with fear that the great new bull market is leaving him behind, thus forcing him (or her) to buy with a frenzy reminiscent of Duke and Duke watching their fortunes evaporate in the frozen orange juice pit?

    Or could it be, just might it be, the unexpectedly early beginnings of a great new inflationary phase – a paper wind-tunnel destined for the heavens, in which the trillions upon paper trillions pumped into the global economy’s backside result in worldwide equity markets that look Zimbabwe’s?

    If the latter, then one might expect the Dow Jones to double – and gold to more than triple and silver to quintuple.

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    But anyhow, I digress. My intent today was to usurp the “grumpy old man” role from my professorial colleague Adam Lass, and in that guise sound an unpleasant (but necessary) note on swine flu.

    Should We Pooh-Pooh the Flu?

    The cool kid move, for now, is dismissing swine flu (or type A H1N1 influenza to be precise) as an overblown hoax.

    The WHO – as in World Health Organization, not Pete Townshend & Co. – has faced a blast of snarky criticism from those who felt that the raising of the alarm to threat level 5, one notch below full-blown pandemic, was an irresponsible act of overkill.

    “After all,” the critics scoff, “the plain old brown bag flu kills tens of thousands of Americans every year, and no one has bothered to sound the alarm about that. Surely a mere handful of deaths is little more than an excuse for the media to gin up panic.”

    Nor has the credibility of the swine flu threat been helped by ridiculous actions from panicked governments, like Egypt’s 100% useless decree to slaughter every pig in sight – or Iraq’s plan to kill the wild boars in the Baghdad Zoo. (Wait… Baghdad has a zoo?)

    It’s clear what global equity markets think of swine flu. (Not worth a Kleenex.) But, nonetheless, WHO was right to sound the alarm. And we are not yet out of the woods.

    To understand why, first think of black swans.

    The Implications of Black Swan Theory

    I almost hesitate to bring up black swans, because the phrase has been so routinely butchered by the media. (And the phrase’s author, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, is gleefully vicious in taking apart anyone who misquotes him.)

    Quoting Wikipedia (in the hopes of dodging a bullet), Taleb’s Black Swan theory “refers to a large-impact, hard-to-predict, and rare event beyond the realm of normal expectations.”

    The unnerving aspect of swine flu is that if nothing much happens, then we all turn out fine because, well, nothing much happened.

    But if the virus mutates in its travels, and comes back in a “second wave” as some far more deadly form, then we could have one hell of a black swan on our hands – with tragic loss implications far bigger and nastier than any event in living memory.

    This is why the authorities are so cautious, and so willing to ratchet up the pandemic alarm even if the present iteration of swine flu seems “mild.” Viruses are strange opportunistic beings, by some classifications neither living nor dead, and they are known to get a leg up on their hosts whenever they can.

    So the trouble with even a “mild” version of swine flu is, the farther the flu spreads and the more humans it comes into contact with, the greater the chance that, somewhere down along the line, one particular substrain of the virus wins the genetic equivalent of the mutation lotto and turns into a swift and silent killer overnight.

    Vaccines Not a Help

    Another problem with just brushing off the swine flu scare is the threat of over-reliance on common vaccines. The more we rely on existing vaccines to kill the currently existing version of the swine flu virus, the greater the odds we give said virus of mutating its way into a vaccine-resistant strain – in much the same way many hospital bugs grow hardier and nastier after surviving a barrage of chemical attacks.

    So, again, the problem is not just the visible mortality rate. The problem is the scope and scale of the spread. The farther and wider swine flu travels, the greater the odds that something very, very bad happens.

    And now that I may have gone and ruined your pleasant Tuesday, what are the odds that something terrible will happen – that the Dr. Jekyll version of swine flu (sorry, H1N1) turns into Mr. Hyde?

    It’s tough to say, of course – in terms of a mutation threat, specific numbers are very hard to come by. Needless to say the odds are probably pretty low.

    But given the potential scope of the threat, the authorities are right to take this threat quite seriously. Even if the threat of a lethal worldwide pandemic were, say, one chance in 50, a 2% chance of millions dying in the midst of global economic shutdown is, to say the least, a nontrivial matter.

    The perhaps aptly named Larry Brilliant, chairman of the National Biosurveillance Advisory Subcommittee and chief “philanthrophy evangelist” at Google, writes the following in The Wall Street Journal:

    No one knows if the 2009 swine flu will behave like the 1918 Spanish flu that killed 50 million to 100 million world-wide, or like the 1957 Asian flu and 1968 Hong Kong flu that killed far fewer. This 2009 flu may weaken and lose its virulence, or strengthen and gain virulence – we just do not know.

    After totting up further bits of good and bad news – mostly on the bad side – Mr. Brilliant frighteningly adds this:

    The 2009 swine flu will not be the last and may not be the worst pandemic that we will face in the coming years. Indeed, we might be entering an Age of Pandemics. In our lifetimes, or our children’s lifetimes, we will face a broad array of dangerous emerging 21st-century diseases, man-made or natural, brand-new or old, newly resistant to our current vaccines and antiviral drugs. You can bet on it.

  59. On a prevuos thrad you spoke of trying to get the Big Media to cover more importatn stoires. However we may be better with them not covering them at all, than pretending to cover them but in a misleading manner.

    With no coveerage from BM, people who have heard about the story at all, will go to some alternate source, such as Fox or blogs. This will help build the readership of alternative media.
    —————————————
    Turndown: you make an excellent point. Better they should censor them and let FOX report them with some degree of accuracy than cover them in the distorted and corrupt manner they typically do which undermines their impact. Good thinking.

  60. Another problem with just brushing off the swine flu scare is the threat of over-reliance on common vaccines. The more we rely on existing vaccines to kill the currently existing version of the swine flu virus, the greater the odds we give said virus of mutating its way into a vaccine-resistant strain – in much the same way many hospital bugs grow hardier and nastier after surviving a barrage of chemical attacks
    *********
    When an article contains nonsense such as this, it make one wonder about the rest of the “information”. From my limited understanding of the flu virus, the usual starting point in Asia with the billions of people, pigs and birds is like a giant genetic slot machine. The billions of possible genetic combination of the flu virus are being assembled in this biologic environment and the small number that are viable and can be transmitted become the possible candidates for the next seasonal flu. Vaccines have nothing to do with the natural selection. But, I could be wrong.

  61. rgb44hrc Says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    —————————
    Go to:

    wbboei Says:

    May 4th, 2009 at 11:53 pm

  62. Obama eyes Canada as bank model: Mulls ‘Canadian option’ as a way to tweak rather than radically overhaul the troubled U.S. system

    May 04, 2009

    Barack Obama, contemplating sweeping reforms to the U.S. financial system, cited Canada as a model worth emulating in an interview published yesterday. “You know, I’ve looked at the evidence so far that indicates that other countries that have not seen some of the problems in their financial markets that we have nevertheless don’t separate between investment banks and commercial banks,” the U.S. president told New York Times economics columnistDavid Leonhart in a Times Magazine cover story yesterday. “They have a `supermarket’ model that they’ve got strong regulation of.”

    “Like Canada?” Leonhart asked.

    “Canada being a good example,” Obama said. “And they’ve actually done a good job in managing through what was a pretty risky period in the financial markets.” “When it comes to something like investment banking versus commercial banking,” Obama said, “the experience in a country like Canada would indicate that good, strong regulation that focuses less on the legal form of the institution and more on the functions that they’re carrying out is probably the right approach to take.”

    Obama praised Canada’s banking system in an earlier interview, in advance of the G20 meeting of world leaders in London last month. His more recent comments suggest Obama’s economic team is closer to deciding on an approach to a long-anticipated overhaul of financial regulation in America, where the current global financial crisis has its origins.

    Wall Street observers worry Obama might push for a breakup of America’s largest banks and other financial institutions, often deemed “too big to fail,” in order to make them easier to manage prudentially and to regulate. At the very least, a rough consensus of observers believe, Obama would reinstitute the divorce of commercial from investment banking that Franklin Roosevelt forced in 1933, and which remained in effect until 1999. Not long after, America’s disastrous housing boom got underway along with the distribution of “toxic” U.S. subprime, or `junk’,” mortgages to lenders worldwide.

    But the “Canadian option” of stricter regulations and stronger enforcement of them by a beefed-up existing regulatory regime would best fit Obama’s approach of tweaking, rather than overturning, the status quo. Canadian banks are limited by federal regulation to $20 in loans and other investments for each $1 in capital. The “reserve ratio” in the U.S. and Europe ranges as high as 40:1, a level of risk that some of the biggest world banks proved unable to handle when the U.S. housing boom collapsed in 2007 and default rates on mortgages soared.

    All of Canada’s six largest banks follow the supermarket model, having absorbed the securities industry and the trust sector in the 1980s. Only insurance, in which the banks merely dabble, remains mostly outside the banks’ ambit, despite years of bank lobbying of Ottawa to allow the marketing of a wider range of insurance products.

    As a result of their largely shunning the purchase of multimillion-dollar packages of U.S. junk mortgages, Canadian banks have earned international acclaim for their continued sound condition. But that had nothing to do with the Canadian banks’ size or diversity of functions, and everything to do with prudent risk decisions and scrupulous regulatory supervision.

    Canada’s five largest banks now are among the 50 most valuable in the world. A decade ago, none were in those ranks.

    thestar.com/Business/article/628422

  63. Senator blocking Obama’s FEMA nominee

    By BEN EVANS

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Hurricane season starts in just a few weeks, but the Federal Emergency Management Agency remains without a leader as a Louisiana GOP senator is blocking the White House’s nominee over lingering concerns from Hurricane Katrina.

    Sen. David Vitter said Tuesday he is standing by the “hold” he placed on President Barack Obama’s choice to lead FEMA. Vitter says he has been waiting for more than two months to get answers from the agency on how it will determine high-risk flood zones that will have a major effect on rebuilding. He also wants responses on rebuilding certain facilities in Grand Isle, La.

    Obama nominated Craig Fugate (FYOO’-gayt) to head the agency nearly two months ago. Fugate is a former chief of emergency management in Florida.

    google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i0kZuGuX6akoKlZXpsvlGS68OV1gD9808QA00

  64. White House Won’t Release Photos of Plane Flying Over NYC

    May 5, 2009 – 2:57pm.

    After spending nearly $328,835 to take photographers of an Air Force One backup plane flying over New York City last week caused a panic in the city that remembers all too well what happened with low-flying planes on September 11, 2001, the White House has decided not to make the photos public.

    An aide to President Barack Obama told the New York Post: “We have no plans to release them.”

    NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg was never informed of the photo op, and neither were the businesses and people in lower Manhattan. As a result, thousands panicked, evacuated buildings and flooded the streets when the plane and its companion F-16 fighter jet were spotted circling the city.

    The purpose of the entire photo-op mission was to take new publicity shots of the presidential jet over the city. But now it is likely that due to the White House’s monumental mistake in not informing the public, those photos will never see the light of day, at least not in public.

    Many cannot understand how a President who allows a photographer to take and publish intimate photos of him and his family in the White House could actually justify keeping these photos secret.

    clevelandleader.com/node/9946

  65. bboei Says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 2:36 pm
    On a prevuos thrad you spoke of trying to get the Big Media to cover more importatn stoires. However we may be better with them not covering them at all, than pretending to cover them but in a misleading manner.

    With no coveerage from BM, people who have heard about the story at all, will go to some alternate source, such as Fox or blogs. This will help build the readership of alternative media.
    —————————————
    Turndown: you make an excellent point. Better they should censor them and let FOX report them with some degree of accuracy than cover them in the distorted and corrupt manner they typically do which undermines their impact. Good thinking.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Most people do not blog. The people who have gone or remain on the dark side would probably never get the info.

  66. When an article contains nonsense such as this, it make one wonder about the rest of the “information”. From my limited understanding of the flu virus, the usual starting point in Asia with the billions of people, pigs and birds is like a giant genetic slot machine. The billions of possible genetic combination of the flu virus are being assembled in this biologic environment and the small number that are viable and can be transmitted become the possible candidates for the next seasonal flu. Vaccines have nothing to do with the natural selection. But, I could be wrong
    ————————————————————
    Whatever you may not know about this subspeciality, compared to me you are an expert. I will see what I can find out about this–through a friend of a friend. I do not want to challenge Justice unless I have hard proof. We do know there are drug resistant bacteria. And it is my understanding that they mutate in response to low non lethal doses of the anti-biotic. I had this discussion with a doctor in the emergency room at Belleview Hospital in New York City. The biology of a vaccine is not the same. So again I will see what if anything I find out. This may take a little time.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antibiotic_resistance#Causes_and_risk_factors

  67. JanH Says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 3:45 pm
    White House Won’t Release Photos of Plane Flying Over NYC

    May 5, 2009 – 2:57pm.

    After spending nearly $328,835 to take photographers of an Air Force One backup plane flying over New York City last week caused a panic in the city that remembers all too well what happened with low-flying planes on September 11, 2001, the White House has decided not to make the photos public.

    An aide to President Barack Obama told the New York Post: “We have no plans to release them.”

    &&&&&&&&&

    Ummm, cat….out….of….bag.

    The pictures have been splashed all across tv screens and front pages.

    The day after the incident, I mentioned that not only was this really bad on many levels, but that because of the uproar, they’d never be able to even use the photo-op pictures as……a photo-op. Lucky guess.

  68. They are okay with released torture photos but not the ones of the plane flying over NYC.

    Interesting sense of transparency obama has.

  69. Bambi has opened a hornets nest with his vacillation on this issue. His most serious opponent will be the CIA. They are a permanent institution whose members are at risk around the world. But now that Bambi has opened the door, he must not shut it even though he would like to now I am sure. Pelosi, for her part, is twisting in the wind.
    —————–
    Former Bush Officials Work to Soften Ethics Report on Interrogations

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    Who’s Blogging» Links to this article
    By Carrie Johnson
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, May 5, 2009; 3:06 PM

    Former Bush administration officials are launching a behind-the-scenes lobbying campaign to urge Justice Department leaders to soften an ethics report criticizing lawyers who blessed harsh detainee interrogation tactics, according to two sources familiar with the efforts.

    This Story
    Former Bush Officials Work to Soften Ethics Report on Interrogations
    Democrats Seek More Interrogation Documents
    In recent days, attorneys for the subjects of the ethics probe have encouraged senior Bush administration appointees to write and phone Justice Department officials, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the process is not complete.

    A draft report of more than 200 pages, prepared in January before Bush’s departure, recommends disciplinary action by state bar associations against two former department attorneys in the Office of Legal Counsel who might have committed misconduct in preparing and signing the so-called torture memos. State bar associations have the power to suspend a lawyer’s license to practice or impose other penalties.

    The memos offered support for waterboarding, slamming prisoners against a wall and other techniques that critics have likened to torture. The documents were drafted between 2002 and 2005.

    The sweeping investigation, now in its fifth year, could shed new light on the origins of the memos. Investigators rely in part on e-mail exchanges between Justice Department lawyers and lawyers at the CIA who sought advice about the legality of interrogation practices that have since been abandoned by the Obama administration.

    Two of the authors, Jay S. Bybee, now a federal appeals court judge in Nevada, and John C. Yoo, now a law professor in Southern California, faced a deadline of yesterday to respond to investigators.

    Attorneys for both men did not immediately return phone calls or e-mail messages seeking comment on the reports. An e-mail to Yoo and to a court representative for Bybee also received no response. The attorneys for the men, Maureen Mahoney and Miguel Estrada, had been trying to garner support for their clients by contacting former senior Justice Department officials to prevail upon their successors in the Obama administration, sources said.

    The legal analysis on interrogation prepared by a third former chief of the Office of Legal Counsel, Steven G. Bradbury, also was a subject of the ethics probe. But in an early draft, investigators did not make disciplinary recommendations about Bradbury. Before they left office this year, then-Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and then-Deputy Attorney General Mark Filip wrote a 14-page letter to counterbalance the draft report. They described the context surrounding the origins of the memos, which were written at a time when government officials feared another terrorist strike on American soil.

    Both Mukasey and Filip were dissatisfied with the quality of the legal analysis in the wide-ranging draft report, sources said. Among other things, the draft report cited lengthy passages from a 2004 CIA inspector general investigation and cast doubt on the effectiveness of the questioning techniques, which sources characterized as far afield from the narrow legal questions surrounding the lawyers’ activities. The letter from Mukasey and Filip has not been publicly released, but it may emerge when the investigative report is issued.

    Interest groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have sued to gain access to the CIA inspector general report and other documents dealing with detainee treatment.

    Late Monday evening, Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich wrote senior congressional Democrats to offer an update about the status of the ethics investigation, which is being conducted by the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility. Weich told Sens. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden “will have access to whatever information they need to evaluate the final report and make determinations about appropriate next steps.”

    Authorities did not signal in the letter when or in what form the report would be released. They have shared their findings with the CIA and asked for the agency’s comments, the letter said. The biggest holdup to release has been the fact that the content of the interrogation memos had been classified, but the documents were released last month by the Justice Department. Sources said the highly anticipated report could emerge as soon as this summer.

    Any disciplinary findings about the former Justice Department attorneys are likely to add fuel to calls within Congress and among left-leaning interest groups for criminal prosecutions of Bush administration officials who authorized the interrogations and for an independent congressional inquiry into the origins of the practices.

    Legal experts on both sides of the political aisle have cast doubt on the likelihood of wide-scale criminal probes, but neither President Obama nor Holder has ruled out investigations of those who might have gone beyond the Justice Department’s legal advice.

    The Office of Professional Responsibility, which has been conducting the investigation, itself has been a focus of criticism from defense lawyers and judges, who say it moves slowly and operates with too much secrecy. Last month Attorney General Holder transferred its longtime leader, H. Marshall Jarrett, to another senior post and replaced him with federal prosecutor Mary Patrice Brown. The report on Yoo, Bybee and Bradbury is now in her court, department sources said.

  70. Wonder how his red necked racist constituents feel about this. Well I guess they don’t care, they re-elected him after he denigrated them !
    *********************************************

    Murtha’s nephew scores millions in non-compete Pentagon contracts

    9:29 am on May 5, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

    To hear Robert Murtha explain, if he had to tell us what he does for the government, the terrorists would win. The Washington Post seems less than convinced. They report that John Murtha’s nephew has a knack of garnering millions in Pentagon contracts without competition, and that his facility seems less than productive enough to deliver that kind of value back to the DoD:
    The headquarters of Murtech, in a low-slung, bland building in a Glen Burnie business park, has its blinds drawn tight and few signs of life. On several days of visits, a handful of cars sit in the parking lot, and no trucks arrive at the 10 loading bays at the back of the building.
    Yet last year, Murtech received $4 million in Pentagon work, all of it without competition, for a variety of warehousing and engineering services. With its long corridor of sparsely occupied offices and an unmanned reception area, Murtech’s most striking feature is its owner — Robert C. Murtha Jr., 49. He is the nephew of Rep. John P. Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who has significant sway over the Defense Department’s spending as chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.
    Robert Murtha said he is not at liberty to discuss in detail what his company does, but for four years it has subsisted on defense contracts, according to records and interviews. He said Murtech’s 17 employees “provide necessary logistical support” to Pentagon testing programs that focus on detecting chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear threats, “and that’s about as far as I feel comfortable going.” Giving more details could provide important clues to terrorist plotters, he said.
    Wow! That must be some kind of warehousing work going on at Murtech! Murtha claims that the no-bid contracts he received came because the government was “in a bind” after one of their other warehousing contracts ended, and they needed someone already established in the field. He also claims that the name “Murtha” hasn’t helped him in the business of no-bid Pentagon contracts, but at least one of his contracts came through PMA, the John Murtha-associated lobbying group now at the center of a federal investigation for corruption in earmarking and influence peddling.
    As far as the name “Murtha” being a hindrance, the Washington Post notes that Robert’s not the only Murtha doing all right despite that supposed handicap. His father, John Murtha’s brother Robert Sr, runs another highly-successful lobbying group, KSA, that specializes in — wait for it — defense contracts from the Appropriations Committee. If the name “Murtha” is a drag on government contracting, imagine what they could do by changing their names … maybe to Visclosky.
    There may be good reasons to occasionally award no-bid contracts for highly specialized work, but warehousing doesn’t fall into that category. Granting no-bid Pentagon contracts to a powerful Congressman’s nephew screams for an investigation, and a deeper look at the “culture of corruption” that seems to surround John Murtha and his allies on Capitol Hill.

  71. Good read, the bullies, or Brown Shirts as I like to call them. Scary really. It is Germany all over.
    ************************************************

    Obama Democrats Accent Bullying Over Governing: Amity Shlaes

    bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=washingtonstory&sid=aWVgBVC0L05w

    May 5 (Bloomberg) — So Michele Bachmann’

  72. “Murtha claims that the no-bid contracts he received came because the government was “in a bind” after one of their other warehousing contracts ended, and they needed someone already established in the field.”

    ——————————–

    Bull!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  73. From Bitterpolitiz as was 4;31

    Harman queried CIA on interrogation

    Rep. Jane Harman, facing a likely primary challenge from the left flank of the Democratic Party, was one of the only lawmakers in 2003 to challenge the CIA’s program of harsh interrogations, according to a little-noticed letter to the CIA that was declassified last year.

    The California Democrat’s position contrasts with that of a longtime colleague and rival, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Mrs. Pelosi has in the past two weeks said she was powerless to stop the interrogation program, which critics say included torture, and that she was never told that the program was actually being implemented.

    Mrs. Harman, on the other hand, did voice some objections in 2003.

    A Feb. 10, 2003, letter she sent to the CIA said that the interrogation program “raises profound policy questions and I am concerned about whether these have been as rigorously examined as the legal questions. I would like to know what kind of policy review took place and what questions were examined.”

    In the letter, she also urged the CIA not to destroy tapes of the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, an al Qaeda operative said to have been waterboarded, after an inquiry by the CIA’s inspector general.

    These positions and also objections she raised in December 2005 to the National Security Agency’s warrantless wiretapping program paint a different picture of a lawmaker that some Democrats have said hews too closely to Republican positions on national security. Mrs. Harman supported the 2003 Iraq war and resisted proposals to withdraw entirely from Iraq in 2006 and 2007 – a position that undermined her efforts to become chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence after Democrats won a majority.

    She is expected to face a primary challenge from the president of the Los Angeles chapter of Progressive Democrats of America, Marcy Winograd, who has established an exploratory committee with an eye on a run against Mrs. Harman in 2010. Mrs. Harman defeated Ms. Winograd in 2006.

    Gabor Rona, the international legal director of Human Rights First, said Monday the 2003 exchange between Mrs. Harman and the CIA “is further evidence that Congress, rather than having approved CIA torture, was not properly briefed and was largely kept in the dark.”

    He added, “The fact that congresswoman Harman raised questions about the CIAs treatment of detainees provides yet more support for a full investigation into the Bush administration’s authorization of torture.”

    Ms. Harman sent the letter to Scott Muller, general counsel of the CIA, without informing the House intelligence panel’s chairman, Rep. Porter Goss, Florida Republican, who went on to become CIA director in 2005.

    Some press accounts have speculated that Mr. Goss ordered an investigation in 2005 of Mrs. Harman after she popped up on an electronic surveillance of a purported unidentified Israeli spy.

    The purported Israeli operative offered to help Ms. Harman in her quest to secure the chairmanship of the intelligence committee, suggesting that in return, she could help persuade the Justice Department to drop the investigation of two pro-Israel lobbyists, Steven J. Rosen and Keith Weissman. She never accepted the deal, ending the conversation abruptly, saying, “This conversation is over.” The case against Mr. Rosen and Mr. Weissman, charged with obtaining and leaking classified information, was dropped last week.

    A U.S. official, who spoke on the condition of not being named because of the sensitivity of the issue, said Mrs. Harman’s query was one of very few the CIA received about the program from members of Congress at the time.

    The ranking Republican and former chairman of the House intelligence panel, Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan confirmed this. He said Monday, “Harman at least raised some questions. And as far as I can tell, and as far as the comments from the current speaker goes, Nancy Pelosi did nothing because she felt powerless.”

    Mrs. Pelosi prevented Mrs. Harman from becoming chairman of the intelligence committee in 2006, an abrogation of a deal Mrs. Harman said she had struck with former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri.

  74. “Mrs. Pelosi prevented Mrs. Harman from becoming chairman of the intelligence committee in 2006, an abrogation of a deal Mrs. Harman said she had struck with former House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt of Missouri.”

    ———————————–

    When will Pelosi, Reid, and a few others come under investigation for their own wheeling and dealing and cutthroat tactics which I personally believe to be much more severe than anything Harman has ever done?

  75. JanH Says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 4:34 pm
    “Murtha claims that the no-bid contracts he received came because the government was “in a bind” after one of their other warehousing contracts ended, and they needed someone already established in the field.”
    &&&&&&&&&

    Very noble and efficient of Mr. Murtha.

    The man sure knows how to access funds in DC.

  76. Gabor Rona, the international legal director of Human Rights First, said Monday the 2003 exchange between Mrs. Harman and the CIA “is further evidence that Congress, rather than having approved CIA torture, was not properly briefed and was largely kept in the dark.”
    **********
    Highly unlikely that they were not properly briefed. If they weren’t properly briefed, Boehner wouldn’t be calling for release of the CIA minutes from those meetings. Boehner knows Pelosi and the other Dems are lying and he is calling them on it.

  77. “WRONG-WAY OBAMA” MAKING PROGRESS…. IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!!!

    From the show MarketPlace yesterday:

    This quote by Harley Shaiken lays the problem at “Washington’s” feet, but we know that Mr. Shaiken fully means Obama, whose brilliant idea it was to micromanage GM.

    HARLEY SHAIKEN: “The problem with GM’s new Washington-mandated restructuring plan is that it steps on the gas in the wrong direction.”

    Here’s the link:

    marketplace.publicradio.org/display/web/2009/05/04/pm_chrysler/

    Here’s the whole text:

    TEXT OF STORY
    Kai Ryssdal: General Motors may not be far behind Chrysler. It needs billions more in government loans to survive and stay out of Chapter 11. But commentator Harley Shaiken says GM is going about it all wrong.

    ——————————————————————————–

    HARLEY SHAIKEN: The problem with GM’s new Washington-mandated restructuring plan is that it steps on the gas in the wrong direction. Washington is at cross-purposes: the stimulus package spends $800 billion to create jobs, while billions in loans to GM are conditioned on eliminating them. GM’s plan seeks to save the company by shrinking it.

    In the U.S., GM will ax 23,000 factory jobs — a number the size of Chrysler — 17 plants, and Pontiac, all in the next three years. What’s more, the company plans to build 40 percent of the cars it sells in the U.S. offshore, up from 23 percent today, many in low-wage areas say China. Well, what other options are there?

    The auto-task force should press for a bold plan to innovate like accelerating the far-better, more fuel-efficient vehicles already rolling off the assembly lines. How about a Pontiac with the sizzle of a 1967 GTO and the soul of a hybrid? It’s easy to forget that GM has some of the most talented engineers, designers, and blue-collar workers in the world. What the company lacked is imagination and effective leadership.

    Consider FIAT. When the Italian automaker floundered in 2004, a new CEO, Sergio Marchionne, turned management inside out and introduced exciting, popular new models. The company began making money without closing plants or eliminating workers. GM’s accountants then paid $2 billion to sever its ties to FIAT.

    Fritz Henderson, the new GM CEO, praised the government for acting like a “private equity firm.” A hedge fund wants to make money fast for its client — in this case, the taxpayer — without regard to social cost. Unlike most clients, however, the taxpayer picks up the social cost. Longer unemployment lines and more foreclosures are devastating for the victims, not cheap for the rest of us.

    In the late 1950s the legendary car maker Studebaker-Packard sought to regain its luster through downsizing. It was so successful it no longer exists. The best use of taxpayer loans is a revitalized GM that creates jobs, not eliminates them.

    &&&&
    RYSSDAL: Harley Shaiken teaches labor and the global economy at the University of California, Berkeley.

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