Obama: Rob The Old People

“Follow The Money” was the advice given to the reporters chasing the Watergate scandal. “Follow The Money” is how Eliot Ness tripped up Chicago’s Al Capone. “Follow The Money” is the key to understanding the Chicago Obama Crimelords.

We’d like to discuss hypocrite Elizabeth Edwards, who felt no sympathy or sisterhood but instead attacked Hillary Clinton for not being as “happy” as Lizzy, and her hubby John “Are You My Daddy?” Edwards but we will instead “follow the money”.

We’d like to discuss how even at the sites which have been our relentless critics, some are waking up, some actually quote Big Pink. We would also like to continue to explore the thugs and thuggery at the heart of the Obama Crime Family.

We’d like to discuss those subjects, but instead we will continue to “follow the money”.

* * * * *

Remember when Obama hacks and flacks discussed their rejection of the Democratic FDR coalition in favor of their soylent green brave new world?:

As the long suffering Donna declared A new Democratic coalition is younger. It is more urban, as well as suburban, and we don’t have to just rely on white blue-collar voters and Hispanics.

Axelrod has declared The white working class has gone to the Republican nominee for many elections, going back even to the Clinton years. This is not new that Democratic candidates don’t rely solely on those votes.

Donna and David, the Dungeons and Dragons of the Obama set, deliberately set out to get rid of those older, whiter, voters from the Democratic coalition seemingly unaware that the young have parents and that the young all too soon turn older then old too. The Obama, Donna, and David coalition did not add to the Democratic coalition but rather sought to subtract, for the purpose of one election and one personality, from the real working class Democratic FDR coalition.

Add to that soylent green (you do remember “soylent green” don’t you?) strategy the Obama “budget overview” which we immediately opposed.

We had many reasons to oppose the Obama “budget overview”. While others praised the “budget overview” we immediately saw it for the scam it is. Our opposition focused on the fake Obama numbers and the massive deficits and the massive inflation which Obama would force on the American economy.

Now we have increasing proof and testimony that we again have been right. The proof and testimony comes from one of Obama’s major supporters and supposed confidants:



It is mostly older Americans, the ones no longer wanted in the soylent green Obama Dimocratic Party that have fixed incomes. Inflation kills those on fixed incomes. Billionaire Buffet has no worries on the financial front – but he certainly gave away the Obama plan:

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.”

The Big Blogs ignored Big Pink. The Big Blogs moaned about “deflation” and laughed at us for our focused discussions about the real threat – INFLATION.

We were mocked because of our “follow the money” focus on deficits and debt and the inflation to come. The mockery lessens now that children realize they will have to take care of their insolvent parents and worry about paying the Obama bills themselves.

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.

Today’s young and not so young will pay the bills when the nation is rescued and Obama with his Crimelords no longer occupies Washington. Today’s old and near old will pay now as Obama robs them to finance his looting of the American economy.

The looting of the American economy by Obama and his Crimelords is running on schedule:

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.”

The mental giants who helped destroy the American economy now say “don’t worry”:

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.”

The Obama credit card will be used over and over. Others will lend and weaken America. It is possible that America will be so weak the lenders will abandon us to finally get our financial house in order.

One worry, however, is that there are fewer eager lenders to buy all that American debt. [snip]

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.

Flim-flam confidence men always get more creative.

Flim-flam confidence men always target the old first.

The old are the most profitable target.

Eventually, everything young is old again.

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142 thoughts on “Obama: Rob The Old People

  1. Reposted from previous thread:

    rgb44hrc Says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 5:10 pm
    “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.

  2. Why did Buffett support Obama in the first place? He had to know that his economic plan was crap. Where is Soros in all of this?

  3. Puma-SF

    I find it the hardest to understand the turncoats such as Buffet. Many of them felt that a Dim was better than a Rep. However, they failed to see the the Dim they switched to might be a Rep in Dim clothing.

  4. It was upseting when Buffett joined forces with the Fraud, good ?
    *********************************

    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.
    ********************************

    I think it was the plan all along.

  5. Admin. excellent work.

    Maybe it is just me but I have an intuitive sense–right or wrong–that the walls are starting to close in on Mr. Obama.

    Whether by intent or design his ultimate plan is to rob the old people. The ones living on fixed income. Inflate the money, freeze the COLA and raise their taxes. No margin.

    As the Hurst article says, he had a clear choice to make in the gathering storm:

    1. create safety nets, protect jobs and allow the marketplace to clean out the deadwood.

    or-

    2. pour money into the banking system, enrich the very cronies who funded his candidacy and destroyed their companies–instead of providing guarantees only.

    And what did he do? Snake-eyes–for people on fixed income. People who have neither the time or the resources to recover from this.

    Obama needs cover now–desperately. Specifically, he needs someone to blame. But Franken won, Spectre (double)crossed, and now he has that fillibuster proof majority he has always claimed to seek. And with it comes accoutability for what happens next. No longer can he blame the Republicans. He has the con and it is damnosa hereitas baby.

    He can make that White House press corps GROVEL and grovel they do at his feet. That is all they are good for–grovelling. But the American People are seeing the game, and know they cannot be trusted. The same old familiar lies. Ironically, FOX is now the market, and the rest of them are relegated to bit roles. When you sell your soul this happens.

    It isnt one wall that will close in. It is many. One term if he is lucky. Less than one term if we are.

    For someone who is a Chicago crimelord politician like him, the acquisition of a veto proof majority means nowhere to go and nowhere to hide as things worsen. He can always get big media who owes him everything to grovel at his feet, but as wrong way Obama picks the pocket of the old people to pay off his goose lake crowd, soros capitalists, general electric thugs and their progeny the people of this country will wake up The political g-forces on this man will rip him apart.

  6. My question is, does the US now believe the Gov of Pakistan is now the Taliban?
    *********************************************
    from Bitter

    US considers halting drone attacks on Pakistan

    The Obama administration is considering suspending drone attacks against al-Qaeda and Taliban militants inside Pakistan because it fears they are undermining the critically weak government.

    telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/5279815/US-considers-halting-drone-attacks-on-Pakistan.html

  7. Where is Soros in all of this?

    ————————–

    He’s busy counting his 10 pieces of silver and stealing from old ladies.

  8. Lauria allegations of threats corroborated

    hotair.com/archives/2009/05/05/lauria-allegations-of-threats-corroborated/

    Business Insider reports that more than one Chrysler senior creditor has corroborated Thomas Lauria’s allegation that the Obama administration threatened them with public attacks if they didn’t surrender their contractual rights. One of their sources says that the Obama team comprises some of the worst “ends justify the means” people he’s ever encountered (via HA reader Geoff A):

    Creditors to Chrysler describe negotiations with the company and the Obama administration as “a farce,” saying the administration was bent on forcing their hands using hardball tactics and threats.

    Conversations with administration officials left them expecting that they would be politically targeted, two participants in the negotiations said. …

    The sources, who represent creditors to Chrysler, say were taken aback by the hardball tactics that the Obama administration employed to cajole them into acquiescing to plans to restructure Chrysler. One person said described the administration as the most shocking “end justifies the means” group they have ever encountered. Another characterized Obama was “the most dangerous smooth talker on the planet- and I knew Kissinger.” Both were voters for Obama in the last election.

    One participant in negotiations said that the administration’s tactic was to present what one described as a “madman theory of the presidency” in which the President is someone to be feared because he was willing to do anything to get his way. The person said this threat was taken very seriously by his firm.

    Well, that’s certainly reassuring. The man at the helm during one of the biggest economic crises in decades is a madman who will act in an unpredictable and irrational manner if he doesn’t get his way. It sounds like they paint Obama as either a lunatic or a petulant child.

    As Glenn Reynolds says, the country is in the very best of hands.

    The story now has more than one source, and mounting testimony — albeit understandably anonymous testimony, at least at this point — that the White House tried threatening senior creditors instead of doing their job in enforcing the law. Not only do they not realize that their responsibilities do not include building business plans for private enterprises, but also don’t include assuming the role of Michael Corleone and acting like organized-crime thugs. Actually, the way the White House made Obama sound, maybe Sonny Corleone is a better analogy … or perhaps Fredo.
    *********************************************

    But then….
    **************************************************

    i saw lauria interviewed on cavuto and lauria said his client doesn’t want him to talk about the allegations. cavuto kept pressing him and asked lauria after coming out to make this allegation why all of a sudden he doesn’t want to talk it?
    laurie just kept saying, he can’t talk about it.
    hmm, something smells funny and it ain’t fish.

    Do you think “someone” got to him? link from another blog

  9. All his studied folksiness aside Warren Buffet is one of the coldest hearted capitalists you will find. He may give billions to the Gates foundation but that does not change the cut of his jib. Neutron Jack Welch was one of his favoite CEOs and that little Irish prick threw more people out of work and downsized GE and corrupted the media. I remember Buffets partner Charlie Munger (Munger & Tolles) who I admire because what you see is what you get. He said that when Berkshire was still a textile company, a new techonology came on line. He said Warren hoped it would not work because if it did he would have to throw many people out of work. But of course it would all be done in a folksie sort of way, so when they could no longer feed their families it would not hurt so much. Let me say it straight out. Warren knew exactly where this train was heading and did nothign to restrain Obama, Pelosi and Reid. The Oracle of Omaha is nobodys fool.

  10. JanH Says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 6:23 pm
    ****************************************************

    Not a stretch since he knocked the gold out of Holocaust victims mouths as a teen!

  11. wbboei Says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 6:25 pm
    All his studied folksiness aside Warren Buffet is one of the coldest hearted capitalists you will find.
    ************************************************
    I always wondered about that.

  12. If I was wandering along a beach, found a latern that washed ashore, picked it up, a genie appeared and gave me one wish it would be that we learn to differentiate between form and substance. I have never know a con man who did not look you straight in the eye and tell you a convincing story.

  13. I was driving home from the Vet actually this afternoon and the radio reported a woman in Texas has died from the Swine flu, can’t find a link yet.

  14. I work in a Detox unit and I can smell a con a mile away. I never believed this Fraud for a moment and am surprised @ my fellow travelers that did and still do.

  15. One of Warrens famous sayings (he has a million of them, and the financial media treats them like parables from Christ) is its only when the tide goes out that you see who has been swimming without a bathing suit . . . . well . . . last year one A-share of Berkshire was selling for 150 k. Today it is selling for about half that. Se la vie.

  16. wbboei Says:

    May 5th, 2009 at 6:39 pm
    One of Warrens famous sayings (he has a million of them, and the financial media treats them like parables from Christ)
    *****************************************

    Too funny, but true. Money is the King maker and the more money you have, the more Christ like you are treated.

  17. Excellent, Admin.

    I’ve been thinking about that movie, Solylent Green, lately.
    It sure seems relevant to what’s going on under BO, just like 1984.

    Anyone else see today’s pic-du-jour of BoJo at a burger joint?

    Gonzo, I saw Laurio on Cavuto. He seems stressed and has clammed up about the client(s) not going along with the Chrysler bankruptcy as is.
    .
    wbboei, I hope you’re right the walls are closing in on BO. But will they slam shut in time to save the coiuntry?

  18. Where is Soros in all of this?

    ————————–

    He’s busy counting his 10 pieces of silver and stealing from old ladies.

    —————-

    And donating one of those pieces of silver to charity to buy good will from the ignorant and a tax dedution as well. Spending two pieces to control the democratic party and corrupt our political system. Keeping the remaining seven for himself. Sounds like a life plan to me.

  19. I hope you’re right the walls are closing in on BO. But will they slam shut in time to save the coiuntry?
    ——————————
    I agree Basil. Timing is everything.

  20. Newsweek
    Tuesday, May 05, 2009 12:32 PM

    Kennedy Intrigue: Caroline’s Kids Said No, Drama at MGH

    There are very few things that political reporters relish more than a spot of Kennedy family intrigue. Your Gaggler is no exception, which is why I rushed to the Vanity Fair website as soon as I found out that those lucky ducks had an excerpt of Edward Klein’s forthcoming book “Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died”. While it’s not particularly saucy – which is to be expected given the ailing Senator’s age and health – Klein got some fabulous scoopage on Caroline Kennedy’s decision to withdraw her name for consideration for Hillary Clinton’s Senate seat. Remember all the speculation about what precise event prompted the dropout? Well, Klein has some answers.

    Caroline is a favorite of Teddy’s, and it was his desire to see her assume the family’s political mantle. Klein quotes an anonymous adviser as saying, “He felt it was very important to have a Kennedy in the Senate after he was gone, and when Hillary [Clinton] announced she was leaving the Senate to become secretary of state, Ted thought that Caroline should take her seat. He put it to Caroline almost like a last wish, and Caroline felt that she couldn’t let her uncle Teddy down.” Caroline was miffed that Governor Paterson didn’t immediately succumb to the romance of the Kennedy family name, Klein reports, and she called powerful DC friends to kvetch. Klein writes “This was a side of Caroline that few people had ever seen, or even suspected. According to one veteran lawyer who spoke with her, Caroline sounded like the old Bobby Kennedy—loud, harsh, and grating.” Whoa. She apparently felt humiliated that her pedigree along with her professional creds weren’t enough to automatically seal the deal. But she pursued the seat regardless, that is, until her family intervened.

    Klein writes that Caroline was getting ready for a dinner party when her kids staged a coup. According to his source “One night, Caroline and Ed Schlossberg were dressing to go out to a dinner party when her daughters, Rose and Tatiana, came into her bedroom to confront her about the situation. Caroline was putting on her makeup and was a few minutes from leaving when they sat down on her bed and told her what they were thinking.” And what was that, pray tell? “Her children felt that she was becoming a different person—one that they didn’t much like. They had never heard her talk so tough. They told her that, if she was getting this worked up just getting the job, they didn’t want to see what she would be like in the trenches of a political campaign or a fight in Washington.” Her daughter Rose reportedly told Caroline she was above all the tabloid chatter she’d incited. By the end of the conversation, Caroline had decided to ditch her bid and called Governor Paterson to tell him. Klein’s source says that had Paterson called Caroline an hour earlier, she might well be the newest Senator from NY.

    Your Gaggler’s other favorite anecdote from the excerpt involves the shenanigans at Mass General Hospital when Kennedy was admitted there after collapsing at the Kennedy compound in Hyannisport last year. Rather than being a moment for quiet empathy, Kennedy’s hospitalization provided a stage for a power play between his possible successors as head of the nation’s most storied political family. The players: his wife Vicki, nephew (and son of RFK) Joe and of course Caroline. Klein reports that Joe has often been dismissive of Vicki and is deeply resentful of Caroline: “Joe is suspicious and envious of the way Ted fawns over Caroline. He doubtless worries about how much influence she has over him.” In the hospital room, the three apparently avoided making eye contact. Here’s the scene:

    “Joe vied with Vicki over who was in charge,” said another family friend. “He ordered a larger flat-screen television be delivered so they could watch the Red Sox game, and called out to [the restaurant] Legal Sea Foods, ordering a feast of lobster, clams, and shrimp. Mass. General is used to the Kennedys’ bluster, but this got over the top. The senator has a very serious, probably life-threatening condition, and his family is throwing a party. The combination of so many famous faces and all the merrymaking disrupted the entire floor. Patients as well as staff were crowding around, trying to get a glimpse. One of the head nurses stepped in and spoke with Joe, who told her in no uncertain terms to mind her own business.”
    The commotion grew louder as more Kennedy-family retainers squeezed into the already overcrowded hospital suite to pay their respects to the ailing senator. “The elephant in the room was the notion of succession,” recalled one. “The question was: Who was in line to take over for Ted, not just, or necessarily, in his Senate seat but as head of the family? There were a lot of very strong characters in that hospital suite, and they are all fiercely competitive. Vicki is seen by all as an interloper, and she is deeply resented by Ted’s children and many of the nephews. Joe, who sees himself as the only serious heir apparent, particularly loathes her control over his uncle and hence the family. Joe inherited his father’s ruthless gene. He is nothing if not aggressive. And anybody who tries to get between him and Ted’s Senate chair is in for a fight.

    Obama may be the most popular guy on the planet, but your Gaggler doubts his peeps will ever rival the Kennedys when it comes to royal drama.

    blog.newsweek.com/blogs/thegaggle/archive/2009/05/05/kennedy-intrigue-caroline-s-kids-said-no-drama-at-mgh.aspx

  21. May 6, 2009

    Peres: There is no space between us and the US

    By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER

    US President Barack Obama called protecting Israel’s security a “top priority” for the US when welcoming the first Israeli leader to visit his White House on Tuesday. Obama met with President Shimon Peres, after which Peres told reporters that “there is no space between us and the United States.”

    But in a sign of the differences between the views of the two new governments, in an earlier meeting with Vice President Joseph Biden, Peres said ending natural growth in settlements was a non-starter. “Israel cannot instruct settlers in existing settlements not to have children or get married,” Peres said.

    In comments before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee earlier in the day, Biden said that settlement expansion must stop, and called on Palestinians and the Arab world to make “meaningful gestures” to advance peace. Peres also rejected the idea of “linkage” between the Palestinian and Iranian issues, two topics the US administration has frequently mentioned together.

    The visit started with a 30-minute meeting among Peres, Israeli Ambassador to the US Sallai Meridor and Obama, along with several top aides, including National Security Council chairman Gen. James Jones. The two presidents then held a 15-minute tête-á-tête.

    Before his meeting with Obama, Peres said Israel hadn’t demanded that the US set a time limit on its negotiations with Iran. “Israel doesn’t give the US an ultimatum,” he said in a briefing with Israeli reporters following his meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    He also said that the US and Israel were “100 percent” on the same page when it came to Iran, in response to a question from The Jerusalem Post.
    Though Israel has repeatedly expressed its concern that America’s talks with Iran will last too long, allowing Teheran to master nuclear technology, Peres said the issue of a time frame was misleading.

    He explained that it was impossible to “set a clock,” because events were “fluid and volatile” and would dictate the pace, instead of preset timelines.

    But earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman reportedly declared that action would need to be taken if three months of diplomacy elapsed with no results.

    Peres, who also met with US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, described his meeting with Clinton as “excellent” and said there had been absolutely no tensions between the sides during the meeting.

    There has been much speculation about how the difference in stated US and Israeli policy – the US emphatically backs a Palestinian state, while the new Israeli government has avoided articulating that position – would play out in the initial meetings Israeli leaders are holding here in Washington. Peres’s visit will be followed by that of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, on May 18. But Peres said he had emphasized that Israel accepted the road map peace plan, which calls for the eventual formation of a Palestinian state, and that the new government intended to keep to previous government decisions.

    “Repeating it again doesn’t make it stronger,” he said during the press briefing.

    jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1239710873737&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  22. Klein is a newsweek favorite and a Hillary hater. He has no credibility for those reasons. What he does not know he invents.

  23. If you want to know where Mr Obama is coming from on the Middle East, forget about the American position or the Israeli position. Study the Saudi position and you will get your answer.

  24. The Saudis have been running our Middle East position for a long time. Black gold = two wars and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. I would drill in my back yard to free us from their grip. No wonder the Fraud bowed so low. He wasn’t the first, just the first to do so in public.

  25. If I recall correctly, it was a Saudi who got him into Harvard Law School. There are definite ties between Mr. Obama and the Saudis.

  26. I read an article claiming there could be tension b/t Holbrooke and Hillary as allegedly Holbrooke has created hos owm “min ” state department. It suggested, ultimately, a power play would be made and a resignation would occur. I always thought Holbrooke and the Clintons’ were friendly?

  27. I also agree with Wbboei…Saudis, as evidenced by the huge bow, are his rulers. Perhaps, fortunately, the Saudis fear a nuclear Iran even more than Israel.

  28. I know wobbei, I just think the trillion $ question is why? Why would the Saudi pay for him to attend Harvard?
    ******************************************

    Did you hear Michael Savage has been put on a list that he can’t enter Great Britian? Along with mass murders…I heard it on the radio but here is the post from BP

    Michael Savage Banned From Entering UK: Country Publishes List Of People Not Allowed

    LONDON — Britain on Tuesday published its first list of people barred from entering the country for allegedly fostering extremism or hatred, including Muslim extremists, a right-wing American radio host, an Israeli settler and jailed Russian gang members.

    The U.K.’s law and order chief, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, said she decided to publish the names of 16 of 22 people who have been banned by the government since October so others could better understand what sort of behavior Britain was not prepared to tolerate.

    She cited unidentified “public interest” reasons for not disclosing the other six names.

    “I think it’s important that people understand the sorts of values and sorts of standards that we have here, the fact that it’s a privilege to come and the sort of things that mean you won’t be welcome in this country,” Smith told GMTV.

    But some of the people on the list criticized it, and one analyst said it contains a wide variety of people to avoid giving Britain’s Muslims the impression that it singles them out.

    Popular American talk-radio host, Michael Savage, who broadcasts from San Francisco and has called the Muslim holy book, the Quran, a “book of hate,” is on the list. Savage also has enraged parents of children with autism by saying in most cases it’s “a brat who hasn’t been told to cut the act out.”

    Savage told the conservative Web site WorldNetDaily.com that he was considering legal action against Smith for defamation.

    “She’s linking me with mass murderers who are in prison for killing Jewish children on buses? For my speech? The country where the Magna Carta was created?” the site quoted him as saying Tuesday.

  29. That is absurd….banning an over the top radio host from a country already being controlled by a fanatically growing anti-West Muslim population preaching the most hateful things about all “infidels”.

  30. jbstonesfan, They are friendly. Hillary wanted Holbrooke as envoy. I know Holbrooke’s reputation as having a big ego, but if Hillary wants him on board, I have no problem with it. We also should all remember that Holbrooke supported Hillary’s presidential bid.

  31. Celebrities Line Up for White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Hollywood wasn’t fond of Bush, but celebs are flooding to Obama’s dinner

    By Kenneth T. Walsh
    Posted May 5, 2009

    The surge of celebrities attending the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner Saturday night is sure to cause more criticism of the event as a star-studded extravaganza that overdoes the celebrity factor.

    Hollywood types didn’t like George W. Bush or his policies, so they didn’t flood to the dinner during the past few years of Bush’s tenure. Now that’s changing. President Obama appears to have a very strong following in the entertainment world. Among those scheduled to attend this year’s dinner are Jon Bon Jovi and Taye Diggs as guests of ABC; Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as guests of CBS; John Cusack, Whoopi Goldberg, Felicity Huffman, and Mariska Hargitay as guests of NBC; Tim Daly and Richard Belzer as guests of USA Today; and Sting, Kevin Bacon, Forest Whitaker, and Eva Longoria Parker as guests of Time/People Magazine.

    The New York Times is boycotting the event for the second year in a row. Times execs say the dinner is too oriented to currying favor with big shots and gives a bad impression of the media cozying up to administration insiders. This line of criticism is sure to increase as the guest list gets more attention.

    usnews.com/articles/news/obama/2009/05/05/celebrities-line-up-for-white-house-correspondents-dinner.html

  32. House Democrats’ “No” on Guantanamo Closure a Stunning Rebuke to Obama

    May 05, 2009
    By Peter Roff

    President Barack Obama experience his first congressional hiccup Monday when Democrats in the House failed to back his efforts to close the U.S.-run detention facility housing suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. According to Tuesday’s Washington Times, House Democrats “rejected Mr. Obama’s request for $81 million to close the detention center” as part of a war-funding bill, “saying the White House lacks a plan to safely relocate the roughly 240 terrorist suspects held on the island.”

    Obama ordered the facility closed during a flurry of activity over his presidency’s first days. Nevertheless, the order to close the detention center was not accompanied by a plan to do so, something that has provoked considerable criticism from congressional Republicans.

    The Democrats’ refusal to back the White House’s request is a stunning rebuke to the president. And it is a slap in the face to the antiwar activists who provided money and political volunteers to help Obama win the White House last November and who have been extremely vocal in their demands that the Gitmo facility be closed.

    One key defector appears to be House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey, the powerful Wisconsin Democrat who keeps the federal government’s purse strings in his hip pocket. Obey, who agrees that Gitmo should be closed, had strong words for the White House’s failure to handle the matter with more skill. “While I don’t mind defending a concrete program,” the Times quoted Obey saying, “I’m not much interested in wasting my energy defending a theoretical program.” When the White House gets a plan together, Obey added, “they are welcome to come back and talk to us about it.”

    The decision to withhold funding for Gitmo’s closure creates political problems on a number of fronts for the Democrats as it will likely spark howls of outrage from the antiwar left, who view the camp’s existence as continuing proof of the venality of the Bush presidency. To them, the failure to move ahead with the closure of Gitmo will likely be seen as a political sellout and could have serious repercussions as the year progresses.

    But it also creates a wedge between the Obama Congress and the president himself. Recent surveys have shown that Obama remains more popular than his programs, a popularity that does not translate to Democrats generally, Democrats who are already concerned about the upcoming elections in 2010.

    The American public, while apparently supportive of Gitmo’s closure, according to several private surveys I have seen, wants it closed carefully, not recklessly. The idea that the detainees might be moved to the United States or, worse, released there, does not sit well with them.

    We now have the first division of the new presidency. The bloom is off the rose.

    usnews.com/blogs/peter-roff/2009/05/05/house-democrats-no-on-guantanamo-closure-a-stunning-rebuke-to-obama.html

  33. The Republican Party is going though the inevitable soul searching process which occurs in the aftermath of an election loss. Last time around it was the Democrats who were doing this. They ask themselves questions like who are we, what do we stand for, whom do we represnet and what is our vision for the country. They also ask what will it take to get back on a winning streak.

    When you have heard this kind of confession and avoidance several times you do not get particularly moved or excited about it. But the bigger disappointmet is the people who are posing as the interlocutors and leaders of this come to Jesus process. Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney and Ed Cantor. Maybe it is just me, but none of inspires me and their rhetoric is mind numbing. Just words.

    It is a celebrity game anymore. Grey middle aged men like Jeb, Romney and Cantor have no voltage. Like it or not the Republican Party has only one celebrity and it is Sara Palin. She can light up a room and the three gentlemen I mentioned simply cannot. Whether her politics can unite the party and the country is a separate matter. The election of Mr. Obama means inexperience is not a disqualifying condition, especially when you have a Rock of Gibralter as vice president.

    But these bastards dont get it. They are yesterdays news and are uninteresting to listen to. No fire in their belly. Does anyone believe this country will elect another Bush? Does anyone think that the religioius right will accept a Mormon? I do not know enough about Cantor to express any opinion except that he too is uninspiring.

    In a word, none of them are electable. Yet they conspire against Palin who is the best hope for their party. McCain is no better. This old boy group seems determined to freeze her out, or to marginalize her voice. It is disgusting. If it is not to be her then they need to find someone else with the star power and energy she has. None of the three gentlemen in this group have the voltage to run a successful campaign.

  34. Clinton meets wife of American missing in Iran

    WASHINGTON (AFP) — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday met the wife of Robert Levinson, a former FBI agent who went missing in March 2007 on an Iranian island in the Gulf. Clinton “wanted to have this meeting so that she could express her concerns about the lack of information coming out of Iran with regard to Bob Levinson,” said Robert Wood, a State Department spokesman.

    “This case is obviously a very heart-wrenching humanitarian one,” said Wood. “We continue to call on Iran to provide information about Mr Levinson. It has not been forthcoming, and we’re going to continue to press this issue.”

    Christine Levinson says her husband, who retired from the FBI a decade ago, had traveled to Kish island to investigate cigarette counterfeiting in the region and was last heard of on March 8, 2007.

    The mystery of Levinson’s disappearance is a further strain in relations between the United States and Iran, which remain tense over Iran’s nuclear drive and the fate of US-Iranian journalist Roxana Saberi, 32, jailed on espionage charges.

    Senior US officials who met with Iranian representatives on the sidelines of a conference on rebuilding Afghanistan on March 31 handed them a letter from Clinton concerning the fate of Levinson and Saberi. “In the letter, we ask Iran to use all of its facilities to determine the whereabouts, and ensure the quick and safe return of Robert Levinson” and release Roxana Saberi, while giving her and US-based academic Esha Momeni permission to travel, Clinton said at the time.

    Saberi, 32, was sentenced to eight years in jail after being convicted of spying for Washington. She has been on hunger strike since April 21 in protest at the sentence and was briefly hospitalized on Friday, according to her family. Saberi’s fate remains an issue “of great concern” to Washington, Wood said Tuesday. “We’re worried about her health,” he said.

    Washington and Tehran broke off diplomatic ties in the aftermath of the 1979 Islamic revolution.

    google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5ieAxPdgsWZibMmTLKwnD7fdj9G3w

  35. I read an article claiming there could be tension b/t Holbrooke and Hillary as allegedly Holbrooke has created hos owm “min ” state department. It suggested, ultimately, a power play would be made and a resignation would occur. I always thought Holbrooke and the Clintons’ were friendly?-
    —————————————–
    I agree with Paula on that one. There is no hard evidence of this is there? I would be more interested in knowing who is spreading these rumors: Powers, Rice or MO? Holbrooke and Hillary are friends and she wanted him there. I think that speaks for itself. Most likely someone is trying to drive a wedge and feed a false story to the media, who are always looking for a false story to print about Hillary.

  36. 1. BANK BAILOUTS ARE BARACKS BOTTOMLESS PIT FOR TAXPAYERS

    U.S. Says Bank of America Needs $33.9 Billion
    By THE NEW YORK TIMES 1 minute ago The government has told Bank of America it will need to raise $33.9 billion in capital to withstand any worsening of the economic downturn, according to an executive at the bank.
    Back to Business

    2. BARACKS BUDDIES WANT TO MAKE A SWEET DEAL EVEN SWEETER

    As Investors Circle Ailing Banks, Fed Sets Limits (Like Vultures)
    By ERIC LIPTON 10:28 PM ET
    Seeing opportunity in the nation’s struggling banking system, private equity firms are lobbying to change federal rules that limit their control.

  37. The problem here is different than I first perceived, therefore catchline of number 1 above is not accurate. Apparently the government stress tested Bank of America and deterimined that it (the Bank) would need to raise 34 billon more in order to be deemed financially stable, an amount which the Bank had argued was too high and if they cannot raise that amount privately they will be required to convert taxpayer money into common stock which will increase government ownership of the bank. The stress test highlights the weakness of Bank of America, and foreshadows similar weakness in the 19 major banks that comprise 2/3 of our financial system. This may be enough to kill the rally.

    By LOUISE STORY and EDMUND L. ANDREWS
    Published: May 5, 2009

    The government has told Bank of America it will need to raise $33.9 billion in capital to withstand any worsening of the economic downturn, according to an executive at the bank.

    Executives sparred with the government over the amount, which is higher than executives believed the bank needed. But J. Steele Alphin, the bank’s chief administrative officer, said Bank of America would have plenty of options to raise the capital on its own before it would have to convert any of taxpayer money into common stock, a move that would effectively increase the government’s holdings in the troubled bank.

    “We’re not happy about it because it’s still a big number,” Mr. Alphin said. “We think it should be a bit less at the end of the day.”

    Financial markets in Asia dropped initially on the news as investors questioned whether the results of the government’s stress tests of the nation’s 19 largest banks, whose assets represent about two-thirds of the nation’s financial system, would show more weakness in the financial system than hoped.

    The Treasury Department declined to comment on Tuesday evening

  38. This is the article which towards the end discusses SOS issues:

    Obama the Untested

    The American media has just released an avalanche of reports assessing President Barack Obama’s first 100 days in office. Ignore it all. It doesn’t matter. The revealing part of his presidency hasn’t begun yet. At about this point in his presidency, George W. Bush had, with the help of his secretary of state, Colin Powell, just won the release of the crew of a U.S. spy plane from China, leading the world media elite to declare Bush a pragmatic president in foreign affairs, and Powell his most important advisor. As for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, it was said that he would be gone by summer—a short-serving and utterly forgettable secretary of defense. 9/11, of course, still lay in the future.

    President Obama may not face a single cataclysmic event like 9/11. But he will certainly face an array of unforeseen crises that will test him and reveal his inner self the way that 9/11 revealed Bush’s inner self, and will take his presidency in ironic directions. American presidencies in these tumultuous times, with their rapid-fire sequences of events, are like wars. And wars—even successful ones—never go according to plan. If presidential terms were like visits to the dentist, Obama is still in the waiting room listening to the elevator music, with the drill yet to be turned on.

    Yes, Obama has faced great crises and choices already: the meltdown of the economy, the bailout of the Detroit automobile companies, the release of the Bush-era memorandums on torture. But all of these crisis were entirely predictable. They are leftovers from the last administration. And the decisions Obama has made on them are the product of staff meetings going back to the days before he was even elected. In all of them he has had the advantage of advance planning. The piracy incident off the coast of Somalia and the swine flu epidemic (provided it doesn’t get worse) do not qualify as crises that define a presidency.

    What are the kind of crises that will make the media instantly forget their musings on Obama’s first 100 days?

    Getting bogged-down in Afghanistan. Obama has just committed 17,000 more American troops to the effort, and will likely commit more. The war in Afghanistan is about to be Americanized to a greater degree than it ever has. A summer of higher casualties is upon us, as U.S. marines and soldiers advance down Taliban ratlines in southern Afghanistan. That is predictable. But what if the August elections in Afghanistan go badly—or they go well and, nevertheless, there is no political progress in Kabul? What if the war continues in a bloody manner the following summer? Obama in 2010 could find himself in a similar situation as Bush in Iraq in 2006.

    Pakistan slowly, chillingly unravels. Obama is now knee-deep in Pakistan’s murky and intractable politics. He is dealing with its greatly unpopular president, Asif Ali Zardari, even as he reaches out to its very popular opposition leader, Nawas Sharif. The Administration is selling arms to the Pakistan military as a bribe to get it to take action against the Taliban. This all makes good policy sense, but Pakistan as a piece of political geography makes no sense. What if Zardari is reduced to a figurehead and the Pakistan military stages a quiet, soft coup: taking power in all but name, even as it becomes further comprised of pro-Taliban officers? Such a scenario will reveal who Obama really is.

    Russia officially becomes a dictatorship. As the economy falters and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin looks vulnerable, he could force President Dimitri Medvedev to resign, change the constitution, and get himself reelected as president. In other words, Russia could become a dictatorship in all but name. And by the way, because of an understanding between Russia and Iran that they will respect the status quo in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Putin will likely reject Obama’s offer of scrapping missile sites in Poland in return for Moscow’s help in taming Iran’s nuclear ambitions. What is Obama’s next move, then? Obama has spent 100 days being nice to the outside world, but what happens when the outside world – Europe, Russia, Iran – does not return the favor?

    And I haven’t even mentioned the possibility of an unraveling in Iraq, an Israeli military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, or another stock market collapse as the economy refuses to recover quickly. Indeed, there are a slew of nasty probabilities lying in wait to define Obama. There could be more incidents between the U.S. and Chinese navies in the Western Pacific; a country in Africa could implode, requiring a massive relief effort, fraught with the specter of nation-building; the collapse of the North Korean regime could precipitate the mother of all humanitarian interventions, as well as the need for cooperation between the American and Chinese armies.

    At present, Obama’s foreign policy team is talented but unwieldy. The National Security apparatus under former Marine General James Jones appears to be handling Israeli-Palestinian matters with the help of special envoy George Mitchell. The State Department, with the help of special envoy Richard Holbrooke, has apparently taken control of Afghanistan-Pakistan matters. This is a very unstable arrangement: Holbrooke is building his own mini-empire in the shadow of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Someone will be forced to resign, and that will affect foreign policy dramatically. This Administration is still just settling in.

    Keep in mind that Obama has never really been tested. Life has been easy to him. He has achieved so much at such a tender age. He commands the American Congress and the global media. But such situations are ephemeral. The crises ahead will test him to a degree that perhaps even he himself, so thoughtful and deliberative, cannot yet imagine. And in the process we will all come to know him better.

  39. jbstonesfan, this analysis reminds me of Michael Boulton. He is right that Mr Obama has not been tested. He is right that the first hundred days stories are inconclusive and will be superceded by future events. And he is right that the problems he will face are not entirely foreseeable and will call for a degree of spontaneity that is not in his nature.

    But I disagree with his suggestion that Mr. Obama has faced the economic crisis well. On the contrary I tend to agree with Morris, Hedges and others that he has put us on a course which will lead to deflation, hyperinflation etc. And those chickens will come home to roost. And the chances for a v shaped recovery he is predicting seem very remote indeed.

    And I particularly disagree with his suggestion that the organization Holbrooke is building is a threat to Hillary. She wanted Holbrooke as an Assistant Secretray of State and she knew he was an empire builder from the days of the Clinton Administration. If Holbrooke is a threat to anyone it is to Mitchell.

  40. One caveat: I wonder how well the writer of that piece understands the long term relationship between Clinton and Holbrooke. I cannot imgaine that Dick would turn out to be a Bill Richardson. I think Holbrooke is a workhorse not a show horse. And I do not think that he craves the limelight the way Richardson most certainly did. That is my impression at least.

  41. According to Tuesday’s Washington Times, House Democrats “rejected Mr. Obama’s request for $81 million to close the detention center” as part of a war-funding bill, “saying the White House lacks a plan to safely relocate the roughly 240 terrorist suspects held on the island.”

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

    $81 million, 240 prisoners?

    $337,500 per prisoner?

  42. Caroline is a favorite of Teddy’s, and it was his desire to see her assume the family’s political mantle. Klein quotes an anonymous adviser as saying, “He felt it was very important to have a Kennedy in the Senate after he was gone, and when Hillary [Clinton] announced she was leaving the Senate to become secretary of state, Ted thought that Caroline should take her seat. He put it to Caroline almost like a last wish, and Caroline felt that she couldn’t let her uncle Teddy down.”

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

    Hey, that was my theory. Then when he collapsed and wouldn’t be well enough to serve in the Senate with her — or alive to watch her for very long — the family changed their mind.

  43. Good Morning All

    Of course I was not in the room, but I find it hard to believe, after seeing the introvert Caroline K in action (In fact determining the outcome of the elections and primaries), that she really backed down because of her children. My limited experience has lead me to believe that introverts keep quiet and watch extrovers make fools of themselves and can rule with an ironed hand.

    I think She pulled out because she did not want to lose, just like people don’t want to be fired. Strong introverts don’t want to lose.

  44. Numbers are kind of exploding. This is the tip of the ice berg. We know that the NM number is low, and that there has been another death. However, the schools here are curtailing there closing, and looking at whether they really are going to stop atheletic events. I think all of us are wondering about the reactions at this point. We have seen worse normal flu seasons. To me the flu has always been an explosive situation. You have to guess the right strain for the next season.

    U.S. Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection
    (As of May 5, 2009, 11:00 AM ET) States # of
    laboratory
    confirmed
    cases Deaths
    Alabama 4
    Arizona 17
    California 49
    Colorado 6
    Connecticut 2
    Delaware 20
    Florida 5
    Georgia 1
    Idaho 1
    Illinois 82
    Indiana 3
    Iowa 1
    Kansas 2
    Kentucky* 1
    Louisiana 7
    Maine 1
    Maryland 4
    Massachusetts 6
    Michigan 2
    Minnesota 1
    Missouri 1
    Nebraska 1
    Nevada 1
    New Hampshire 1
    New Jersey 6
    New Mexico 1
    New York 90
    North Carolina 1
    Ohio 3
    Oregon 15
    Pennsylvania 1
    Rhode Island 1
    South Carolina 16
    Tennessee 2
    Texas 41 1
    Utah 1
    Virginia 3
    Wisconsin 3
    TOTAL (38) 403 cases 1 death
    International Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
    See: World Health Organization

    *Case is resident of KY but currently hospitalized in GA.

  45. Still Have To Pay The Bill
    By Larry DoylecloseAuthor: Larry Doyle Name: L D
    Email: susanunpc@gmail.com
    Site:
    About: 23yr Wall St. career. Currently a private investor and work for a few not for profits. Happily married with 4 children.See Authors Posts (199) on May 6, 2009 at 7:15 AM in Bailouts, Bank Stress Test, Economy, Sense on Cents (Larry Doyle blog)

    Equity markets have rallied back to unchanged on the year. Libor is back to 1%. Housing is showing signs of life. Other economic indicators are declining at a less rapid rate. Fed chair Bernanke provides a cautiously optimistic tone in his testimony today. So why am I as concerned as ever?

    Perhaps I do not fully appreciate the benefits of the massive government injections of capital into our economy. Why? I view any short term benefit from the capital injections as merely covering for losses which are still embedded in the system. The bills associated with those losses, in terms of increased interest costs and principal writedowns, are yet to be paid.

    Where are the losses? Well, the results of the Bank Stress Tests have been leaked and 10 of 19 banks will supposedly need more capital. The commercial real estate market is totally dependent on the government committing to 5 yr loans via the TALF. I view the rebound in the residential real estate market as mortgage mayhem, not mortgage magic. None other than the IMF continues to highlight that our economy has another $1 trillion plus in losses.

    I will grant Obama and Bush and their respective administrations credit for succeeding to this point in what they were trying to accomplish. However, that success, in my opinion, only means that longer term costs will be steeper and longer term benefits will be further off as a result.

    Nouriel Roubini and Matthew Richardson address these points in yesterday’s WSJ, “We Can’t Subsidize The Banks Forever.”

    From my perch, I view Obama and team as indiscriminately allocating capital across too many programs. I am becoming somewhat concerned that Bernanke is wondering if they have put too many chips on the table.

    Roubini and Richardson offer:

    . . . stress tests aside, it is highly likely that some of these large banks will be insolvent, given the various estimates of aggregate losses. The government has got to come up with a plan to deal with these institutions that does not involve a bottomless pit of taxpayer money. This means it will have the unenviable tasks of managing the systemic risk resulting from the failure of these institutions and then managing it in receivership. But it will also mean transferring risk from taxpayers to creditors. This is fair: Metaphorically speaking, these are the guys who served alcohol to the banks just before they took off down the highway.

    While the tone feels better, there is no doubt we still have challenges. Private enterprise’s interaction with Uncle Sam is one of the biggest challenges.

    All this said, the government had a choice between immediate losses with excruciating pain or buying time with long term underperformance. They chose the latter.

    We still have to pay the bill.

    LD

    Trackback URL

    8 Comments » Comment by Glennmcgahee | 2009-05-06 07:54:01

    No we don’t. Our children will pay the bill and our children’s children.

    Reply to this comment

    Comment by John Smith | 2009-05-06 07:54:44

    I think it is very possible that we will see a year or two of stable markets and a rebound of consumer confidence but where will the economical activity that will lead us to recovery come from. There is just nothing out there. The green jobs everybody is talking about is such a niche market that it will never lead to full employment. Of course some one could invent something that will get the economy going again.

    But I am certain that borrowing money from everybody around the globe just so we can buy their stuff will eventually come to an end and that will be a bitter pill to swallow.

    Reply to this comment
    Comment by SiliconDoc | 2009-05-06 09:01:17

    Larry, I’m sorry but you clearly have no idea of the ramifications of your so called “we should take this with an immediate loss idea! I’m no fan of Obama or the way things that have gone down with some of these bailouts…. but that idea just flat out sucks! I guess you didn’t realize that the whole World was destined for immediate financial collapse on a day back in September? What were people supposed to do… just let it and then just wallow in misery for the next decade? I just don’t think people who spout this sort of crap have any idea of what that “other shoe” would have been like… I’m no fan of all the borrowing but in the situation we got ourselves in we really have very limited options now! Things have to be corrected in stages to keep the economy a float… if you think 9% unemployment is bad just think of that number had we done things your way… LOL Double or triple it!
    I’m a finance man myself / own and run a multi million dollar international investment business so I understand some things too!

    Reply to this comment
    Comment by Larry Doyle | 2009-05-06 09:13:01

    Scott,

    I would have proposed managed liquidations of a number of banks in which the FDIC would have created good banks and bad banks, a la the RTC of the early 90s.

    The costs should have been largely borne by those who took the risks. The moral hazards that have been violated will have enormous costs for a long time.

    I respect your opinion, but beg to differ.

    Reply to this comment
    Comment by SiliconDoc | 2009-05-06 09:16:29

  46. ANALYSIS-Russia-U.S. ties have tentative start

    Wed May 6, 2009
    By Sue Pleming

    WASHINGTON, May 6 (Reuters) – The “reset” button was pushed two months ago on U.S.-Russia ties but results so far have been mixed, with arms control the most promising area but gnarly issues such as Georgia tensions still lingering.

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is set to see Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Washington on Thursday, their second major meeting since ice-breaking talks in Geneva in March when they symbolically pressed a reset button to turn a page on caustic relations under the former Bush administration.

    Since the Geneva meeting, a senior U.S. official said signals coming from Moscow were uneven and it was unclear how far Russia wanted to go in improving ties. “The challenge now is whether we can put meat on the bones and fulfill the promise of the positive part of the relationship, leading with arms control,” the official said. “Can the problems and areas of disagreement be managed or do they overwhelm it (the relationship)?” he told Reuters.

    Renewed tensions this week in Georgia, with Tbilisi accusing Russia of being behind a failed mutiny at a military base, could overshadow the diplomats’ talks at the State Department. Russia fought a war with neighboring Georgia last year which exacerbated tensions with Washington and its allies and sunk relations to a post Cold War low.

    “We don’t want to have a confrontation over it,” said the senior U.S. official. “But beyond the question of Georgia, there is a larger issue of Russia’s claim to a sphere of influence.”

    Russia expert Dmitri Trenin, director of the Moscow center for the Carnegie Endowment for International peace, predicted bullets could “start flying” again in Georgia soon. “Unfortunately, the prevailing view is that we (the United States) somehow left Georgia behind and that Georgia is not a burning issue, not an issue at the top of the agenda. But Georgia may climb its way back,” Trenin said.

    Another issue is increased bickering between Moscow and NATO following the expulsion last week of two Brussels-based Russian diplomats from the military alliance. Lavrov responded by dropping plans to attend a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council this month, a move that will have disappointed Clinton who pushed for such talks to resume after they were suspended following the Georgia war.
    The senior U.S. official said Lavrov’s response was seen as “odd” and Washington was puzzled. “The question is are the Russians capable of accepting outreach,” the official said.

    Russia expert Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the new U.S. approach needed to see some concrete results. “I think it is important for (President Barack) Obama to begin to be able to show the pay-offs of his public diplomacy and for reaching out to the Russians,” said Kupchan. “There is a bit of a tango at work here. Washington is putting on offer a new relationship and now it behooves the Russians to reciprocate.”

    Experts say the best chance for early success is in negotiations to replace a Cold War arms reduction treaty, called START 1, that expires in December and which both sides say they are determined to get by the deadline. The chief U.S. negotiator, Rose Gottemoeller, has indicated some flexibility, telling Russia’s news agency Interfax this week that Washington was ready to count both nuclear warheads and their delivery vehicles — a sticking point previously.

    The first round of serious negotiations is set to start in Moscow on May 18, with the goal of having the outlines of a deal when Obama meets Russia’s leader in July.
    “Certainly, the Obama administration brings a fundamentally different view on arms control. It is prepared to negotiate further nuclear reductions in a framework that is familiar to the Russians,” said Steve Pifer, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine now with the Brookings Institution. “Strategically when there is a good nuclear dialogue it has tended to have a positive impact on the broader relationship,” he added. But Kupchan pointed to domestic obstacles from the Russian side, with the financial crisis making it more difficult to move towards a rapprochement with Washington. “During tough economic times, leaders tend to play the Populist card. In the case of Russia, the Populist card generally means drumming up some anti-American sentiment,” said Kupchan. (Reporting by Sue Pleming; editing by Vicki Allen)

    reuters.com/article/vcCandidateFeed1/idUSN06523502

  47. Obama picks congresswoman as arms control official

    WASHINGTON (AFP) — US President Barack Obama on Tuesday formally nominated Ellen Tauscher, a seven-term member of Congress who is considered an expert on defense, as his top arms control official.

    Tauscher, who represents a California district, has a record of introducing arms control and counter proliferation legislation and has campaigned for greater oversight of the US Missile Defense Agency. She said in a statement in March, after details of her impending appointment emerged, that she decided to take the job of under secretary of state for arms control and international security after a period of “soul searching.” “Keeping nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists, making sure other countries do not obtain them and, one day, I hope, ridding the world of these terrible weapons, has become my passion and, I hope, my life?s work,” she said.

    Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the US House of Representatives, said Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would benefit greatly from Tauscher’s “talent, experience, and immense knowledge” and called for speedy Senate confirmation of her appointment.

    Also on Tuesday, Obama formally nominated Andrew Shapiro, a long-time key Clinton foreign policy advisor, as assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs.

    google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gTiMh5Zf3RSdo5bOlzaKIdtwXIKA

  48. Wednesday, May 6, 2009

    Leader says Hamas ready to end Palestinian-Israeli conflict

    Meshaal said yesterday the movement was ready to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict on the basis of the two-state solution. “I promise the American administration and the international community that we will be a part of the solution, period,” he said during a five-hour interview with the New York Times, his first with US media in a year. The Damascus-based leader, recently re-elected to a four-year term, said Hamas is prepared to accept a Palestinian state in the territory occupied by Israel in 1967. This would include East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza, 22 per cent of geographic Palestine.

    He called for the dismantling of Israeli settlements and the return of Palestinian refugees and said Hamas was ready for a 10-year ceasefire with Israel. Hamas has halted rocket fire from Gaza into Israel. Only six rockets have been fired since the Gaza war ceasefire was declared on January 18th.

    However, Mr Meshaal ruled out formal, de jure recognition of Israel, a demand put forward by the international community. He argued that Fatah had committed a major mistake when it recognised Israel in 1993. “Did that recognition lead to an end of the occupation?” he asked. Hamas officials and Palestinian analysts argue that Hamas’ acceptance of a state based on the 1967 borders constitutes de facto recognition of Israel.

    Addressing Arab leaders, he said: “There is only one enemy in the region, and that is Israel.” These words warned Arab rulers not to supplant Israel with Iran, a country Israel regards as its chief enemy. He urged the international community to regard as out of date the Hamas charter which calls for the replacement of Israel with a Palestinian Islamic state. He also called for the world to listen to what Hamas has to say rather than what others say about the movement. “To understand Hamas is to listen to its vision directly,” he said.

    Since the US has opened dialogues with Iran and Syria, he implied that the Obama administration should speak to Hamas. He said that President Barack Obama’s language was “positive” but was critical of the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton.

    Mr Mishaal said nothing new. In 2000, Shaikh Ahmad Yassin, the founding father and spiritual leader of Hamas, said: “If Israel withdraws completely from the West Bank and Gaza and it removes all of its settlements, I will make a truce with it.”

    A few months before his assassination by Israel in 2004, he announced that Hamas would cease fighting after a Palestinian state was created within the 1967 borders and offered a 30-year truce. He rejected de jure recognition of Israel. His line has been repeated by senior Hamas officials since then.

    irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2009/0506/1224245993423.html

    ———————————————-

    And obama thinks he can broker peace with this idiot???

  49. Jan–say what you will about Hamas. They may be evil but they do know a rube when they see one. They want to draw Mr. Obama into the process, and keep Hillary out. They see Obama as a kindred spirit, and would love to get the name of his tailor so they can look respectable too–while they are killing people. They see Hillary as someone who wants a just and lasting peace for our ally Israel and the neighbors who want peace and progress throughout the region. By now every adversary in the world has a fair sense of who Mr. Obama is. They know he is joined at the hip with Saudi Arabia and will adhere to their agenda more so than not. They know he has the attention span of a flea, is prone to gaff and never met a camera he did not like.

  50. Ellen Tauscher, a seven-term member of Congress who is considered an expert on defense, as his top arms control official.
    ————————————————
    Jan–wasnt she a Hillary supporter. I love the way they present this as if it were something that Mr. Obama decided on. Remember he is the same guy who loses papers on his desk and cannot manage details. Yet he carries around in his head a list of tens of thousands of potential candidates for positions, and deliberates on them subconsciously while he is sleeping. He is lucky to have tele to provide some order in his disorderly mind.

  51. “By now every adversary in the world has a fair sense of who Mr. Obama is. They know he is joined at the hip with Saudi Arabia and will adhere to their agenda more so than not.”

    ————————–

    And that is what scares me the most!

    ———————————–

    Yes I believe Tauscher was a staunch Hillary supporter.

  52. wbboei Says:

    May 6th, 2009 at 11:41 am
    Ellen Tauscher, a seven-term member of Congress who is considered an expert on defense, as his top arms control official.
    ————————————————
    Jan–wasnt she a Hillary supporter. I love the way they present this as if it were something that Mr. Obama decided on. Remember he is the same guy who loses papers on his desk and cannot manage details. Yet he carries around in his head a list of tens of thousands of potential candidates for positions, and deliberates on them subconsciously while he is sleeping. He is lucky to have tele to provide some order in his disorderly mind.
    &&&&&&&

    I see wbboei still does not appreciate the Genius that is Obama. A man with an exceptionally nimble mind, able to see many shades of gray, all to see all points of view all at once, and suck up to them.

    Don’t forget, he was the president of the Harvard Law Review, so brilliant that he did not deign to even write an article for that journal, nor mix with the low lifes that were beneath him.

    Don’t forget, he is probably the “smartest man ever to become president”, perhaps bordering on Eistein’s level of genius.

    We are truly lucky to have this talented individual guiding our country.

  53. Yes I believe Tauscher was a staunch Hillary supporter
    *********
    IIRC, she and Jane Harman are two of the strongest Dem supporters of Israel in the HR.

  54. The following excerpt from an article by Major Garrett which appeared at the FOX news website this morning gives some insight into Hillary’s influence within the Administration. Several weeks ago, she made a statement critical of Pakistans military response to the Taliban advances in the Swan Valley and toward their capital. For various reasons, that statement is now being recalibrated. Unindentified senior administration officials are doing the talking, but they make it clear that whatever the relative merits of Hillarys prior comment, it was AUTHORIZED by Obama. It should be added that after Hillary’s statement Pakistan withdrew some troops from the Indian border to deal with the situation, so it as effective. But the point is, Mr. Obama was unable to leave Hillary high and dry on the comment, now that it is receiving pushback. The explicit acknowledgement that he authorized it, and is now saying what it did not mean illustrates the problem he has when and if he tries to throw her under the bus as he would like to do. The problem for him is too many people know the truth.

    Senior administration officials emphasized ahead of the meetings that Obama supports Zardari and in no way sought to undercut his authority by authorizing the Clinton comments that Zardari’s government had failed to take a firmer stand against advancing Taliban fighters in Pakistan’s northwest frontier zone

  55. wbboei Says:

    May 6th, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    —————————-

    That scenario was the one I was praying for. Hillary is strong. obama had better watch himself.

  56. Video link of Hillary talking about Afghan civilian deaths

    news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/8036547.stm

  57. I went to law school and it doesn’t take a genius to make or be head of law review. Lets be honest, he is not stupid, but far from the depth of intellect of Hillary and Bill. He has used his bi-racial make up to both advance and defend himself from criticism. He allows others, whom are far more knowledgeable than he, to make decisions and either takes credit or has them as straw men to blame. In that sense, you gotta hand it to him…he is cunningly deceptive and evil.

  58. the reason Pelosi wants Tauscher to be confirmed quickly is ‘cos she can then find a stooge (maybe even her daughter) to run for Ellen’s office in Northern California….

  59. I wonder why Gillbrand is “supposedly” in trouble? Too conservative a dem for Obama?

  60. 10 attorneys general defend Israel

    May 6, 2009

    JERUSALEM (JTA) — Attorney generals from 10 states defended Israel’s military action in the Gaza Strip, in a letter sent to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
    The letter, sent last month, also condemned Hamas for what it called “war crimes” for its bomb attacks on civilian targets in southern Israel.

    The attorney generals wrote that “By intentionally targeting 6,300 rockets against Israel’s civilian population, Hamas is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of a war crime in that it has violated … the Geneva Convention of 1949.” The letter notes that the Geneva Convention provides that parties in a conflict must distinguish between civilians and combatants, and civilian and military objectives, and “direct their operations only against military objectives.” “In addition to its war crimes committed against the Israeli civilian population, Hamas has also committed atrocities against the Palestinian civilian population under its control in Gaza by using these civilians as shields for its criminal conduct,” the letter continued.

    The officials concluded that “Hamas’ continuous rocket and mortar attacks on Israel’s civilian population are a casus bellum. As in all wars, the appropriate response is not a ‘proportionate one,’ but one measured to bring about an end to the acts of war.”

    The America-Israel Friendship League said in a statement that it welcomed the letter by the attorney generals, calling it “a strong rejoinder to those who have castigated Israel over its role in Gaza and used it in an attempt to delegitimize the Jewish State.”

    Several of the attorney generals have visited Israel through an educational exchange program conducted by the league, which offers American officials the chance to become familiar with Israel’s legal framework, security issues and commitment to the rule of law. The 10 attorney generals represent the states of Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Rhode Island, Utah and Washington.

    jta.org/news/article/2009/05/06/1004954/10-attorneys-general-defend-israel

  61. UN Gaza report ‘outrageous, one-sided’: Peres

    UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — Israeli President Shimon Peres Wednesday blasted as “outrageous” and “one-sided” a UN inquiry that blamed Israel for six serious attacks on UN buildings during its Gaza offensive. “It’s outrageous, we shall never accept it (the report),” he told reporters after conferring with UN chief Ban Ki-moon. “We don’t think we have to apologize because we have the right to defend the lives of our children and women.”

    Peres said the UN board of enquiry overstepped its authority, noting that it was supposed to probe damage to UN installations but “instead decided to investigate the whole situation in Gaza.” “We don’t accept one word,” he added, slamming the conclusions as “unfair,” “one-sided.” But he appeared to exonerate Ban, saying he had the “highest regard” for him. “The secretary general is not responsible for the report,” Peres said. “He tried to distinguish between what is necessary in order to be objective and fair and listen to us.”

    The Israeli president insisted that his country has cooperated fully with the UN enquiry team and conceded that “we made some mistakes.”

    The UN report was drawn up by an independent panel set up to investigate nine cases in which UN buildings in Gaza were damaged by bombardments or arms fire during the three-week Israeli offensive. The findings laid out the latest criticism of Israel over the war it launched against the Hamas-run enclave on December 27 in response to ongoing rocket fire from Gaza militants. More than 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis died. “In six of the nine incidents, the board concluded that the death, injuries and damage involved were caused by military actions, using munitions launched or dropped from the air or fired from the ground, by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF),” the report said. A seventh less serious incident was also blamed on Israeli light arms fire during the offensive, while the eighth was attributed to a Palestinian faction, probably Hamas.

    The probe by the UN panel, however, could not determine who was to blame for the ninth incident.

    The report accused Israel of failing to protect UN buildings and the civilians inside them, and recommended that the United Nations seek damages.

    Peres, meanwhile, was also asked whether the Jewish state under the new government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was still committed to a “two-state solution” under which a viable Palestinian state would be created alongside a secure Israel. Peres made clear that the current Israeli government announced it would respect the decisions made by the previous government. “The previous government of Israel took the decision to accept the roadmap that was introduced by the (Middle East diplomatic) Quartet,” he added. “In the roadmap, there is a clear reference to the two-state solution and that is my answer.”

    The roadmap, drawn up by the United States, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations, foresees the peaceful co-existence of Israel and Palestine, and calls for a halt to Jewish settlement activity in Palestinian territories and an end to Palestinian attacks against Israel. The plan has made little progress since it was drafted in 2003.

    google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gKbTLwh2ou1sdto12CetLAmjZnGQ

  62. No surprise JanH….in this perverted world, right is wrong, and wrong is right. The UN and it’s anti-semetic stooges have and always will seek the destruction of Israel . They have ignored Muslims killing Muslims by the 1k’s on a daily bais, but god forbade , a Jew defends himself, and innocents get hurt b/c the cowards from Hamas hide in schools, Mosques, Hopsital, etc, it’s a war crime on the front pages of every European/Arab and now American paper. We all know it is a farce, but a very dangerous one.

  63. jbstonesfan,

    I agree. I have lost all respect for what the United Nations is supposed to stand for. I have no positive expectations where obama is concerned. I worry for Israel’s future given the circumstances and I just hope that Hillary will continue to be a strong and effective ally to the Jewish people.

  64. ONE GOOD TURNCOAT DESERVES ANOTHER

    A man is as good as his word, or like, whatever, dude.

    Will Arlen become the Junior Senator from Pennsylvania, and have to fetch water for the “important Dems”?

    From CQpolitics:

    cqpolitics.com/wmspage.cfm?docID=news-000003111536

    Specter Seniority Now Up to Fellow Democrats, Reid Says
    ========================================

    By Bart Jansen and Kathleen Hunter, CQ Staff

    A week after Arlen Specter switched parties with the expectation that he would maintain his Senate seniority, Democratic leader Harry Reid said Wednesday that it would be up to Democrats to decide whether the former Republican could reclaim his standing in the next Congress.

    Reid was making it clear to disgruntled members of his caucus that an agreement he forged with Specter would be subject to a vote by Senate Democrats.

    “Always Sen. Specter and his chief of staff — we thought — understood that his subcommittees wouldn’t be changed, the chairmen wouldn’t be changed, his overall standing in the Senate would be protected. But the only people who are capable of determining status in a caucus is the caucus,” Reid, the Senate’s majority leader, said Wednesday.

    This leaves Specter’s standing less certain than Reid described on April 28 when Specter’s switch was announced. Asked then whether the Pennsylvania senator would maintain his seniority, Reid, D-Nev., responded: “That’s right.”

    On Wednesday, Reid said that decision would be “up to the caucus.”

    For his part, Specter reiterated that Reid had assured him he would keep his seniority and committee assignments and that any decisions on chairmanships of committees and subcommittees would wait until the 112th Congress.

    “I am confident my seniority will be maintained under the arrangement I worked out with Sen. Reid,” Specter said in a statement Wednesday. “Some members of the caucus have raised concerns about my seniority, so the caucus will vote on my seniority at the same time subcommittee chairmanships are confirmed in the 2010 election.”

    Late Tuesday, the Senate adopted new organizing resolutions (S Res 130 and S Res 131) that made Specter the least-senior Democrat on the five committees on which he now serves.

    Asked whether Specter’s loss of seniority on the five committees was the result of resistance from Senate Democrats, Reid said: “There was nothing to resist. That’s how we organize every Congress.”

    Four of Five Gavels
    With 29 years in the Senate, Specter has a claim on gavels on four of his five committees including that for the Appropriations subcommittee on Labor, HHS and Education, a prospect that disturbed senior Democrats.

    Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy , D-Vt., earlier had suggested creating a new subcommittee for Specter to head. But Leahy said the resolution, which he said he learned about only Wednesday morning, put Specter behind other Democrats who might want a gavel.

    “The resolution puts him at the end of the line, and there are people ahead of him,” Leahy said. “I just heard about the resolution. I don’t know what will happen.”

    Appropriations member Frank R. Lautenberg , D-N.J., noted that he was not allowed to keep his seniority serving from 1982 to 2001 when he returned after a hiatus in 2003. Lautenberg refused to say whether he would object to Specter retaining his seniority in the next Congress.

    “I wasn’t given seniority when I came back, but I’m happy to be here,” Lautenberg said. “So we’ll have to examine it from the standpoint of my own experience.”

    Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a recent appointee to the Senate, said she was not concerned about the prospect of Specter cutting in line.

    “I am thrilled to have the senator from Pennsylvania join the Democrats, and I’d be quite satisfied with him retaining seniority,” Gillibrand said. “I’m grateful for his seniority and grateful for his experience. The kind of experience he’s given to this body and to our country is extraordinary.”

    Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who became the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee in the wake of Specter’s switch, said the lack of seniority “was a big surprise to me.”

    Specter changed parties in order to avoid a Republican primary that his pollster informed him he would lose against conservative former Rep. Patrick J. Toomey (1999-2005).

    But John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said question over seniority for the five-term lawmaker could become a talking point in Specter’s re-election campaign next year.

    Appropriations member Frank R. Lautenberg , D-N.J., noted that he was not allowed to keep his seniority serving from 1982 to 2001 when he returned after a hiatus in 2003. Lautenberg refused to say whether he would object to Specter retaining his seniority in the next Congress.

    “I wasn’t given seniority when I came back, but I’m happy to be here,” Lautenberg said. “So we’ll have to examine it from the standpoint of my own experience.”

    Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, a recent appointee to the Senate, said she was not concerned about the prospect of Specter cutting in line.

    “I am thrilled to have the senator from Pennsylvania join the Democrats, and I’d be quite satisfied with him retaining seniority,” Gillibrand said. “I’m grateful for his seniority and grateful for his experience. The kind of experience he’s given to this body and to our country is extraordinary.”

    Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who became the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee in the wake of Specter’s switch, said the lack of seniority “was a big surprise to me.”

    Specter changed parties in order to avoid a Republican primary that his pollster informed him he would lose against conservative former Rep. Patrick J. Toomey (1999-2005).

    But John Cornyn of Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, said question over seniority for the five-term lawmaker could become a talking point in Specter’s re-election campaign next year.

    Emily Ethridge, Seth Stern and Richard Rubin contributed to this story.

  65. From my previous post:

    Jeff Sessions of Alabama, who became the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee in the wake of Specter’s switch, said the lack of seniority “was a big surprise to me.”

    Translation:

    “It was a big (FAT, HAPPY) surpise to me. Oh well, that’s what you get, Judas. Oh, and by the way, you may not even win as a Democrat”.

  66. Will Arlen become the Junior Senator from Pennsylvania, and have to fetch water for the “important Dems”?
    ********
    There are a lot of senior Dems who ae unhappy with Reid about seniority. If Specter wins in ’10 he will jump over Dems who have put in their time inorder to become committee chairs. I wonder how much Obama twisted arms to give Specter seniority?

  67. ACORN, THE LITTLE NUT THAT COULD:

    Say it ain’t say, Joe.

    nytimes.com/2009/05/05/us/05acorn.html

    Acorn Charged in Voter Registration Fraud Case in Nevada
    =========================================

    By STEVE FRIESS
    Published: May 5, 2009
    LAS VEGAS — A prominent antipoverty organization that drew criticism from Republicans during last year’s presidential race was charged by Nevada officials Monday with engaging in voter registration fraud.

    Two former leaders of the group’s Nevada branch were also charged in connection with the submission of thousands of bogus voter registration forms.

    The organization, the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, or Acorn, is accused of paying canvassers only if they registered at least 20 voters per shift and providing bonuses of $5 for registering more than 21.

    Under Nevada law, it is illegal to attach incentives to such work, in part because it encourages canvassers to submit fraudulent forms, Secretary of State Ross Miller said.

    Acorn submitted 91,002 completed forms in Clark County, which includes Las Vegas, of which 23,186 turned out to be valid new voters who voted in November, according to data provided by Mr. Miller’s office.

    Mr. Miller investigated Acorn at the behest of the Clark County registrar of voters, Larry Lomax, who noted a high number of forms turned in featuring the names of famous football players and cartoon characters.

    “This is not a case of voter fraud, it’s a case of voter registration fraud,” Mr. Miller said. “I’m very confident that none of these fraudulent voter forms found their way into the voter registration rolls or to cast votes.”

    The indictment includes 13 counts each against Acorn and its former Las Vegas field director, Christopher Edwards, who is accused of creating an incentive program called “blackjack” because $5 was paid for signing more than 21 prospective voters.

    Also indicted was Acorn’s former deputy regional director, Amy Busefink, on 13 counts of principle to the crime of compensation for registration of voters. Each charge carries a potential one- to four-year prison term and a $5,000 fine.

    Acorn’s national spokesman, Scott Levenson, called the indictments “political grandstanding” by Mr. Miller and Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto, both Democrats.

    Mr. Levenson said Acorn had fired both employees and has cooperated with investigators.

    “This is in complete violation of Acorn national policy, and to indict us is a clear case of blaming the victim,” Mr. Levenson said. “We had an errant employee who violated our policy and he was ordered to stop.”

    Neither the former employees nor Las Vegas Acorn officials could be reached for comment.

    In the final month of the campaign, supporters of Senator John McCain, the Republican presidential candidate, charged that Acorn was trying to fraudulently enroll Democratic voters likely to support Mr. McCain’s opponent, Senator Barack Obama.

    Yet on Monday, Nevada Republicans said they doubted Acorn’s activity had any impact on the outcome of the 2008 election in Nevada. Mr. Obama won the state by 12 percentage points.

    “It wasn’t that close,” the state Republican chairwoman, Sue Lowden, said.

    But Ms. Lowden added, “This is just the sort of thing that we need to be cracking down on now for a clean 2010 election.”

  68. Earlier someone referenced Gillibrand and her chances for election.
    I want to raise an issue that I hope admin will address……the issue of illegal imigration.

    My understanding is that Gillibrand was more of a “Steve Levy” kind of democrat, but she has been pushed, bullied by Schumer and the powers that be to be on board with their “comprehensice immigration reform…i.e. a path to citizenship for 12 million illegals who can then off course bring their family members along.

    I live in an area where we have been overrun by illegals. Let me tell you what this means. Our school taxes have doubled in 8 years. It costs $20,000 to educat an elementary school child. We now have to have an ESL teacher in every grade. Our hospital is close to going under from all the free medical care dispensed. My nice neighborhood of single family residential zoning is filled with illegal overstuffed rooming houses, thereby depreciating our home values. Large numbers of these people drive drunk, drive without licenses or insurance. The town
    has had to hire additional code enforcement officers, but is unable to stop the problems. Many buy puppy mill puppies ten don’t spay or neuter them and let them run in the street.

    In general, we don’t have any laws they don’t break. We now have crowds of illegals hanging out at the train station and in the streets looking for work.

    I will not vote for any candidate who supports the democratic plan. Let me say that I am certainly not radical or a hate monger. Many of my democratic friends feel as I do. Any solution must require some of these people to return to their home countries. People who have stolen their way into our country will now become the controlling voting block. How stupid are we to have allowed this to happen?

    I think a common sense solution would be to allow only those who have valid employment, legal housing, proof of health insurance and no arrest record to apply for permanent residence status if and only if they pay all back taxes. Why should legal citizens pay more taxes than they do?

    My neighbor, who I am sure is here illegally, bought a house with no money down. His plan was and is to rent out as much of it as possible to pay his mortgage. Although he has been caught 3 times breaking the law, he has only been fined $500. His wife drives a big shiny new SUV. If they show up at the hospital they will be treated no questions asked.

    If a local guy shows up at the hospital without insurance, he is often told that he earns too much to qualify for medicaid and will end up with a huge bill.

    I could go on and on, but I am very depressed that even Fox is saying that the dems will get their amnesty passed. People are afraid to speak up…afraid they will be called racist etc.
    I hope this issue will not be dropped.

  69. Hmmm..not sure what to make of this:

    “UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – India, Pakistan, North Korea and Israel should join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, the global pact meant to limit the spread of atomic weapons, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

    “Universal adherence to the NPT itself, including by India, Israel, Pakistan and North Korea … remains a fundamental objective of the United States,” Gottemoeller told the meeting, which hopes to agree on an agenda and plan to overhaul the treaty at a review conference next year.

    Speaking to reporters later, she declined to say whether Washington would take any new steps to press Israel to join the treaty and give up any nuclear weapons it has. Israel neither confirms nor denies whether it has what arms control experts assume to be a sizable atomic arsenal.
    /uk.reuters.com/article/worldNews/idUKTRE5445VQ20090505

    The administration of President Barack Obama was encouraging all holdouts to join the treaty, she said.

  70. good evening all…

    had to go out of town a few days ago…so have not been around and am just now starting to catch up here.

    wbboei

    I noticed this part of one of your posts at the top

    “Obama needs cover now–desperately. Specifically, he needs someone to blame. But Franken won, Spectre (double)crossed, and now he has that fillibuster proof majority he has always claimed to seek. And with it comes accoutability for what happens next. No longer can he blame the Republicans. He has the con and it is damnosa hereitas baby.”

    My thought and question that comes to mind after reading this is…

    was this a strategically planned move? did the GOP purposely put specter up to defecting in order to set obama and the dims up with that fillibuster proof majority…nothing like a fly in the ointment!

  71. When someone asks do I think of “President” Obama I say this.

    If all you do is listen to big media you will come away convinced that he is a visionary leader who will save the planet. His White House sends 12 emails a day to big media telling them what to think. As a result they have become lapdogs rather than lap dogs. Bush did this too.

    But if you go to the right places you will find people in the know who will tell you the truth about him. And what you will find is that Mr. Obama is a propped up empty suit who has bamboozled too many people. This is not a Republican perspective, it is an American perspective, one which seeks what is best for this county.

    When I look at Mr. Obama I do not see the demigod which big media has created. What I see is an ineffective leader who gives us bread and circuses rather than results. He has been put there by elites who want people to feel good as their future prospects are diminishing.

    Big Media celebrates is first hundred days in office and puts forward an air brushed image of what he has supposedly achieved. But I believe the question most likely to defeat him in 2012 is the old stand-by: are you better off today than you were four years ago? And I say during the first hundred days he has sewn the seeds for his defeat with the massive bailouts (rather than guarantees) and polifigate spending programs. These will lead to deflation and then hyperinflation.

    Since his party now has complete control of Congress we can evaluate him on the basis of his results. And so far, those results are hardly encouraging if big media told us the truth. But we do not need them to show it to us, we can see it ourselves. We can see it in the rising unemployment figures, the curtailment of civil liberties, his opposition to public financing of elections, the terrible tax burden he is imposing on our children and the prospects for another Viet Nam in Afghanistan. Beyond all the American idol crap this will be his real legacy.

  72. Dija: I cannot figure them out anymore. But this much is clear.

    When the Republicans mounted a primary challenge against Spectre, the polls showed he would lose and given his lack of moral compass, the risk that he would defect was clear. Nor was that risk negated by his solemn assurances that he believed in the two party system and would remain a Republican for that reason. Anyone who deals with Spectre knows there is a moral hazard in doing so.

    Senate Minority Leader McConnell and the RNC assumed that risk for the sake of party discipline. It is always important to follow party leadership, but when you are in the minority position it is critical. It is one thing to assume the risk of defection, and quite another to intend it. I can assure you they did not want him to defect, or Franken to win. They wanted to maintain the filligbuster to restrain Obamas socialist agenda and the concomitant looting of the treasury.

    Woe betide the American people, the Republicans and even the Democrats that this vital check and balance is now gone. The only remaining hope is for a blue dog coalition. And despite their resistence to him on Gitmo, I am not optimistic.

  73. wbboei

    I struggle with understand politics…

    but darn if i can stop trying LOL!!

    i’m addicted….is there some sort of self help program for political junkies?? 😀

  74. The systemic failure of Wall Street capitalism has given opponents the opportunity to argue that capitalism is ipso facto evil since it is based on greed, or as its foremost exponent Adam Smith called it: “enlightened self interest”. It has given them further justification to argue that a socialistic philosophy which rewards the fruits of economic activity more justly is to be preferred.

    The old Soviet Union was a living example of this philosophy. After a hundred million deaths or so (Breznevski’s figures) they managed to create a workers paradise enshrined in the opening words of their consititution “from each according to his ability (i.e. capitalism) to each according to his needs (socialism). But the reality was different. Ambassador George Kennan talks about visiting those desperate Russian villages during the period between the Wars, and seeing how anyone who tried to grow a little more food in their own garden by dint of their efforts was deplored and reported to their neigbors for conduct unbecoming a soviet comrade. Imagine being locked in a village like that with twenty Andrea Mitchell snitches as you neigbor and you will understand why there a legal defenses to the crime of murder. It is why I cannot be a socialist.

    The virtue of capitalism is self evident. It provides an incentive to create value. And value creation is what sustains civilization. But pure free maket capitalism is not a virtue. Monopoly is its highest stage, and monopoly is not a good thing because it becomes at predatory at some point. Therefore, capitalism must be regulated by government, to set boundaries, and to prevent it from operating to the detriment of the public good. Reasonable minds can differ as to where those boundries should be set and how much regulation is saluatry, but the need for some regulation to reign in the worst aspects of capitalism is vital for society, and to ensure continuing public support for its policies.

  75. self help program for political junkies??
    ————————————
    Profiles In Courage, by John F Kennedy.

  76. Profiles in Courage
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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    Profiles in Courage book coverProfiles in Courage is a 1955 Pulitzer Prize-winning book attributed to John F. Kennedy, describing acts of bravery and integrity by eight United States Senators from throughout the Senate’s history. The book profiles senators who crossed party lines and/or defied the public opinion of their constituents to do what they felt was right and suffered severe criticism and losses in popularity because of their actions. The book was widely celebrated and became a best seller, but there are credible allegations that most of it was the work of his speechwriter, Theodore Sorenson.

    Contents [hide]
    1 History and background
    2 List of senators profiled
    3 Reception
    4 Authorship controversy
    5 See also
    6 External links
    7 References

    [edit] History and background
    Kennedy was a senator from Massachusetts from 1953 until he was elected president in 1960. With help from research assistants and the Library of Congress, Kennedy wrote the book at his bedside during 1954 and 1955 while on leave from the Senate to recover from surgery to treat his troublesome back.

    [edit] List of senators profiled

    John Quincy Adams a Senator (1803-1808) (later a congressman and president) from Massachusetts, for breaking away from the Federalist Party.

    Daniel Webster also from Massachusetts, for speaking in favor of the Compromise of 1850.

    Thomas Hart Benton from Missouri, for staying in the Democratic Party despite his opposition to the extension of slavery in the territories.

    Sam Houston from Texas, for speaking against the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854. Sam Houston was also profiled for opposing Texas’ secession from the Union, for which he was deposed from the office of Governor.

    Edmund G. Ross from Kansas, for voting for acquittal in the Andrew Johnson impeachment trial. As a result of Ross’s vote, along with those of six other Republicans, Johnson’s presidency was saved, and the stature of the office was preserved.

    Lucius Lamar from Mississippi, for eulogizing Charles Sumner on the Senate Floor and other efforts to mend ties between the North and South during Reconstruction, and for his principled opposition to the Bland-Allison Act to permit free coinage of silver.

    George Norris from Nebraska, for opposing Joseph Gurney Cannon’s autocratic power as Speaker of the House, for speaking out against arming U.S. merchant ships during the United States’ neutral period in World War I, and for supporting the Presidential Campaign of Democrat Al Smith.

    Robert A. Taft from Ohio, for criticizing the Nuremberg Trials for trying Nazi war criminals under what Taft considered ex post facto laws.

    After its release on January 1, 1956, Profiles in Courage was widely acclaimed and helped Kennedy earn national recognition. The book won the Pulitzer Prize for Biography in 1957 and remains one of the definitive books written on both political courage and the U.S. Senate.

    Profiles in Courage was made into a television series that aired on the NBC network during the 1964-1965 television season.

    Authorship controversy
    Questions have been raised about how much of the book was actually written by Kennedy and how much by his research assistants. Some time after April 1957, journalist Drew Pearson appeared as a guest on the The Mike Wallace Interview [1] and made the following claim live on air: “John F. Kennedy is the only man in history that I know who won a Pulitzer Prize for a book that was ghostwritten for him.”[2] Wallace replied “You know for a fact, Drew, that the book Profiles in Courage was written for Senator Kennedy … by someone else?” Pearson responded that he did, and that Kennedy speechwriter Ted Sorenson actually wrote the book. Wallace responded: “And Kennedy accepted a Pulitzer Prize for it? And he never acknowledged the fact?” Pearson replied: “No, he has not. You know, there’s a little wisecrack around the Senate about Jack … some of his colleagues say, ‘Jack, I wish you had a little less profile and more courage.'”[2]

    Joseph Kennedy saw the broadcast, then called his lawyer, Clark Clifford, yelling: “Sue the bastards for fifty million dollars!”[2] Soon Clifford and Robert Kennedy showed up at ABC and told executives that the Kennedys would sue unless the network issued a full retraction and apology. Mike Wallace and Drew Pearson insisted that the story was true and refused to back off. Nevertheless, ABC made the retraction and apology, which made Wallace furious.[2]

    However, years later historian Herbert Parmet analyzed the text of Profiles in Courage and wrote in his book The Struggles of John F. Kennedy (1980) that although Kennedy did oversee the production and provided for the direction and message of the book, it was clearly Sorensen who provided most of the work that went into the end product.

    In May 2008, Sorensen in his autobiography, Counselor, largely confirmed allegations that he had done much, if not most, of the writing. Sorensen wrote that he “did a first draft of most chapters,” “helped choose the words of many of its sentences,” and “privately boasted or indirectly hinted that [he] had written much of the book.” Sorensen claimed that in May 1957, Kennedy “unexpectedly and generously offered, and I happily accepted, a sum” for his work on the book. The sum Kennedy paid to Sorensen exceeded half the book’s royalties from its first five years of sales and led Sorensen to inform Kennedy that he was disinclined to push for recognition of his participation.[3

  77. Apparently, the DIMS have stripped Spectre of his committee chairmanship and now he says he was “betrayed”. I would say that Spectre is something of an authority on that subject. After all, he has betrayed his party and his constituents by his defection, and lord knows this is hardly the first time. Ergo, I feel very sorry for Spectre that he was betrayed. This is the collary to the Will Rogers observation that you cannot cheat an honest man.
    ——————————————————————

    Democrats Strip Arlen Specter of Committee Rank

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009 12:21 PM

    Sen. Arlen Specter was unexpectedly stripped of his seniority Tuesday night in a humiliating blow from Democrats who earlier had welcomed the former Pennsylvania Republican’s defection from the GOP.

    The move not only strips the five-term senator of his legislative clout but also hampers his ability to persuade voters he can still bring influence to issues in Pennsylvania as he approaches election there in 2010.

    Specter lashed back Wednesday, strongly suggesting he had been betrayed.

    In a statement released Wednesday afternoon, Specter said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had promised him that his seniority would be preserved.

    “Sen. (Harry) Reid assured me that I would keep my committee assignments and that I would have the same seniority as if I had been elected as a Democrat in 1980,” Specter said. “It was understood that the issue of subcommittee chairmanships would not be decided until after the 2010 election. Some members of the caucus have raised concerns about my seniority, so the caucus will vote on my seniority at the same time subcommittee chairmanships are confirmed after the 2010 election. I am confident my seniority will be maintained under the arrangement I worked out with Sen. Reid.”

    Specter added that he would “continue to be a staunch and effective advocate for Pennsylvania¹s and the nation’s priorities.”

    The likelihood that Specter would lose a Republican primary prompted him to jump to the Democrats. Now, although President Barack Obama has promised to campaign for him, Specter could face a Democratic challenger in that party’s primary. After that, he may be up against former Gov. Tom Ridge, the state’s most popular Republican, in the general election.

    The Senate vote stripping him of rank came after Specter made a huge faux pas against his new party when he told The New York Times Tuesday that he hoped Republican Norm Coleman wins the protracted court battle over the Minnesota Senate seat. Democrats want candidate Al Franken to prevail over Coleman so the party can attain a filibuster-proof majority of 60 in the Senate.

    Politico reported that Specter has managed to alienate Democrats just a week after his much bally-hooed announcement.

    “Since declaring himself a Democrat last Tuesday, Specter has defied Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the White House on virtually everything that’s come down the pike: the budget, mortgage reform, the Al Franken-Norm Coleman race, even President Barack Obama’s appointment of Dawn Johnsen to head the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel,” Politico reported. “All while quibbling over whether he said he’d be a ‘loyal Democrat’ — and insisting that he had an ‘entitlement’ to transfer his Senate seniority from one side of the aisle to the other.”

    Reid read a resolution on the Senate floor Tuesday making Specter the most junior Democrat on four of his five committee assignments. It stood in stark contrast to Reid’s alleged promise that Specter would retain his seniority if he switched from the Republican to the Democratic party.

    Specter serves on the Appropriations, Judiciary, Veterans Affairs, Environment and Public Works, and Special Aging committees. He had been the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, which is preparing for hearings on a Supreme Court nominee to replace the retiring Justice David Souter.

    When Republicans were in the majority, Specter chaired the confirmation hearings for Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. He now will have to wait in line to question the nominee, the Associated Press reported. Specter also was the top Republican on the subcommittee that funds the National Institutes of Health. The issue is a personal one for him because he has twice battled cancer.

    The move came only a day after Specter boasted of the power he had through seniority to voters in Pennsylvania.

    “My senior position on Appropriations has enabled me to bring a lot of jobs and a lot of federal funding to this state,” Specter said at a town hall meeting on Monday, according to CNN.

    Over and over, CNN reported, Specter made a point of telling an auditorium filled with medical faculty and staff about the hundreds of millions of dollars he delivered to the Keystone State, thanks to the power he’s accumulated in his 29 years in the Senate.

    “Pennsylvania has a big interest in my seniority, a big interest,” he said.

    Speaking on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday, Specter said that it’s an “entitlement” for him to retain his seniority on those committees.

    “I was elected in 1980. I think that’s not a bribe or a give for something extraordinary,” he said. “I’ll be treated as a Democrat as if I was elected as a Democrat.”

    Specter could have a chance to reclaim his seniority on influential committees such as the Appropriations and Judiciary Committees after the 2010 midterm elections, Democrats have suggested.

    Perhaps realizing the consequences his Coleman remarks, Specter quickly changed his tune. He told Congressional Quarterly on Tuesday that he would like to see more Democratic members elected in the 2010 midterms.

    “In the swirl of moving from one caucus to another, I have to get used to my new teammates,” Specter said. “I’m ordinarily pretty correct in what I say. I’ve made a career of being precise. I conclusively misspoke.”

    But Democrats have not only stripped Specter of his clout, they’ve used his defection from the GOP to attack his former party colleagues. In a new Web ad from the Democratic National Committee, they parody the TV show “Survivor to highlight “the continued disunity” within the GOP.

    The final result is that Arlen Specter has betrayed the party that supported him for decades, only to be apparently betrayed by the party that seduced him to defect.

    ————————————————————–

  78. but the need for some regulation to reign in the worst aspects of capitalism is vital for society,
    **********
    I would amend that to “reign in the worst aspects of human beings”….

  79. White House says FEMA nominee should be confirmed

    By DARLENE SUPERVILLE

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House said Wednesday that its nominee to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency deserves immediate Senate confirmation, not “political posturing” from a Republican senator who is standing in the way of a vote.

    President Barack Obama nominated Craig Fugate (FYOO’-gayt) two months ago. The former chief of emergency management in Florida is experienced at handling hurricanes, has bipartisan support and had been expected to be confirmed quickly.

    But Louisiana Sen. David Vitter is delaying the vote, saying that he has been waiting for more than two months for the agency to tell him how it will proceed with high-risk flood zones that will affect rebuilding in Louisiana, projects stemming from hurricane damage in 2005. He also wants information on rebuilding several community facilities in the small barrier island of Grand Isle, La.

    White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Fugate “is somebody that deserves immediate Senate confirmation, not political posturing, from a senator from Louisiana who should understand as well as anybody what’s at stake in responding to a hurricane.”

    In response, Vitter said he is eager to end the standoff but that FEMA is not cooperating. “Almost four years after Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, communities like Cameron Parish and Grand Isle are still waiting on an answer from FEMA so that fire stations and other key facilities can be rebuilt,” he said. “And FEMA is complaining about a short delay of this nomination vote? It seems like they have their priorities mixed up.” Vitter has declined to say how long he would hold out, or what he would do if he doesn’t like the answers FEMA provides.

    Any senator can place what’s known as a “hold” on a presidential nomination, as Vitter as done. Vitter alone cannot block the nomination, but he can delay confirmation by forcing time-consuming votes.

    Gibbs said he didn’t know if Obama and Vitter have spoken. He said the best way for Vitter to “get moving” on issues he has with the agency “is to get somebody of the utmost regard at the helm of FEMA to make progress.”

    Vitter also faced pressure Wednesday from Sen. Mel Martinez, a fellow Florida Republican. Martinez said Fugate needs to be in place at FEMA because hurricane season begins June 1. “It’s not the Republicans. It’s David Vitter,” Martinez said, noting that Vitter’s concerns are local and unrelated to Fugate’s credentials. “I just think that sometimes people utilize this process as a way of making a point or getting attention they’re not otherwise getting.”

    google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i0kZuGuX6akoKlZXpsvlGS68OV1gD98129U80

  80. White House to Release Photo From New York Flyover

    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    The White House plans to soon release a photo from the controversial Air Force One-style flyover of Manhattan last week, despite claiming earlier that there was no need to release any official images from the incident.

    White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Wednesday that an internal report will probably be completed this week. “We’ll release its findings and release a photo,” he said.

    That was after Gibbs indicated Tuesday that the White House would not release any images. “I’ve watched CNN,” he said at the time, noting the considerable coverage from amateur footage. “I didn’t notice a lack of archival material from that flight.”

    The flyover triggered panic among New Yorkers as well as the internal review by the Obama administration.

    Officials last week sent an Air Force One backup plane to fly over lower Manhattan to capture the presidential plane with the Statue of Liberty in the background. The public was not notified in advance that there should be no cause for alarm. Some New Yorkers were reminded of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, sparking chaos as employees evacuated office buildings and inundated emergency call centers to raise the alarm.

    President Obama soon after denounced the photo-op, which cost $328,835, calling it “a mistake.” White House Military Office Director Louis Caldera accepted responsibility and apologized for allowing the exercise.

    foxnews.com/politics/2009/05/06/white-house-release-photo-new-york-flyover/

  81. Looks as if the Bush/Cheney Police State is alive and well in the USA of Obama.

    ” The story involves a 16-year-old Granville County boy, Ashton Lundeby, who was taken out of his home in the middle of the night in March by a team of armed F.B.I. agents. He is in federal custody in Indiana. His mother was only told he is accused of making bomb threats, but beyond that, she has been able to get very little information. She has also had little access to her son. We have been turned away by federal authorities, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Bend, Indiana, and the F.B.I. as we attempted to investigate the case.

    The bottom line is we don’t know what happened. Neither does his mother, Annette Lundeby. She believes her son is innocent, but because the entire situation has been shrouded in secrecy presumably under the auspices of the Patriot Act, there is no public record of what her son did or what legal hurdles he is facing.

    We have gotten a lot of e-mails about the story. They run about three-to-one in favor of the approach we took on the story and against the actions of federal authorities. They urge us to continue to investigate this situation, which we absolutely will. The greatest criticism comes from those who want to hear more from the other side. Believe me, we have tried. We have contacted the U.S. Attorney’s Office in both states, the teenager’s federally appointed public defender, as well as the F.B.I. We have been consistently given a “no comment” from everyone.

  82. The numbers are beginning to jump quicker now, but if Mexico has peaked, perhaps the US is not far behind. Illinois has 122. It is now in 41 states.

    U.S. Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection
    (As of May 6, 2009, 11:00 AM ET) States # of
    laboratory
    confirmed
    cases Deaths
    Alabama 4
    Arizona 48
    California 67
    Colorado 17
    Connecticut 4
    Delaware 33
    Florida 5
    Georgia 3
    Hawaii 3
    Idaho 1
    Illinois 122
    Indiana 15
    Iowa 1
    Kansas 2
    Kentucky* 2
    Louisiana 7
    Maine 1
    Maryland 4
    Massachusetts 45
    Michigan 8
    Minnesota 1
    Missouri 2
    Nebraska 4
    Nevada 5
    New Hampshire 2
    New Jersey 7
    New Mexico 3
    New York 97
    North Carolina 7
    Ohio 5
    Oklahoma 1
    Oregon 15
    Pennsylvania 1
    Rhode Island 2
    South Carolina 16
    Tennessee 2
    Texas 61 2
    Utah 1
    Virginia 3
    Washington 9
    Wisconsin 6
    TOTAL (41) 642 cases 2 deaths
    International Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
    See: World Health Organization

    *Case is resident of KY but currently hospitalized in GA.

  83. NewMexicoFan Says:
    May 6th, 2009 at 10:51 pm

    The numbers are beginning to jump quicker now, but if Mexico has peaked, perhaps the US is not far behind. Illinois has 122. It is now in 41 states.
    ***********
    It looks as if we dodged the bullet, the clinical course is that of a “seasonal” flu and the gene sequences apparently are not similar to the 1918 H1A1 and the H5 “bird” flu.

  84. # NewMexicoFan Says:
    May 6th, 2009 at 10:59 pm
    SHV
    I am thankful for that.
    *********
    There have been complaints about the “flu” being over hyped but I think the govt has done a good job and a lot has and will be learned from the “exercise”. It’s kinda ironic that the $1 billion in the Stim Pkg for pandemic research and prep. was removed and called “pork”.

  85. I would amend that to “reign in the worst aspects of human beings”…
    —————————————————————-
    That is a far more difficult task. There is as you know that wonderful quote by Edmund Burke who was a great admirer of the American Revolution and a great critic of the French Revolution which goes like this: “The French are so concerned about the RIGHTS of men that they have totally forgotten his NATURE”. Or words to that effect.

  86. OK folks, It hit me today about what may happen in 2012. I think Hillary will run. I think at that time she will be vice president. I think she bargained for a position that would give her the utmost ability to showcase her skills and Biden agreed to step down in two years. What’s yah think?

  87. I got this idea from what the republicans are saying why they wanted Carter II (Obama). They would capture 12 years as they did when they got Reagan. It hit me the Dim’s may have put some thought into it.

  88. I’ve been out of the loop for awhile now. It seems like months have passed since keeping up with the political landscape except it’s only been a week or two since I’ve checked in. I finally had enough available time today to read a thread in it’s entirety without fighting sleep deprivation.

    What I’ve noticed in the short time away is how so many important issues are hitting the fan simultaneously where the news outlets (perhaps because of last week’s Swine Flu scare) are flooding cable channels with white noise where it’s difficult to prioritize issues relative to their importance anymore.

    Social Security recipient’s COLA put on hold for two years… nothing more about it. Acorn under investigation for Fraud? Page 19C in the Better Living section. Closing Gitmo- Too expensive, says Congress? Who’s going to argue over less Tax Payer spending? Hamas, not so bad, may be useful after rehabilitation?

    But this… is a real tipoff on the pulse of the country:

    JanH Says:
    May 5th, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    “Celebrities Line Up for White House Correspondents’ Dinner: Hollywood wasn’t fond of Bush, but celebs are flooding to Obama’s dinner”

    Notice the guests on the list. Where’s Clooney, Pitt, Julia, Damon, Spielberg, Sarandon,Springsteen, all the biggies that needed a “Change” so they supported Obama right to the bitter end..the Inauguration. (Well, yeah, The Afflecks.. Rahm’s brother is their booking agent now..) The above group backed Obama and got just what they wished for…CHANGE they believed in… but never though to ask Obama to expand on his promised Change..

    If you remember correctly during the campaign…all Obama ever did is tell us how terrible things were in our country due to Bush economics.. I think these (former) Obama supporters are asking themselves where’s the Change he promised?

    Unfortunately for us, they’ve gotten exactly what they paid for : a HD production of a grifter bamboozling the American people into thinking he was a Change for the better. One of the above had better come up with a substantial turnabout putting this country back on square footing pretty soon. I’m sure by now, they all realize he doesn’t need them anymore. With all their fame and fortunes, they are as powerless as the people losing their homes, jobs and security now that their great expectations of Change have turned into their worst possible nightmare. A president worse than Bush. A president that throws the US under the bus while speaking at events in foreign countries. A president (pardon the French) pissing on his Grandmother’s grave, stating the money spent on her hip replacement surgery was a waste of money. I ask you…. how American is that?

  89. Obama believes hip replacement for grandmother was a waste of money??? Was she able to walk when she needed the hip replacement?? If she was bed bound before the need of a hip replacement is was a waste of money and dangerous for her health.
    Now if she was ambulatory before needing the replacement, Ouch, he is very uncareing towards older people.
    Do you have a link to that??

  90. Confloyd: it is highly unlikely that Obama will get a second term. The Republicans will not be the ones to defeat him. The economy will. If he runs for a second term I do not think the party would select Hillary to be his running mate. No way. They will want someone younger who can run as his successor in 2016. I think that will be Sebenius–or whatever her name is. She is a puppet, she does not care about the American People and has already been vetted by the Trilateral Commission. Granted she is dull as paint, you know what the dream factory boys can do with lipstick. If Obama steps down then Hillary will run in 2012. If not, my guess is that she will go the work for the Clinton Foundation, and keep her hand in politics.

    why would she be any more interested in vice president in 2012 than she was in 2008? Please dont say 2016. If she runs at all it will be for president it will be in 2012.

  91. I found this at Citizen Wells about the swine flu.
    Please check out the entire article at citizenwells dot wordpress dot

    I am worried this may be true.
    Check the letters from ex-military people.

    ‘For several months I have been receiving reports from credible sources, some, ex military officers. The reports were about coming flu pandemics and conspiracies to harm and control the American public. These reports were compelling and had more credibility in the context of the Obama camp coming to power and making rapid changes based on fear and contrived scenarios in the housing and financial markets. The question before me then was should I present this information or let the dust settle and gather more information. Today the CDC provided an update at 11:00 AM ET about the current status of the H1N1, Swine flu. Here is a sentence from the report:

    “The ongoing outbreak of novel influenza A (H1N1) continues to expand in the United States. CDC expects that more cases, more hospitalizations and more deaths from this outbreak will occur over the coming days and weeks.”

    CDC update

    Earlier today the Citizen Wells blog reported that the Obama Administration was considering an unprecedented fall vaccination campaign of three flu shots.

  92. From a retired military officer

    March 10, 2009

    “The one important thing you need to know now is: the Avian Bird Flu has been mixed into vaccines. Get things you need now in event of Quarantine. Epidemic outbreaks are reason for Quarantine and Martial Law. So this could have been done accidentally or purposely. May want to get Echinacea, lots of Vitamin C, Nano-silver to help fight. Source: http://www.organics4u.org. Mainstream Media has a BLACKOUT on this ——–as of yesterday. May have lifted by now?”

  93. From a retired military officer

    March 10, 2009

    “The one important thing you need to know now is: the Avian Bird Flu has been mixed into vaccines. Get things you need now in event of Quarantine. Epidemic outbreaks are reason for Quarantine and Martial Law. So this could have been done accidentally or purposely. May want to get Echinacea, lots of Vitamin C, Nano-silver to help fight. Mainstream Media has a BLACKOUT on this ——–as of yesterday. May have lifted by now?”

  94. sorry for multiple posts but this has really captured my attention.
    from CW

    “Czech newspapers are questioning if the shocking discovery of vaccines contaminated with the deadly avian flu virus which were distributed to 18 countries by the American company Baxter were part of a conspiracy to provoke a pandemic.

    The claim holds weight because, according to the very laboratory protocols that are routine for vaccine makers, mixing a live virus biological weapon with vaccine material by accident is virtually impossible.

    “The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses,” reports the Canadian Press.

    Baxter flu vaccines contaminated with H5N1 – otherwise known as the human form of avian flu, one of the most deadly biological weapons on earth with a 60% kill rate – were received by labs in the Czech Republic, Germany, and Slovenia.

    Initially, Baxter attempted to stonewall questions by invoking “trade secrets” and refused to reveal how the vaccines were contaminated with H5N1. After increased pressure they then claimed that pure H5N1 batches were sent by accident. This was seemingly an attempt to quickly change the story and hide the fact that the accidental contamination of a vaccine with a deadly biological agent like avian flu is virtually impossible and the only way it could have happened was by wilful gross criminal negligence….”

    Go to website to read the rest…

  95. Last one, I promise.
    On another topics;
    CENSUS and GPS!!!!!

    The other day a census worker knocked on my door and said she was confirming the number of people living at my address.

    She then informed me that she had also taken pictures of my cottage to be up,loaded to a census GPS data-base which will have the coordinates for all residences in the country.

    I was stunned and said i didn’t WANT my cottage on GPS! She said i wasn’t the only one who had that reaction but there was nothing i could do about it except contact local and state legislators to voice my opposition.
    WTF is going on????? To me, this is terrifying. not only does the gov’t now know all the normal data but can now single out everyone’s actual geographic location at will!!!! Sorry but this FLIPPED me out! Anyone els have that experience with census workers?

  96. OBAMA – SMOKING GUN FINALLY FOUND?

    April 1, 2009

    AP- WASHINGTON D.C. – In a move certain to fuel the debate over Obama’s qualifications for the presidency, the group “Americans for Freedom of Information” has released copies of President Obama’s college transcripts from Occidental College. Released today, the transcript indicates that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate at the school. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship. This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Obama’s detractors have been seeking.

    The news has created a firestorm at the White House as the release casts increasing doubt about Obama’s legitimacy and qualification to serve as president. When reached for comment in London, where he has been in meetings with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Obama smiled but refused comment on the issue. Meanwhile, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs scoffed at the report stating that this was obviously another attempt by a right-wing conservative group to discredit the president and undermine the administration’s efforts to move the country in a new direction.

    Britain’s Daily Mail has also carried the story in a front-page article titled, “Obama Eligibility Questioned”, leading some to speculate that the story may overshadow economic issues on Obama’s first official visit to the U.K.

    In a related matter, under growing pressure from several groups, Justice Antonin Scalia announced that the Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear arguments concerning Obama’s legal eligibility to serve as President in a case brought by Leo Donofrio of New Jersey. This lawsuit claims Obama’s dual citizenship disqualified him from serving as president. Donofrio’s case is just one of 18 suits brought by citizens demanding proof of Obama’s citizenship or qualification to serve as president.

    Gary Kreep of the United States Justice Foundation has released the results of their investigation of Obama’s campaign spending. This study estimates that Obama has spent upwards of $950,000 in campaign funds in the past year with eleven law firms in 12 states for leg al resources to block disclosure of any of his personal records. Mr. Kreep indicated that the investigation is still ongoing but that the final report will be provided to the U.S. attorney general, Eric Holder. Mr. Holder has refused to comment on the matter.

    ——————————————————————————–

  97. OMG!!!!!!!!

    Hawaii lawmakers name September 14 as ISLAM DAY!!!!!!!!!

    see atlas shrugs

    Carol,
    Do you have links to the Occidental transcripts and the Donofrio story?

  98. Do you have links to the Occidental transcripts and the Donofrio story?

    Sorry, I received this by email from my cousin. However, I will ask her for more info.
    It did say it was an AP report.

  99. Carol, I received that by email also a few days ago. Because of its date, I was not sure what was going on. However, I remember during that time frame I thought something was on the blog about a story in a British newspaper.

    I guess I was confused, and did not know why this was not publicized if not with the US Presidental controlled press at least international.

  100. Released today, the transcript indicates that Obama, under the name Barry Soetoro, received financial aid as a foreign student from Indonesia as an undergraduate at the school. The transcript was released by Occidental College in compliance with a court order in a suit brought by the group in the Superior Court of California. The transcript shows that Obama (Soetoro) applied for financial aid and was awarded a fellowship for foreign students from the Fulbright Foundation Scholarship program. To qualify, for the scholarship, a student must claim foreign citizenship. This document would seem to provide the smoking gun that many of Obama’s detractors have been seeking.
    &&&&&&&

    If Obama wants to claim that he indeed is a US citizen, then he is admitting to committing fraud.

    If Obama wants to claim that he never committed fraud in accepting that scholarship **as a foreign student**, then he committed fraud by asserting that he was a) a US citizen, and b) that his birth certificate, which was never shown in hard copy (only posted on the internet), is fraudulent.

    Either way, haul him off in handcuffs.

  101. sorry about the earlier post from AP. I didn’t notice the April 1 date.

    “You are perpetrating a hoax.

    The link you provided claims that the story was an AP story, yet a search of the AP archives shows that no such story was ever reported on the AP. A search of the Daily Mail (the other source quoted) shows that no such story was printed there either. This story is entirely made up. It is a hoax.

    Maybe the April 1st (April Fool’s Day) dateline should have clued you in?

    How much of this cut-paste right-wing nutter crap are you going to continue to spam this board with?

    Sadly, you will continue to claim that this is all fact, even after being proven wrong. And even if you finally concede here that your are perpetrating a hoax, and you just didn’t check the source (so somehow this makes you blameless), you will continue to repeat this junk as fact elsewhere.”

  102. Whether one particular story is a hoax or not does not invalidate the questioning of his legitimacy, given the massive effort to conceal his past and erase any paper trail.

    His school records are not available, his birth certificate was never presented (except for whatever was shown on a web site). We know extremely little of this guy except for what he put in his own two autobiographies.

    Nixon tried covering up Watergate. Obama is trying to cover up his past. Eventually, the truth seeps out. Eventually, justice is served.

  103. Carol Says:

    May 7th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    ——————————–

    Carol you have nothing to apologize for.

    (((Hugs)))

  104. May 8, 2009

    Non-TARP Lenders Aren’t Making Up the Stories of White House Pressure
    Does that mean the media will investigate?

    By TOM BLUMER

    As of early Tuesday evening, according to a report by Liz Moyer at Forbes, the latest news on the Chrysler bankruptcy filing is that: The recalcitrant non-TARP lenders who would not agree to the deal the government attempted to force on them are now attempting to challenge the deal the government and Chrysler have proposed in bankruptcy court.

    These lenders want to keep their identities hidden.

    In court documents, they have said that “intensifying pressure and name calling by the government threatened to harm them if their identities became public.” Bankruptcy judge Arthur Gonzalez “isn’t buying it,” and has given the lenders until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning to identify themselves or (though not specifically stated) they will apparently lose their standing in court.

    Meanwhile, John Carney at The Business Insider today expanded on what the lenders’ lawyer Tom Lauria first brought out on WJR Radio on Friday, when Lauria told talk-show host Frank Beckmann that “One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House.” Carney’s read-the-whole-thing report (HT Hot Air) goes further:
    ….. Although the focus has so been on allegations that the White House threatened Perella Weinberg, sources familiar with the matter say that other firms felt they were threatened as well. None of the sources would agree to speak except on the condition of anonymity, citing fear of political repercussions.

    The sources, who represent creditors to Chrysler, say they were taken aback by the hardball tactics that the Obama administration employed to cajole them into acquiescing to plans to restructure Chrysler. One person described the administration as the most shocking “end justifies the means” group they have ever encountered. Another characterized Obama was “the most dangerous smooth talker on the planet- and I knew Kissinger.” Both were voters for Obama in the last election.

    One participant in negotiations said that the administration’s tactic was to present what one described as a “madman theory of the presidency” in which the President is someone to be feared because he was willing to do anything to get his way. The person said this threat was taken very seriously by his firm. ….. These allegations add to the picture of an administration willing to use intimidation to win over support for its Chrysler plans–and then categorically deny it.

    Clifford S. Asness, who in a public letter at the Business Insider, rips the administration’s tactics, and expresses an understanding that “one by one the managers and banks are said to be caving to the President’s wishes out of justifiable fear.”

    So …. the national press is all over this outrage of executive overreach, right?

    Uh, not exactly.

    The AP had nothing to say about the alleged threats to non-TARP lenders as of an 11:11 p.m. report, submitting this bland recital (saved here for future reference):
    Judge Arthur Gonzales says the procedures proposed by Chrysler’s lawyers represent a “clear and orderly process.”

    Attorneys for Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Chrysler LLC argued that the automaker had essentially been up for sale for most of the last two years and a speedy sale was needed in order to preserve the value of the company’s assets.

    But those representing a dissident group of Chrysler lenders said more time was needed for other potential buyers to do the research they needed to make an appropriate offer.

    A 5:43 p.m. AP story is about how some elements of Chrysler’s latest concessions agreement with the United Auto Workers union might be helpful to General Motors as it enters the financial netherworld.

    Zzzzz, ….. Zzzzz. Oh, I’m sorry.

    The New York Times, in a report by Michael J. de la Merced and Jonathan D. Glater, does note the threats and Gonzales’s ruling, and has the following at its second-last paragraph.

    When the debtholders, calling themselves the Committee of Non-TARP Lenders, made their first public statement last Thursday, they said their group consisted of about 20 investment firms holding about $1 billion. According to their motion to file under seal, the group now claims about $300 million in holdings.

    de la Merced and Glater were apparently not curious about the possible reasons why the amount involved, and presumably the number of holders, is significantly lower than it was just a few days ago.

    Maybe it’s because the threats are real, guys.

    online.wsj.com/article/SB124167388473695227.html

  105. It is a stupid hypothical question, but when I see lenders who voted for Mr Obama in the primary and/or the General Election expressing outrage over his policies and his rather blatant thuggery, I am tempted to ask if they and people like him had known then what they know now would they have voted for Hillary in the primary or McCain in the general election. My fear is they would do nothing different. Nathaniel Hawthorne dealt with that question in a short story called Dr. Heiddigers Experiment and it is a sad commentary on the gulliblity of human beings. But if there is anything to the new kind of politics which ignores hard questions, and aims at making people feel good, then I cannot imagine these erstwhile Obama supporters can be feeling very good right about now-especially after a third martini. These are the same people who would have dismissed our warnings about this fraud as the delusional.

  106. The following is from No Quarter. If you have the chance, check out this article. The video of Joe Sestak is what you need to watch. This is the kind of leader we need in the Senate and one day perhaps as President. He is a blue collar democrat, and he is one of us. When I sent out hundreds of letters to superdelegates who were identified as Hillary supporters (he was one of them) and undecideds he was the only one that I know of who actually read my email. His staff are some of the best people in Washington. Truth to tell, I cannot say enough good things about this guy, and it is not just the fact that he was a Navy Admiral. Watch the video, and I think you will see what I mean:
    ———————————————————————Obama Screws With Pennsylvania Democrats [Updates] »
    By SusanUnPCcloseAuthor: SusanUnPC Name:
    Email: noquarter@gmail.com
    Site: http://noquarterusa.net/
    About: See Authors Posts (2041) on May 6, 2009 at 6:12 PM in Arlen Specter, Congress (House & Senate), Current Affairs, Rep. Joe Sestak, US Senate | 43 Comments

    In the entire saga involving Sen. Arlen Specter, there’s only ONE person I care about: Rep. Joe Sestak, a retired United States Navy rear admiral, who would make a brilliant senator. Rep. Sestak’s “legislative efforts have resulted in House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer naming him the most productive freshman member of Congress.” Update #2: “Poll to test Sestak’s Netroots support.” (Take the poll.)

    Arlen Specter, you’re SEVENTY-NINE YEARS OLD. What in the hell business do you have switching parties and expecting anything, especially retaining your seniority?

    What did Barack Obama and Joe Biden promise you? And you believed them? What a FOOL you are. Obama and Biden will screw with anybody to get that 60th vote. Even toss aside the Democrats’ best chance to win that Pennsylvania senate seat: Joe Sestak

  107. I see Larry has posted the Hedges article which I posted a couple days ago, sent to me by a friend who has changed his mind on Obama.

  108. STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH:

    Geithner’s piece in NY Times

    nytimes.com/2009/05/07/opinion/07geithner.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

    How We Tested the Big Banks
    =====================

    By TIMOTHY GEITHNER
    Published: May 6, 2009

    THIS afternoon, Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Federal Reserve will announce the results of an unprecedented review of the capital position of the nation’s largest banks. This will be an important step forward in President Obama’s program to help repair the financial system, restore the flow of credit and put our nation on the path to economic recovery.

    The president came into office facing a deep recession and a damaged financial system. Credit had dried up, forcing businesses to lay off workers and defer investment. Families were finding it difficult to borrow to finance a new house, buy a car or pay college tuition. Without action to restore lending, we faced the prospect of a much deeper and longer recession.

    President Obama confronted these problems with dramatic action to address the housing crisis and to restart credit markets that are responsible for roughly half of all business and consumer lending. The administration also initiated a program to provide a market for legacy loans and securities to help cleanse bank balance sheets. These programs are helping to repair lending channels that do not rely on banks, and will contribute to fixing the banking system itself.

    However, the banking system has also needed a more direct and forceful response. Actions by Congress and the Bush administration last fall helped bring tentative stability. But when President Obama was sworn into office in January, confidence in America’s banking system remained low.

    Because of concern about future losses, and the limited transparency of bank balance sheets, banks were unable to raise equity and found it difficult to borrow without government guarantees. And they were pulling back on lending to protect themselves against the possibility of a worsening recession. As a result, the economy was deprived of credit, and this caused severe damage to confidence and slowed economic activity.

    We could have left this problem as we found it and hoped that, over time, banks would earn their way out of the mistakes they had made. Instead, we chose a strategy to lift the fog of uncertainty over bank balance sheets and to help ensure that the major banks, individually and collectively, had the capital to continue lending even in a worse than expected recession.

    We brought together bank supervisors to undertake an exceptional assessment of the strength of our nation’s 19 largest banks. The object was to estimate potential future losses, and ensure that banks had enough capital to keep lending even in the face of a deeper recession.

    Some might argue that this testing was overly punitive, while others might claim it could understate the potential need for additional capital. The test designed by the Federal Reserve and the supervisors sought to strike the right balance.

    The Federal Reserve marshaled hundreds of supervisors to spend 45 days rigorously reviewing the banks’ detailed loan data. They applied exacting estimates of potential losses over two years, along with conservative estimates of potential earnings over the same period, and compared them with existing reserves and capital. The results were then evaluated against strict minimum capital standards, in terms of both overall capital and tangible common equity.

    The effect of this capital assessment will be to help replace uncertainty with transparency. It will provide greater clarity about the resources major banks have to absorb future losses. It will also bring more private capital into the financial system, increasing the capacity for future lending; allow investors to differentiate more clearly among banks; and ultimately make it easier for banks to raise enough private capital to repay the money they have already received from the government.

    The test results will indicate that some banks need to raise additional capital to provide a stronger foundation of resources over and above their current capital ratios. These banks have a range of options to raise capital over six months, including new common equity offerings and the conversion of other forms of capital into common equity. As part of this process, banks will continue to restructure, selling non-core businesses to raise capital. Indeed, we have already seen banks, spurred on by the stress test, take significant steps in the first quarter to raise capital, sell assets and strengthen their capital positions. Over time, our financial system should emerge stronger and less prone to excess.

    Banks will also have the opportunity to request additional capital from the government through Treasury’s Capital Assistance Program. Treasury is providing this backstop so that markets can have confidence that we will maintain sufficient capital in the financial system. For institutions in which the federal government becomes a common shareholder, we will seek to maximize value for taxpayers and enable these companies to attract private capital, thereby reducing government ownership as quickly as possible.

    Some banks will be able to begin returning capital to the government, provided they demonstrate that they can finance themselves without F.D.I.C. guarantees. In fact, we expect banks to repay more than the $25 billion initially estimated. This will free up resources to help support community banks, encourage small-business lending and help repair and restart the securities markets.

    This crisis built up over years, and the financial system needs more time to adjust. But the president’s program, alongside actions by the Federal Reserve and the F.D.I.C., is already helping to bring down credit risk premiums. Mortgage interest rates are at historic lows, putting more money in the hands of homeowners and helping slow the decline in housing prices. Companies are finding it easier to issue new debt to finance investment. The cost of borrowing for municipal governments has fallen significantly. Issuance of securities backed by consumer and auto loans is increasing, and the interest rates on these securities are falling. The Federal Reserve reports that credit terms are now starting to ease a bit.

    This is just a beginning, however. Our work is far from over. The cost of credit remains exceptionally high, and businesses and families across the country are still finding it too hard to borrow to meet their needs. We are continuing to execute our programs to relieve the burden of legacy assets, help small businesses and community banks, and tackle the mortgage and foreclosure crisis. The ultimate purpose of these programs is to ensure that the financial system supports rather than impedes economic recovery.

    We have not reached the end of the recession or the financial crisis, but the bank stress tests should advance the process of repairing our financial system and provide a better foundation for recovery.

    &&&&&
    Timothy Geithner is the secretary of the Treasury.

  109. The Campaign’s Over, Obama; It’s Time To Lead”

    Thus writes John Kass in the excellent article by the same name, The campaign’s over, Obama; it’s time to lead (Major h/t to my friend, SusanUnPC for the heads up on this article). No freakin’ kidding – Obama needs to stop with all of the damn press conferences (can you believe he is getting ready to have ANOTHER one? What is this, Number 349 post-Jan. 20??), and get to work already!! But even disregarding that, Kass writes:

    In Europe, he chastised America for what he called our “arrogance.” In the Caribbean, he gave the dictator of Venezuela a warm smile and a handshake, and called him “amigo.” Before the Saudi king, he bowed low and long.

    And just the other day, in a cynical nod to Turkish generals, the American president who campaigned for human rights quietly avoided the word “genocide” in a resolution marking the anniversary of the 1915 Ottoman Turkish slaughter of more than a million Armenian Orthodox Christians.

    A few years after that slaughter, as he prepared to engage in his own genocide of the Jews, Adolf Hitler was credited with saying: “Who remembers the Armenians?” The United States may remember, but our president can’t call it genocide.

    Ah, yes, his trip to Turkey. Our guide in Turkey mentioned Obama’s two days spent there in Iatanbul. He lifted up his hands, and his eyes to the heavens, and said, “yes, people here think he is the new savior.” There was a tinge of irony in his voice, thankfully. I was glad he appeared not to have been sucked in by Obama’s rhetoric. And all I could think was, “He has benefited from a GREAT marketing campaign, that man.” I might add, there were VERY few responses to the guide’s having said this, but in particular, there were no enthusiastic affirmations. Perhaps after Obama’s unwillingness to call genocide what is is, there may be fewer Turks who see him as The Messiah.

    Kass continues:
    Still, President Barack Obama offers himself up to an adoring world — and the enraptured, Hopium-smoking American media that helped elect him — as a leader more flexible than his hopelessly rigid predecessor, George W. Bush.

    And he’s proved it, charming nations and their leaders, remaining in campaign mode, where he’s most comfortable.

    While in Egypt, at the Citadel and its two mosques, we were all on the bus getting ready to leave. One of the constant souvenir hawks kept talking to people on the bus, and said, “I love Barack Obama! He will change the world! I hate George Bush and Tony Blair!” Well, I couldn’t disagree with his last assessment, but one of the other women on the bus, when he said Obama would “change the world, ” muttered, “We’ll see.” Again, not an enthusiastic response from the people on the bus (different group, for the most part, too, by the way). But it is clear that the MSM, Plouffe, and Axelrod meme that Obama really is a change agent, in contradiction to his entire political history thus far, and his underhanded way of even getting into politics in the first place (getting everyone thrown off the ballot), has taken root abroad. People believe what they want to believe, facts notwithstanding. It’s one thing for people in other countries to buy this stuff – they can’t vote here. Quite another that people here bought it. But I digress.

    Back to the USA and John Kass:
    But last week, he bowed to his base in the hard political left by reversing himself, opening the door for the prosecution of Bush Justice Department officials who helped develop harsh interrogation policies for suspected terrorists.

    Some call it torture and legitimately oppose it. Others say harsh interrogation — such as waterboarding — was necessary after the Sept. 11 attacks.

    But what Obama accomplished by opening the possibility of political witch hunts was to offer up one of his own eyes to his political supporters. He needs both eyes to see a dangerous world.

    The week began when Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s chief of staff, appeared on ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos to reiterate Obama’s pledge not to prosecute.

    “He believes that people in good faith were operating with the guidance they were provided,” said Emanuel, no fool. “They shouldn’t be prosecuted. … It’s time for reflection. It’s not a time to use our energy in looking back in any sense of anger and retribution.”

    Two days later, Obama abruptly changed course to please his anti-war base that demands a few severed political heads.

    “With respect to those who formulated those legal decisions, I would say, that is going to be more of a decision for the attorney general,” he said. “I think there are a host of very complicated issues involved there.”

    His critics used phrases such as “chilling effect” on intelligence gathering, but I call it the pucker factor. In all bureaucracies, it rolls down hill.

    Of course, Obama caved. Anyone who thought he would do otherwise was sadly mistaken.

    As for his releasing of the Torture memos, a number of my fellow writers at No Quarter have taken this on, including none other than Larry Johnson, American Girl In Italy, and SusanUnPC, to name a few. No need for me to get into that with such stellar writers already dealing with it, except to say – once again, Obama did not consider the implications and/or ramifications of doing so, including, as SusanUnPC pointed out, the impact on some of his more sychophantic supporters like Nancy Pelosi. (If you haven’t had a chance to read those, and others, I highly recommend that you do.)

    Kass continues on the torture theme:
    Reporters are kind of like intelligence gatherers. We don’t waterboard politicians, but we’re under pressure to get good information. So, let me tell you a story.

    In 1985, I was a kid in the news business, and our gossip columnist, Mike Sneed — now at the Sun-Times — got the story of the year: “Reform” Mayor Harold Washington had been secretly taped pressuring a fellow to get out of the 3rd Ward aldermanic race. It sounded like raw politics. It didn’t sound anything like reform. And Washington was enraged.

    Jim Squires, then our editor, decided to publish transcripts but tell readers the tapes were leaked by Washington’s white ethnic political opponents who wanted to embarrass him. Fair enough.

    Then he ordered me and another young reporter to find Sneed’s source and walk back the cat. I didn’t want to do it, but he was the boss and Sneed understood, and after a few days, he dropped his harebrained scheme.

    Yet for a long time afterward, sources worried they might be outed. Reporters were concerned their bosses might investigate their sources. And in the gathering of political intelligence, when sources start puckering up, they’re not going to kiss you. You get scooped.

    And some editors shriek, “How did you get scooped?!” even when they knew that the boss made a decision that sent spasms through everything. More spasms ensue. The pucker factor multiplies exponentially.

    Now THAT is a quote for the ages, isn’t it? “The pucker factor multiplies exponentially.”

    Kass makes his point:
    Obama isn’t an editor. He’s the president of a nation targeted by terrorists and constantly probed for weakness, even by our allies.

    His intelligence gatherers — and others who give them the tools and the go-ahead — can’t spend their time wondering if he has their backs.

    His statements surely sent spasms through bureaucracies that are vital to his own success and America’s safety. All because he wanted to campaign, rather than lead.

    Our president has a fine ear for language and nuance. Yet sometimes he shapes his principles to fit the moment, something anyone who watches Chicago politics understood years ago(Emphasis mine.). The Democratic machine candidates he eagerly endorsed for re-election — from Boss Daley II to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger to disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich — are testament to Obama’s flexibility.

    But he must stop campaigning someday, and start thinking like a chief executive. And he’ll need both eyes to see where he’s got to go. (
    jskass@tribune.com)

    I could not have said it better myself. Except to say that it isn’t just the intelligence gatherers who have to wonder if he has their backs, but ALL Americans. When the President of the United States goes abroad and insults the very people he was elected to serve, it does raise the question if he indeed does. Personally, I never suffered the illusion that he gave a damn about the American people – he seems to care about one person and person only: himself. Still, his position alone as POTUS would certainly IMPLY he has a duty to not trash us in other countries while apparently campaigning for Master of the Universe. Just sayin’.

    And, while I know others are writing about this, a president who cares, really cares about the people whom he was elected to serve does NOT, DOES NOT, have a PHOTO OP of a 747 being chased by an F-16 Fighter Jet flying over lower Manhattan and New Jersey. The bubble surrounding this man and his inner circle is mighty thick, and mighty clueless. (If you have not yet heard about this incredibly insensitive, assholic move by the White House, click HERE and HERE for just two articles on this.)

    If Obama is truly capable of leading, rather than just campaigning, and having his ego stroked, it is time, PAST time, for him to hop to it. And enough with the press conferences already, too. And the vacations (I’ve lost count, but it has been at least three in the first One Hundred Days. Feel free to enumerate them if you know of more!). And playing games while real issues are arising (golf, basketball, whatever). That is all to say, President Obama, get to work already.

  110. FACT-FILLED ROMP THROUGH OBAMA’S BUDGET-DOGGLE

    WashPost has this (sorry about the length). Repubs laughing at Obama’s efforts to make cuts.

    washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/07/AR2009050702001_pf.html

    Obama Releases $3.4 Trillion Budget Plan
    =============================

    By Lori Montgomery, Amy goldstein and William Branigin
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Thursday, May 7, 2009 1:06 PM

    The Obama administration today unveiled program details of a $3.4 trillion federal budget for the fiscal year beginning in October, a proposal that includes substantial increases for a number of domestic priorities as well as a plan to trim or eliminate 121 programs at a savings of $17 billion.

    In a statement delivered at the White House after the budget details were released, President Obama defended the cuts from critics on both sides — those he said would fight to preserve the targeted programs and others who consider the reductions insignificant.

    “We can no longer afford to spend as if deficits don’t matter and waste is not our problem,” he said. “We can no longer afford to leave the hard choices for the next budget, the next administration — or the next generation.”

    While many government employees do valuable, thankless work, Obama said, “at the same time, we have to admit that there is a lot of money that’s being spent inefficiently, ineffectively and, in some cases, in ways that are actually pretty stunning.” He cited several examples, including a $465 million program to build an alternate engine for the Defense Department’s joint strike fighter, a program that Pentagon brass neither wants nor plans to use.

    Obama said some proposed cuts are larger and more painful than others, while some would produce less than $1 million in savings. “In Washington, I guess that’s considered trivial,” he said. “But these savings, large and small, add up.” He said of the $17 billion total in projected savings, “Even by Washington standards, that should be considered real money.”

    Obama also stressed that the proposed cuts do not replace the need for “large changes” in entitlement spending.

    The new budget documents, totaling more than 1,500 pages, fill in the details of a broad outline that Obama released in February. They include a massive appendix listing program-by-program information on the roughly 40 percent of the fiscal 2010 budget that constitutes discretionary spending, which will be set by Congress in what is expected to be a contentious appropriations process.

    Also included is a separate tome that provides details on the programs targeted for cuts or elimination. If approved by Congress, those trims would amount to only about one-half of 1 percent of the $3.4 trillion federal budget. But the proposed reductions are expected to be equally controversial on Capitol Hill, with some lawmakers battling for programs they favor and others demanded deeper cuts.

    Congressional Republicans immediately denounced the cuts as insufficient when some details of them emerged yesterday. The criticism drew a retort this morning from White House budget director Peter Orszag, who went on MSNBC to stress that the cuts are just a start on the long-term work of curbing government spending, notably the growth of the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs.

    In any case, Orszag said, “$17 billion a year is not chump change by anyone’s accounting.”

    About half of the trims would come from curbing defense programs that have been identified by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates as expendable. They include ending production of the F-22 fighter plane — thus saving $2.9 billion next year — and canceling a new $13 billion presidential helicopter fleet, which would save about $750 million in fiscal 2010.

    In a letter to Congress accompanying the new budget documents, Obama said his proposals make “long-overdue investments and reforms” in education, health care and renewable sources of energy while “beginning to rein in unsustainable deficits and debt.” He said the proposed program cuts “are just the next phase of a larger and longer effort needed to change how Washington does business and put our fiscal house in order.”

    “I have little doubt that there will be various interests — vocal and powerful — who will oppose different aspects of this budget,” he wrote. “Change is never easy. However, I believe that after an era of profound irresponsibility, Americans are ready to embrace the shared responsibilities we have to each other and to generations to come. They want to . . . reconstruct an economy that is built on a solid new foundation.”

    In his letter and in his remarks at the White House, Obama vowed again to cut the federal budget deficit in half by the end of his first term, and he pledged to bring nondefense discretionary spending over the next decade to its lowest level as a share of gross domestic product since 1962.

    Under the budget request for the Pentagon, Afghanistan war funding surpasses that for Iraq for the first time, part of a shift in priorities that Gates seeks in defense spending.

    The $130 billion in war funding that is part of the 2010 budget request includes $65 billion for Afghanistan operations and $61 billion for Iraq. The budget covers Obama’s plan to increase U.S. troop strength in Afghanistan by 21,000 this year, but more funds would be required if he decides to meet the request of U.S. commanders for an additional 10,000 troops next year. The budget also includes $700 million for improving Pakistan’s counterinsurgency capability — a major increase in such assistance.

    Meanwhile, the Pentagon’s $534 billion base budget — $21 billion, or 4 percent, larger than last year’s — also includes key initiatives to reshape the U.S. military for fighting today’s wars. Major shifts include increasing spending on intelligence and reconnaissance, helicopters and Special Operations Forces, while stopping production of unneeded weapons systems and terminating or restructuring other programs considered “troubled.”

    In addition to the F-22 and presidential helicopter programs, proposed cuts include halting a $19 billion transformational satellite program and trimming $1.2 billion from missile defense.

    Emphasizing the need to care for the all-volunteer force, the budget includes a 2.9 percent pay raise for active and reserve military personnel and increased spending on research for common wounds such as traumatic brain injury and mental health problems. Health care costs for military personnel have ballooned in recent years and are projected to consume $47 billion of the 2010 defense budget.

    With the 2.9 percent across-the-board pay raise and other compensation increases, but excluding special pay and bonuses, military salaries will average nearly $52,000 a year for enlisted personnel and $98,000 a year for officers, the document says.

    The budget includes $2.3 billion more for personnel costs than the level enacted in 2009, an increase that would help pay for the Bush administration’s decision to permanently increase the size of the Army by 65,000 soldiers and the Marine Corps by 27,000 Marines.

    The volume separately lists budget items for “overseas contingency operations” covering pay and other personnel costs for service members in Iraq, Afghanistan and other trouble spots. Included in this category is $115.3 billion for the “Iraq Freedom Fund” during fiscal 2010, an amount that includes up to $100 million “to support the relocation and disposition of individuals detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, relocate military and support forces associated with detainee operations and facilitate the closure of detainee facilities.”

    In addition, nearly $7.5 billion is budgeted for assistance to Afghan security forces.

    The proposed budget immediately came under fire today from congressional Republicans. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) charged in a speech that the Obama administration “seems to be forcing the Pentagon to make some needlessly tough choices — even as they justify trillions of dollars for domestic spending in the name of economic stimulus.” He said growth of discretionary federal spending by 7.7 percent next year, compared with 4 percent growth in defense spending while the United States fights two wars, “shows the wrong budget priorities for our country.”

    Cornyn also complained about the plan to cut missile defense spending. “Given the threats we face, now is not the time to cash in a peace dividend,” he said.

    However, Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) hailed the budget and praised Obama for reaffirming his pledge to cut waste. “No spending should be immune from review,” he said in a statement.

    Obama’s list of proposed cuts is less ambitious than the hit list former president George W. Bush produced last year, which targeted 151 programs for $34 billion in savings. Like most of the cuts Bush sought, congressional sources and independent budget analysts predict, Obama’s also are likely to prove a tough sell.

    “Even if you got all of those things, it would be saving pennies, not dollars. And you’re not going to begin to get all of them,” said Isabel Sawhill, a Brookings Institution economist who waged her own battles with Congress as a senior official in the Clinton White House budget office. “This is a good government exercise without much prospect of putting a significant dent in spending.”

    Administration officials defended their approach, saying the list of program reductions and terminations is just the start of a broader effort to cut spending and rein in a skyrocketing budget deficit, which is projected to approach $1.7 trillion this year. They also noted that the list does not include more than $300 billion in savings Obama proposes to squeeze from federal health programs and use to finance an expansion of coverage for the uninsured.

    “This is an important first step, but it’s not the end of the process. We will continue to look for additional savings,” said a senior administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the list of cuts had not been officially released. “You have not heard everything to be said on this topic from us.”

    The president has already scored a victory on the budget. Congress last week decisively approved his request to devote billions of dollars in new spending to health care, energy and education in the fiscal year that begins in October. But that plan depends in part on the administration’s ability to identify budget cuts elsewhere. The document being released today details some of those savings.

    The relatively short list of proposed program cuts quickly drew fire from Republicans who learned of them yesterday.

    “While we appreciate the newfound attention to saving taxpayer dollars from this administration, we respectfully suggest that we should do far more,” House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said.

    In separate briefings with congressional Democrats and reporters, administration officials yesterday said the proposed savings were evenly split between defense and nondefense programs, and that many of the most significant reductions had already been revealed by the president or by Gates.

    They also said the majority of the reductions were new targets not previously identified by the Bush administration. But the two lists clearly have some overlap.

    For example, congressional sources said Obama is proposing to eliminate a program that reimburses states and localities for holding suspected criminals who turn out to be in the country illegally. Created in 1994, the program was repeatedly targeted by Bush officials, who argued that it is ineffective. But Congress restored funding for the program because it was popular with state and local officials. The program handed out $400 million last year.

    Administration officials said Obama also wants to do away with Even Start, a program created in the late 1980s to promote literacy for young children and their parents. Starting in 2005, Bush tried annually to persuade Congress to eliminate the program. Lawmakers gradually reduced funding from $247 million to $66 million, but never proved willing to eliminate it.

    Yesterday, an administration official said that, though Obama considers early childhood education a priority, “The evidence is unfortunately clear that this specific early childhood program does not work very well.”

    The officials previewed four other programs marked for termination on the grounds that they are not needed or are not effective. Obama officials have previously identified three of them as being out of favor: a $35 million-a-year long-range radio navigation system that officials said has been made obsolete by Global Positioning System devices; a Department of Education attache based in Paris that costs $632,000 per year; and a $142 million program that officials said continues to pay states to clean up abandoned mines even though that task has been completed.

    In addition, the White House is proposing to cancel the Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation, an independent federal agency established to “encourage and support research, study and labor designed to produce new discoveries in all fields of endeavor for the benefit of mankind,” according to its Web site. The program costs $1 million a year, and officials said 80 percent goes to administrative overhead.

    The proposed cuts, if adopted by Congress, would not actually reduce government spending. Obama’s budget would increase overall spending; any savings from the program terminations and reductions would be shifted to the president’s priorities.

    But the more likely outcome, budget analysts said, is that few to none of the programs targeted by Obama will be terminated. Presidents from both parties have routinely rolled out long lists of spending cuts — and lawmakers from both parties routinely ignore them.

    “You can go through the budget line by line, but there’s no line that says ‘waste, fraud and abuse,'” said Robert Bixby, executive director of the nonprofit Concord Coalition, which promotes deficit reduction. “What some people think is waste, other people think is a vital government service.”

    The administration officials said they think their cuts will be taken more seriously by lawmakers because the economic crisis and the accompanying rise in deficit spending is focusing fresh attention on the need to trim spending. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has told committee leaders to offer their own spending cuts by the beginning of June.

    “The spirit on Capitol Hill is now cognizant of the need to find some efficiencies,” the administration official said. “I think you’re going to see proposals not just from us, but from lawmakers to find savings.”

    Still, in the context of an enormous deficit, the sums under discussion are a drop in the bucket, analysts said.

    “Obviously, the bottom line is frightening,” said Rudolph Penner, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office. “They have a long way to go to show fiscal restraint.”

  111. And more taunting about the puny cuts:

    washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/06/AR2009050603454.html

    Obama’s Budget Knife Yields Modest Trims
    Plan Likely to Face Tough Fight on the Hill

    By Lori Montgomery and Amy Goldstein
    Washington Post Staff Writers
    Thursday, May 7, 2009

    President Obama has said for weeks that his staff is scouring the federal budget, “line by line,” for savings. Today, they will release the results: a plan to trim 121 programs by $17 billion, a tiny fraction of next year’s $3.4 trillion budget.

    The plan is less ambitious than the hit list former president George W. Bush produced last year, targeting 151 programs for $34 billion in savings. And like most of the cuts Bush sought, congressional sources and independent budget analysts yesterday predicted that Obama’s, too, would be a tough sell.

    “Even if you got all of those things, it would be saving pennies, not dollars. And you’re not going to begin to get all of them,” said Isabel Sawhill, a Brookings Institution economist who waged her own battles with Congress as a senior official in the Clinton White House budget office. “This is a good government exercise without much prospect of putting a significant dent in spending.”

    Administration officials defended their approach, saying the list of program reductions and terminations is just the start of a broader effort to cut spending and rein in a skyrocketing budget deficit, which is projected to approach $1.7 trillion this year. They also noted that the list does not include more than $300 billion in savings Obama proposes to squeeze from federal health programs and use to finance an expansion of coverage for the uninsured.

    [snip]

  112. Burger King Baracks road to economic ruin . . .

    Dick Morris’ Political Insider RSS ARCHIVE

    Print Page | Forward Page | E-mail Us

    How Obama’s Socialism Works

    Wednesday, May 6, 2009 2:10 PM

    By: Dick Morris & Eileen McGann Article Font Size

    President Obama’s vision of the future is, apparently, an economy guided, steered, and — when the occasion demands — commanded by the federal government.

    Some of the companies will remain private. Washington will take others over. But all will look to the White House, as to an orchestra conductor, for signals as to how and when and where to proceed.

    This summary is the vision that emerges from the Chrysler bailout.

    Regardless of whether one believes the claims of attorney Thomas Lauria (I do) that the administration strong-armed the investment bank Perella Weinberg Partners, the fact remains that the four firms that accepted the piddling offer of 29 cents on the dollar are all awash in Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) money.

    Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase all dutifully approved the offer from Washington, while Perella Weinberg reportedly held out for 50 cents. Did the combined $90 billion the four compliant firms owed Washington in TARP funds make a difference in their passive acquiescence? You bet it did.

    They shouldn’t have said yes. Clearly, Obama was not about to pull the trigger, which would have sent tens of thousands of autoworkers straight into unemployment. Politically, he would have had no choice but to cough up the $4.5 billion loan the feds just gave Chrysler with or without a debt settlement. The political pressures that always have operated on this Democratic president are still there and still in play.

    Knowing the ultimate vulnerability of the administration position, any investment bank that was looking out for its clients would have demanded more than 29 cents. But Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, and JPMorgan Chase all had a higher calling: They had to appease King Barack I. To its credit, Perella Weinberg put its investors first.

    But this little vignette shows exactly what the new rules of the game are under this administration. It isn’t Soviet-style socialism or Reaganesque capitalism. The system resembles more closely the Japanese arrangement in which MITI, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, informally guided companies and told them what to do. In Japan, a nod usually suffices to command. In the United States, one has to use a hammer. But the result will be the same: compliant capitalism.

    Companies will not look out for their shareholders or their employees or even their customers so much as watch the smoke signals from Washington to decide what to do. The markets won’t control decisions. Washington will.

    The same balance of government control and nominal private ownership is evident in the mortgage rescue plan and the efforts to rekindle consumer lending. It will be manifest in the cap-and-trade legislation and in the priority that the administration will accord to green lending and job creation.

    The strong-arming that obviously led up to the Chrysler deal also will be typical of the Obama industrial policy. When the chips are down, JFK’s pressure on U.S. Steel to lower its prices in 1962 will be the model for the Obama years. Although terrorists need not fear any violation of their constitutional rights, CEOs of Fortune 500 companies will not be so fortunate.

    At the core of the new policy will be the simple assumption that Washington knows best.

    But it doesn’t. The stagnation of the Japanese economy in the past 20 years is eloquent testimony to the fact that government usually gets it wrong. Sometimes it makes the wrong decision because it fails to anticipate the market (as Japan did when it downplayed laptop computers and stressed mainframes). More often (as is normal in Japan), it is so in the thrall of special interests that it ends up articulating a consensus of those who would divide the pie among them.

    One way or another, the government usually runs the economy into the ground, as it will under King Barack I.

  113. TRANSPARENCY YOU CAN BELIEVE IN?

    usatoday.com/tech/news/techpolicy/2009-05-06-stimulus_N.htm?poe=HFMostPopular

    Details thin on stimulus contracts
    =======================

    By Matt Kelley, USA TODAY
    WASHINGTON — Although President Obama has vowed that citizens will be able to track “every dime” of the $787 billion stimulus bill, a government website dedicated to the spending won’t have details on contracts and grants until October and may not be complete until next spring — halfway through the program, administration officials said.
    Recovery.gov now lists programs being funded by the stimulus money, but provides no details on who received the grants and contracts. Agencies won’t report that data until Oct. 10, according to Earl Devaney, chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, which manages the website.

    Devaney told a House subcommittee Tuesday that it will be a challenge to have the site ready to present spending data in five months. He said after the hearing that the board doesn’t have enough data storage capacity, for example.

    Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia, a Republican serving on the House Science and Technology subcommittee, criticized the administration’s decision to require reporting of only the first two recipients of stimulus spending. Broun said that means if the money goes to a state and then a city, the identities of the city’s contractors will be unavailable.

    Devaney said that after the first data become available in October, the board will wait six to nine months for the White House Office of Management and Budget to issue new guidance on how far down the spending chain the money must be tracked. “I’m going to push them for as much data as possible,” he said.

    Devaney’s spokeswoman, Nancy DiPaolo, said the website may not be completed until next spring.

    The board solicited ideas for the site last week during an online “national dialogue” that drew 542 ideas and 1,330 comments. The suggestions included adding mapping tools and other software to allow users to search the data.

    People accustomed to getting easily searchable information quickly could be frustrated, said Greg Elin of the Sunlight Foundation, which is part of a coalition pressing for better access to spending data. “If we have to wait until October to get the information or to the end of the year to get a powerful recovery.gov site, the Obama administration will have missed an important opportunity,” Elin said.

    The site currently lists total amounts available and already spent — as of last week, $72.2 billion available and $15.4 billion spent. There’s also an interactive map showing allocations for each state.

    As with all federal contracts, information about stimulus contracts is available on the Federal Procurement Data System’s website, but that data is not available on recovery.gov.

    In addition, 29 federal departments and agencies provide stimulus spending information. The quality of those websites varies, from a list of news releases and planning reports from the Justice Department to a chart detailing major programs and a clickable map with state-level funding figures on the Energy Department’s site.

    The 50 state stimulus websites also differ. Most of Mississippi’s site, for example, is taken up by a message from Republican Gov. Haley Barbour noting he opposed the stimulus.

    Texas, by contrast, has a site featuring links to information about applying for stimulus grants and contracts.

    Elin said the Obama administration is moving relatively quickly to gather and present massive amounts of data. Nevertheless, executives at Onvia, which collects government contracting information for its clients, are skeptical that recovery.gov can meet the administration’s goals. Onvia, which is posting stimulus-related data on its recovery.org website, took much longer to develop its systems, said Eric Gillespie, Onvia’s chief information officer.

    “It’s really, really hard,” Gillespie said, “and it’s taken us 10 years to figure out.”

  114. OBAMA FORGETS ANOTHER CONSTITUENCY; “GET UNDER THE BUS”

    Good quotes found in this article include:

    “How much longer do we give him the benefit of the doubt?”

    “But some are unsettled by what they see as the president’s cautious approach. ”

    “We’ve elected probably the most pro-gay president in history; he’s very good on the issues but he is not good on gay marriage,” said Steven Elmendorf, a gay Democratic lobbyist. “From the gay community’s perspective, he and a lot of other elected officials are wrong on this. My view is that over time, they’re going to realize they’re wrong and they’re going to change.”

    nytimes.com/2009/05/07/us/politics/07obama.html?_r=1&hp

    As Gay Issues Arise, Obama Is Pressed to Engage
    ===================================

    By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
    Published: May 6, 2009

    WASHINGTON — President Obama was noticeably silent last month when the Iowa Supreme Court overturned the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

    But now Mr. Obama — who has said he opposes same-sex marriage as a Christian but describes himself as a “fierce advocate of equality” for gay men and lesbians — is under pressure to engage on a variety of gay issues that are coming to the fore amid a dizzying pace of social, political, legal and legislative change.

    Two of Mr. Obama’s potential Supreme Court nominees are openly gay; some advocates, irked that there are no gay men or lesbians in his cabinet, are mounting a campaign to influence his choice to replace Justice David H. Souter, who is retiring. Same-sex marriage is advancing in states — the latest to allow it is Maine — and a new flare-up in the District of Columbia could ultimately put the controversy in the lap of the president.

    Mr. Obama’s new global health initiative has infuriated activists who say he is not financing AIDS programs generously enough. And while the president has urged Congress to pass a hate crimes bill, a high priority for gay groups, he has delayed action on one of his key campaign promises, repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule.

    Social issues like same-sex marriage bring together deeply held principles and flashpoint politics, and many gay activists, aware that Mr. Obama is also dealing with enormous challenges at home and overseas, have counseled patience.

    But some are unsettled by what they see as the president’s cautious approach. Many are still seething over his choice of the Rev. Rick Warren, the evangelical pastor who opposes same-sex marriage, to deliver the invocation at his inaugural, and remain suspicious of Mr. Obama’s commitment to their cause.

    In the words of David Mixner, a writer, gay activists are beginning to wonder, “How much longer do we give him the benefit of the doubt?” Last weekend, Richard Socarides, who advised President Bill Clinton on gay issues, published an opinion piece in The Washington Post headlined, “Where’s our fierce advocate?”

    The White House, aware of the discontent, invited leaders of some prominent gay rights organizations to meet Monday with top officials, including Jim Messina, Mr. Obama’s deputy chief of staff, to plot legislative strategy on the hate crimes bill as well as “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Among those attending was Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, who said afterward that while the gay rights agenda might not be “unfolding exactly as we thought,” he was pleased.

    “They have a vision,” Mr. Solmonese said. “They have a plan.”

    While Mr. Obama has said he is “open to the possibility” that his views on same-sex marriage are misguided, he has offered no signal that he intends to change his position. And as he confronts that and other issues important to gay rights advocates, he faces an array of pressures and risks.

    Anything substantive he might say on same-sex marriage — after the Iowa ruling, the White House put out a statement saying the president “respects the decision” — would be endlessly parsed. If Mr. Obama were to embrace same-sex marriage, he would be seen as reversing a campaign position and alienating some moderate and religious voters he has courted.

    And if he appoints a gay person to the Supreme Court, he would be viewed by social conservatives — including many black ministers, another of his core constituency groups — as putting a vote for same-sex marriage on the highest court in the land. Two gay women, Kathleen M. Sullivan and Pamela S. Karlan, both of Stanford Law School, have been suggested as potential nominees.

    “That would be tantamount to opening the gate for the other side,” said Bishop Harry J. Jackson Jr. of the Hope Christian Church in Beltsville, Md., who is organizing protests in Washington, where the City Council passed an ordinance this week recognizing same-sex marriages in other states. “If he meant what he said about marriage then I think he has got to stand up and be a president who acts on his beliefs.”

    Some say change is inevitable, not only for Mr. Obama but also for other Democratic politicians who have embraced civil unions but rejected same-sex marriage. Now that the Iowa ruling has pushed the battle into the nation’s heartland, the issue will inevitably come up during the 2010 midterm elections and the 2012 presidential campaign.

    “We’ve elected probably the most pro-gay president in history; he’s very good on the issues but he is not good on gay marriage,” said Steven Elmendorf, a gay Democratic lobbyist. “From the gay community’s perspective, he and a lot of other elected officials are wrong on this. My view is that over time, they’re going to realize they’re wrong and they’re going to change.”

    Mr. Obama has chosen a number of openly gay people for prominent jobs, including Fred P. Hochberg as chairman of the Export-Import Bank and John Berry to run the Office of Personnel Management. And he is the first president to set aside tickets for gay families to attend the White House Easter Egg Roll.

    But on legislation, allies of Mr. Obama’s are not surprised that he is charting a careful course. In addition to calling for the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in the military, Mr. Obama supports a legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that said states need not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. Opponents of same-sex marriage say that is an inconsistency.

    Tobias Wolff, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania who was Mr. Obama’s top campaign adviser on gay rights, said the president needed time to build political consensus.

    “I think he has a genuine sense,” Mr. Wolff said, “that in order to move these issues forward you need broader buy-in than you are going to get if you poke a stick in too many people’s eyes.”

  115. Excerpts from above article:

    Obama is the president of a nation targeted by terrorists and constantly probed for weakness, even by our allies.

    His intelligence gatherers — and others who give them the tools and the go-ahead — can’t spend their time wondering if he has their backs.

    His statements surely sent spasms through bureaucracies that are vital to his own success and America’s safety. All because he wanted to campaign, rather than lead. . .

    (But) it isn’t just the intelligence gatherers who have to wonder if he has their backs, but ALL Americans. When the President of the United States goes abroad and insults the very people he was elected to serve, it does raise the question if he indeed does.

    Personally, I never suffered the illusion that he gave a damn about the American people – he seems to care about one person and person only: himself. Still, his position alone as POTUS would certainly IMPLY he has a duty to not trash us in other countries while apparently campaigning for Master of the Universe.

  116. Hillary Clinton Army founder Gretchen Baer’s ‘Journey to Hillaryland’ art exhibition

    05/07/2009
    Dan Shapiro

    I don’t usually cover political issues or art shows, but while driving around Tucson and happening upon Gretchen Baer’s vibrantly decorated automobile called The Hillcar, which she campaigned in for Clinton across the country, I became extremely interested.

    Baer continues to support Secretary of State Clinton and her vital work of dramatically improving women’s rights worldwide and has created The Hillary Clinton Army, which now has thousands of members.

    “Journey to Hillaryland” is Hillary Clinton International Art Ambassador Gretchen Baer’s collection of new paintings, which is on exhibition at Candelabra Gallery on 412 E. 7th St. just off of 4th Ave., this Saturday, May 9 from 7–11 p.m. and Sunday, May 10 from 1–6 p.m. Come celebrate the first stop on Baer’s international art and car tour.

    Below, Baer answers some questions about her art blog, the different influences on her work and the greatest influence of all, Hillary Clinton.

    AZNB: One of the things I find extremely interesting about your use of Hillary Clinton in your art is that you keep a very up-to-date Hillary Clinton blog. Tell us about blogging about the secretary of state, how you got started and why people should read it.

    Gretchen Baer: I began my “Hillary Clinton Army” blog just after I traveled to El Paso, Texas in the Hillcar for the campaign. It was my first experience on the campaign trail and I found it to be so much fun, I never wanted to leave it. I decided to create a blog in the hopes that I would be able to share these experiences in the future.

    I did, in fact, manage to travel with the campaign in the Hillcar for some months. The blogging opportunities were over the top! My blog has never been a typical political blog, it is more of an art blog. You won’t find much daily news about Secretary Clinton or political chatter there. It’s about art, humor and, of-course, Hillary. I create and post a new piece of “Hillary art” almost every day.

    Is it fair to say that Hillary Clinton doesn’t inspire every aspect of your work?

    GB: I have always been compelled to paint my enthusiasm about things that capture my interest. Both of my parents are artists who have always encouraged me to make art. I had the good fortune of going to art school (Mass Art in Boston) where I was taught that there are no limits to artistic expression. I use costume, music, spectacle, cars and color as my medium. Personal mythology, magic and dreams figure heavily in my work.

    You’re a Bisbee resident (native?) and art cars have been a large part of the art community there, yes? Tell us about designing your Hillcar. What was the inspiration for the design and how long did it take you to complete it?

    GB: I am a native of Martha’s Vineyard Island. I moved to Bisbee in the late ’80s, where I was introduced to the Art Car phenomenon by my friend Kate Pearson. I have been making art cars since the early ’90s. I’ve also made art boats and even a sailing dragon raft, which I lived on and sailed the Northeast in for two years.

    I have never had the slightest interest in politics until Hillary ran for president. When I got involved it became obvious to me that I needed to make a Hillary car. I wanted it to be simple and as straightforward as possible. I painted it in primary colors and tried to make it look like a kid’s toy. I also glued on a lot of toys to express a playfulness with humanity. I made the Hillcar in just a few days, because I was in a hurry to hit the road with it. I’ve since spent endless hours working and reworking it.

    Has the Hillcar ever been a victim of political malfeasance or taken political prisoner?

    GB: I only wish it had been taken as a political prisoner. That would have made for some great blogging material! I specifically designed the car with the intention of disarming people and making them laugh. It almost always receives a positive response. On the campaign trail, I had a strict rule with friends driving in my car to remain positive and friendly under any and all circumstances, which was a very successful approach.

    These days, driving the “International Hillcar,” (as I have updated it with an international flair) the response is entirely positive. Conservatives and Democrats alike seem happy with the work that Hillary is doing.

    Where else is your international art tour going?

    GB: My next show is in August on Martha’s Vineyard. New York City is in the works. My dream is to take the show to Europe.

    Is there anything you’d like to say to Tucson?

    GB: To me, painting is a way to celebrate life. Grabbing a can of paint and something to paint on is one of life’s biggest freedoms. My greatest aspiration is to encourage others to do the same.

    Check out Baer’s “Journey to Hillaryland” exhibition at Candelabra Gallery on 412 E. 7th St. just off of 4th Ave., this Saturday, May 9 from 7–11 p.m. and Sunday, May 10 from 1–6 p.m. It’s all ages and free.

    regulus2.azstarnet.com/blogs/confirmationhearings/14744

  117. FLUFF PIECE: OBAMA: CONSTITUTIONAL LAW “EXPERT”?

    If we are to belive that Obama, as expert political analyst Charlie Cook points out, might just be (guffaw) a president with one of the strongest backgrounds in Constitutional law, isn’t it a little odd that he’d officially be getting input from wifey-dearest?

    $$$ are my comments inserted, in response to the rest which is fluff.

    bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601070&sid=aAVsahSfbfFM&refer=politics

    Obama Court Decision Shaped by Years, Wife’s Advice
    ======================================

    May 7 (Bloomberg) — Barack Obama’s advisers began identifying potential Supreme Court nominees before he took office. He had done the same: At two December meetings, the president-elect brought his own list of prospects.

    $$$ “I think Bill Ayers is near the top of my list”.

    “It’s something he’s been thinking about long before he even thought he was going to be president,” said Abner Mikva, a retired federal judge who is an Obama confidant.

    Now on the verge of making his first appointment, Obama, 47, is relying on a circle of advisers that includes White House Counsel Gregory Craig, deputy counsel Cassandra Butts, Vice President Joe Biden, a former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee that confirms high-court nominees, and a fellow Harvard Law School graduate: his wife, Michelle.

    $$$ ….who doesn’t even have her law license any more, as I recall. Too busy planting arugula and bad-mouthing the good ole’ US of A.

    As a one-time professor of constitutional law at the University of Chicago, Obama is bringing greater personal knowledge and expertise to the decision than any recent president.

    $$$ Right, that whole “president of the Harvard Law Review”, a job he got as a deal to atone for passing up truly qualified AA candidates in the past. A job that he apparently did very little with, “phoned it in”, “worked from home a lot”, “didn’t really mix with the crowd”, “never published a single writing”, and “we can’t access his records”. Yes, a truly GIFTED CONSTITUTIONAL SCHOLAR.

    “He’s the first president in modern history who’s a serious student of constitutional law,” said political analyst Charlie Cook, editor of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report in Washington. “This is something the guy’s got a passion for. Nobody has to explain to him the significance of a Supreme Court appointment.”

    $$$ Charlie. Baby. Do your homework. Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype. He was a
    * shell of a constitutional scholar (“he’d have a great opening statement — translation: gives a good speech — but he couldn’t try the case, he get lost in the details”)
    * shell of a president of the Harvard Law Review (see above)
    * shell of a senator (“he started running for president even before he knew where the Senatorial bathrooms were”)
    * and as president…

    Obama has indicated his nominee will be expected to side with the more liberal members of the court who tend to favor abortion rights and support affirmative action.

    Earlier Involvement
    ————————

    The president is getting deeply involved far earlier than many of his predecessors in the Washington ritual of replacing one of the nine Supreme Court justices, all of whom hold lifetime appointments.

    $$$ Oh, shut up with this fawning “analysis”. All president’s are aware of how much importance there is in the lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court. Even dummyhead W.

    As a Democratic senator from Illinois, he voted against two sitting justices — Chief Justice John Roberts and Associate Justice Samuel Alito. And Republicans haven’t forgotten.

    “President Obama better hope we are better to his nominees than he was as a senator to President Bush’s nominees,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican.

    Robert Gibbs, the White House spokesman, ruled out an Obama announcement this week. He left open the possibility it could be made as early as next week.

    “They’ve been working on this forever,” said Christopher Edley, a senior Obama campaign adviser and dean of the University of California-Berkeley law school who was one of Obama’s professors at Harvard. Edley was a special counsel to President Bill Clinton, himself a former professor of constitutional law at the University of Arkansas.

    Pre-Election Planning
    —————————

    Team Obama began planning for Supreme Court openings immediately after he won the Democratic nomination in August. Those efforts gathered intensity after the November election.

    On April 30, one day before Associate Justice David Souter announced his decision to retire, senior White House aides held a planning session in anticipation of such an eventuality. Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, is overseeing the search, according to administration officials.

    Potential nominees include Diane Wood, a federal appeals court judge in Chicago who served with Obama on the University of Chicago Law School faculty, and Sonia Sotomayor, a federal appeals court judge in New York who would be the first Hispanic justice.

    Granholm, Kagan
    ———————-

    Other possibilities are Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who would add a politician with executive experience to a court now entirely composed of former appeals court judges, and Elena Kagan, who Obama appointed as the first female U.S. solicitor general, the federal government’s top Supreme Court lawyer.

    Biden will participate in the decision because he is a veteran of the battles over Supreme Court nominations in the Senate Judiciary Committee, which he chaired as a Democratic senator from Delaware.

    The vice president’s chief of staff, Ron Klain, also is a battle-tested veteran of the process, both as a White House aide and congressional staffer.

    Biden’s role will be “same as always — counselor, adviser, experienced hand,” Klain said.

    Another unpredictable dynamic in the confirmation process is the position Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will take as the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee.

    Sessions was nominated to the federal bench by then- President Ronald Reagan. His nomination was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee after Democrats said he showed racial insensitivity while prosecuting vote-fraud cases as a U.S. attorney.

    Calls to Republicans
    ————————-

    After Souter, 69, announced May 1 that he intended to resign, Obama wasted little time to begin consulting lawmakers. He has already called Sessions as well as Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah, who was the top Republican on the judiciary panel until Sessions took over the spot.

    On May 1, when Obama announced Souter’s intention to resign at the end of the court’s term, around July 1, the president said he would select a replacement who has “a sharp and independent mind and a record of excellence and integrity” as well as an appreciation of “how our laws affect the daily realities of people’s lives.”

    That didn’t surprise Mikva.

    He and Obama often discussed the professional qualifications and personal qualities that make great Supreme Court justices, Mikva, 83, said.

    Obama understands the Constitution “and what the real intent was and how that fits into the modern context,” Mikva said.

    “That’s the kind of constitutional law he taught,” he said. “And he has his own ideas of who the great justices were.”

    &&&&&
    To contact the reporter on this story: Edwin Chen in Washington at EChen32@bloomberg.net

  118. RIDGE NOT GOING UP AGAINST SPECTER, IF SPECTER MAKES IT OUT OF THE FIRST ROUND…

    realclearpolitics.com/politics_nation/2009/05/ridge_wont_run_for_senate_says.html

    May 07, 2009
    Ridge Won’t Run For Senate; Says GOP “Facing Challenges”

    First Read has a statement from the former Pennsylvania governor and Homeland Security Secretary taking him out of contention.

    Tom Ridge says he is grateful for the support and encouragement he received, but that he decided against the race. He says, however, that his career in public service is not over. “There are causes to which I remain intensely committed, including my work on behalf of the disability community, our nation’s veterans, our national security and the GOP — the party I enthusiastically joined more than four decades ago.”

    In the long explanation, Ridge speaks about the state of the GOP, saying: “To those who believe that the Republican Party is facing challenges; they are right.” But he adds: “To those who believe the Democratic Party is without its own difficulties, they are wrong. No one party has a monopoly on all of the answers.”
    [snip]

  119. “To those who believe that the Republican Party is facing challenges; they are right.” But he adds: “To those who believe the Democratic Party is without its own difficulties, they are wrong. No one party has a monopoly on all of the answers.”

    ———————————–

    Well said! I’m sorry he isn’t running. Specter is a joke.

  120. His intelligence gatherers — and others who give them the tools and the go-ahead — can’t spend their time wondering if he has their backs.

    His statements surely sent spasms through bureaucracies that are vital to his own success and America’s safety.

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

    Aw, the poor little bureaucratic torturers, working in Washington — are going to get so worried that their actions may later get them a slap on their gray flannel sleeves….

  121. WTF???????

    According to AS they’re buiding an Islamic Crescent memorial to Flight 93???????
    Is this true?????????

    ‘It keeps getting worse. Regular Atlas readers are familiar with the abomination being built on the site where those brave Americans on flight 93 fought back and averted another massive Islamic terror attack on the capital on 911. United Flight 93 was traveling from Newark, N.J., to San Francisco when it was diverted by hijackers with the goal of crashing it into the White House or Capitol. The official 9/11 Commission report said the hijackers crashed the plane as passengers tried to wrest control of the cockpit.

    To memorize to those brave Americans, the dhimmis in charge plan to erect a giant Islamic crescent. We have fought this for the past year (Atlas coverage here). Khalim Massoud, president of Muslims against Sharia–Islamic Reform Movement, issued a press release in support of Tom Burnett Sr.’s efforts to stop the Park Service from planting a giant Mecca-oriented crescent atop his son’s grave.

    As if that weren’t terrible enough, now they are stealing private land to build this monstrosity.

  122. It is a matter of no particular consequence who takes Souters place, or who takes Stevens place when he too finally decides to step down. They are both left wing jurists and they will be replaced by left wing jurists. Therefore, it will not affect the 5 to 4 conservative advantage on the court. The four solid conservatives are Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito. I include Kennedy in that number because he is centrist to right leaning on most issues. If one of those conservatives or Kennedy steps down then the appointment will matter in terms of voting behavior and the evolution of court doctrine. This may be the last bastion where conservatives will have any say over the fate of this country for the next couple years. And during that time, Obama is likely to do irreversible harm to our nation through errors of commission and ommission.

  123. wbboei,

    I’ve heard rumors that some are really pushing for Hillary to take his place. Wouldn’t that just please the dims to get rid of her that way….

  124. Swine flu vaccine should be ready next fall.

    May 7, 2009
    Winnipeg Free Press

    WINNIPEG – Local scientists expect to have a vaccine “seed” ready in the next few weeks – a sign that an H1N1 vaccine will be ready by fall. Dr. Frank Plummer, scientific director of the Winnipeg-based National Microbiology Lab, said scientists are rushing to develop the vaccine so it will be ready to roll out in time for the annual flu season. Changes in influenza viruses are difficult to predict, but Plummer said he thinks the vaccine will protect against the current strain.

    Earlier this week, a team of scientists cracked the genetic code of the H1N1 influenza virus, also known as swine flu. Plummer said the DNA sequence will help scientists understand how the virus works and how it changes in humans.

    “People here have risen to the occasion and worked incredibly well as a team trying to get to the bottom of this problem,” Plummer said at a news conference at the lab Thursday morning.

    World Health Organization officials warned Thursday that one third of the world’s population – two billion people – would be infected if the human swine flu goes pandemic.

    canada.com/Swine+vaccine+should+ready+next+fall/1573438/story.html

  125. I’ve heard rumors that some are really pushing for Hillary to take his place. Wouldn’t that just please the dims to get rid of her that way….
    —————————————————————-

    Hi Jan–they never give up, do they?

    “They” (the perpetrators of these rumors) are so delusional that they belong in Jonestown. “They” have no clue as to the importance of what she is working on now, nor her value to this administration. “They” have been inventing false rumors like about her for so long and so often that they have no concept of political reality or common sense. If we could find out who “they” are, it would be easy to reveal them for the fools and liars they most certainly are.

  126. May 7, 2009
    Winnipeg Free Press

    WINNIPEG – Local scientists expect to have a vaccine “seed” ready in the next few weeks – a sign that an H1N1 vaccine will be ready by fall.

    Dr. Frank Plummer, scientific director of the Winnipeg-based National Microbiology Lab, said scientists are rushing to develop the vaccine so it will be ready to roll out in time for the annual flu season. Changes in influenza viruses are difficult to predict, but Plummer said he thinks the vaccine will protect against the current strain.

    Earlier this week, a team of scientists cracked the genetic code of the H1N1 influenza virus, also known as swine flu. Plummer said the DNA sequence will help scientists understand how the virus works and how it changes in humans.

    “People here have risen to the occasion and worked incredibly well as a team trying to get to the bottom of this problem,” Plummer said at a news conference at the lab Thursday morning.

    World Health Organization officials warned Thursday that one third of the world’s population – two billion people – would be infected if the human swine flu goes pandemic.

    canada.com/Swine+vaccine+should+ready+next+fall/1573438/story.html

  127. Canadian lab completes sequencing of flu virus…

    OTTAWA — Canadian scientists working through the night to pick apart the genes of the human swine flu bug have, in a world first, sequenced the virus in a Winnipeg laboratory. “This is the first complete sequencing of the H1N1 flu virus and it’s vitally important to our understanding of this outbreak,” Federal Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said.

    Genetic sequencing involves decoding the basic building blocks of the virus. “This is a world first and a real validation of Canada’s scientific excellence,” Aglukkaq said.

    Samples of virus taken from Nova Scotia and Ontario and samples from Mexico appear to be a genetic match. The team found nothing to explain at the genetic level why the virus is causing severe pneumonia and deaths in Mexico, while cases in Canada and the U.S. have been mostly mild.

    “That’s one of the big questions that everybody has been asking,” said Dr. Frank Plummer, scientific director general of the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg. “It’s likely not the virus itself that is explaining the differential in severity of disease between Mexico and the rest of North America.”

    Cracking the genetic code of the virus moves scientists an important step closer to understanding how swine flu spreads and changes over time, how long it has been in the human population, and where it originated. It will also help in the development of a vaccine.

    The genetic sequences of the three viruses have been sent to GenBank, a public database where genetic sequences can be studied and compared by scientists around the world. “This is a significant and important milestone for us, but there is still a lot more work ahead of us,” Plummer said.

    ottawacitizen.com/Health/Canadian+completes+sequencing+virus/1569084/story.html

  128. I think we can safely assume that there will be no further defections from republicans to dems after seeing how senator spectre was promised he was promised that he would keep his seniority and is then stripped of it by the same man–harry reid aka mortimer snurd. Matthews suggestion that Mr. Obama has promised spectre that he will be the democratic senate candidate and there will be no primary blocks Sestak, as I originally predicted it would. This is typical of Obama, but the question is will he reverse himself as Reid has done. That will be interesting to watch, especially since Spectre had told his adoring constituents that even though he betrayed them, he would keep his seniority. Without that he becomes a lame duck.

    To Arlen Spectre with love, Goodbye Mr. Buffalo chips and–

    Breathes there a man
    With soul so dead
    That never to himelf
    Has said
    This is my native land.

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