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Excuse Me, Mr. President
Does Obama base his economic plans on liberal and conservative economists' advice because that's the best way to write a good plan?
Does he claim Iran is building nuclear weapons because nobody in that room will challenge him?
Does Obama believe that logic and information have some impact on senators? Or does he think he can get members of the public to influence senators? Or is he just afraid to put one more Democrat in the senate, eliminate the filibuster excuse, and ignore Republicans? Or is it not fear but an ideology that actually places bipartisanship above all else? Or is that a cover for a politician with an agenda that pretends to be something it isn't who actually appreciates the filibuster excuse?
A CNN reporter asked Obama when he would get out of Afghanistan and whether he would allow the media to cover the arrival of caskets with dead soldiers at Dover Airforce base, and Obama refused (at some distracting length) to answer either one.
The Washington Post's reporter chose to ask about steroid use in baseball.
Helen Thomas asked if Pakistan was harboring terrorists, and he said yes. She also asked -- perhaps in response to the nonsense about Iran -- whether the President knew of any nations in the Middle East that posessed nuclear weapons. Obama pretended he did not, naming neither Iran, which everyone knows does not possess nuclear weapons, nor Israel which everyone knows does.
Sam Stein of Huffington Post asked about Leahy's "truth and reconciliation" proposal and prosecutions of Bush officials, and Obama avoided answering either with anything he hadn't said before.
Mara Liasson of National Petroleum Radio pushed Obama for even MORE bipartisanship, and he seemed to agree.
Was there complete agreement in the room that the war on Iraq is over despite being, you know, not over? Are reporters actually forbidden to ask about it?
With investigative reporting, interactive features, and (not least) help from you, ShovelWatch.org will be tracking the stimulus bill dollars as they travel from Congress to your neighborhood. With your help, ShovelWatch.org will make sure that one of the biggest, fastest appropriations ever has a big, fast army to track whether it is well spent.
Once upon a time a man appeared in a village and announced to the villagers that he would buy monkeys for $10 each.
The villagers, seeing that there were many monkeys around, went out to the forest and started catching them.
The man bought thousands at $10 and, as supply started to diminish, the villagers stopped their effort. He next announced that he would now buy monkeys at $20 each. This renewed the efforts of the villagers and they started catching monkeys again.
Soon the supply diminished even further and people started going back to their farms. The offer increased to $25 each and the supply of monkeys became so scarce it was an effort to even find a monkey, let alone catch it!
Murdered Mexican General A Victim – But Of What?
by Richard C. Cook | February 9, 2009
The incident was horrifying. As reported in the Washington Post:
“CANCUN, Mexico -- The general didn't get much time. After a long, controversial career, Brig. Gen. Mauro Enrique Tello Quiñones retired from active duty last month and moved to this Caribbean playground to work for the Cancun mayor and fight the drug cartels that have penetrated much of Mexican society. He lasted a week. Tello, 63, along with his bodyguard and a driver, were kidnapped in downtown Cancun last Monday evening, taken to a hidden location, methodically tortured, then driven out to the jungle and shot in the head. Their bodies were found Tuesday in the cab of a pickup truck on the side of a highway leading out of town. An autopsy revealed that both the general's arms and legs had been broken.” (“Warrior in Drug Fight Soon Becomes a Victim: Mexican General Seized, Slain in Cancun” by William Booth, Washington Post, February 9, 2009)
But who is it that really murdered the general and his companions?
Of all places, it was Iceland that went bust first. It happened so rapidly -- the island's staggeringly indebted banks collapsed, as did the country's currency, in little more than a single week. If you weren't one of Iceland's many inhabitants who suddenly found themselves desperately impoverished, it seemed like a perfect metaphor for our dystopian planetary moment and, as the economic meltdown continues, it's being used just that way.
Richard Cook Describes "The Cook Plan"
There are not words for this sort of immoral arrogant gall.
By Dave Lindorff
If the disaster of the so-called "stimulus" bill just passed by the Senate doesn't convince President Obama and his advisers that the strategy of "bipartisanship" that he has been espousing is a political suicide, nothing will.
The Republican Party, with the willing help of conservative Democrats like Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE) and Democratic turncoats like Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), has forced Obama to agree to a joke of a stimulus package that is nearly half composed of tax breaks which will do nothing to bolster the economy (since most of the money will end up either paying down credit card debt or buying Chinese and Sri Lankan imports) and that is stripped of $40 billion to help struggling state and local governments.
Fresh from its rout in November, the GOP is, in fact, openly trying to sabotage Obama's economic stimulus plan, because the last thing Republicans want to see is an economy on the upturn in 2010 or 2012.
The global economic crisis could trigger political unrest equal to that seen during the 1930s, the head of the World Trade Organization (WTO) said in a German newspaper interview Saturday.
"The crisis today is spreading even faster (than the Great Depression) and affects more countries at the same time," Pascal Lamy told the Die Welt newspaper.
Questioned about the risks of political instability, Lamy -- who wraps up his four-year term as WTO director-general in September -- responded that that was "the main danger".
"This crisis weighs heavily on politics and puts peace in danger," he said.
"Some democracies are old and sufficiently stable to overcome such problems, (but) others are going to be confronted by unrest and inter-religious and inter-ethnic conflicts."
Congressman Gary Ackerman (D-NY) Scolds SEC Officials at Hearing
Some things never change. When President Obama spoke last week of “shameful” bonuses for bankers and the financial community’s “irresponsibility,” he echoed charges leveled nearly a century ago by Louis D. Brandeis.
Brandeis, a commercial lawyer, leading reformer and future Supreme Court justice, described a dangerous combination of avarice, lack of accountability and poor oversight in “Other People’s Money, and How the Bankers Use It,” one of the best-known exposés of the Progressive era.
List of Banks Receiving Funds From $700B TARP
This list includes all the banks receiving funds from the Treasury's $700B Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).
The following is a list of TARP recipients as of January 31, 2009:
Town Hall Meeting in New York Canceled Due to Death Threat Against Monetary Reform Advocate Richard C. Cook | February 7, 2009
Due to a death threat against monetary reform advocate Richard C. Cook, a Town Hall meeting scheduled to be held on February 27, 2009, as part of President Barack Obama’s “Organizing for Change” initiative, has been canceled. Cook had been asked to speak at the meeting and present his program called “Bailout for the People” that he has been advocating as a solution to the economic crisis.
The meeting had been organized by New York City activists to provide Cook a forum at a time when the Obama/Biden administration is soliciting ideas to address the deepening recession where over 1,500,000 people have lost their jobs in the last three months. Over the next several weeks, hundreds of Economic Recovery Meetings will be held around the country leading up to public hearings by Vice President Joe Biden’s economic recovery task force.
Open Letter to Dr. Joseph Stiglitz and Challenge to Debate
By Richard C. Cook
February 5, 2009
Note: Dr. Joseph Stiglitz is a professor at Columbia University, former chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors, former chief economist for the World Bank, and a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
Dear Dr. Stiglitz:
I have just finished reading your article published on Alternet.org entitled, “Is the Entire Bailout Strategy Flawed? Let’s Rethink This Before It’s Too Late.”
With all due respect, I believe you have missed the point of what is going on within the U.S. economy, which causes your proposed solutions to be similarly flawed.
By Laura Bonham
As an ardent advocate of single-payer healthcare for many years, I am more than a little frustrated by Washington insiders — beholden to healthcare corporations — telling the American people that passing single-payer healthcare reform, specifically HR. 676, the United States National Health Care Act, can't happen. The fact is they are standing in the way of it happening.
They cite specious reasons like we're an entrepreneurial nation and need a uniquely American solution, or we can't afford it, or single-payer won't work in the U.S. Well it works quite well in the form of Medicare, an incredibly popular and uniquely American program. In a nutshell, HR 676 basically improves and expands Medicare to cover everybody.
They say it can't happen because Americans don't want it. Polling indicates otherwise; a January 30, CBS poll shows significant support:
SAO PAULO -- General Motors plans to invest $1 billion in Brazil to avoid the kind of problems the U.S. automaker is facing in its home market, said the beleaguered car maker.
According to the president of GM Brazil-Mercosur, Jaime Ardila, the funding will come from the package of financial aid that the manufacturer will receive from the U.S. government and will be used to "complete the renovation of the line of products up to 2012."
"It wouldn't be logical to withdraw the investment from where we're growing, and our goal is to protect investments in emerging markets," he said in a statement published by the business daily Gazeta Mercantil.
By Dave Lindorff
Amid the news that retail sales have fallen for the fourth straight month, that housing prices continue to slump, and that another 600,000 workers were laid off in the month of January—the largest number in one month since 1974—comes word from some experts in the business community that things are not going to be getting better soon, and that when they do, they will not get back to the way things were in 2006 or early 2007, before the recession began.
In an interview I did for the trade publication Investment Management Weekly on Thursday, Putnam Investments’ global asset allocation head Jeffrey Knight said that while the stimulus could “help to prevent a Great Depression sequel,” at the same time “Those who measure prosperity against the Faustian opulence of the last 10 years may find that stability, equilibrium and even recovery will still feel like a deep depression.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich Explains Our Current Economic Situation
Courtesy of CSpanJunkie.org
TARP Shortchanged Taxpayers by $78 Billion, Watchdog Panel Says
By Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry | Bloomberg
U.S. taxpayers are being shortchanged by about $78 billion through the Treasury Department’s bank bailout, the panel overseeing the program said.
The Treasury, when it was headed by Secretary Henry Paulson, received bank assets worth about $176 billion in exchange for capital purchases of $254 billion under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, the Congressional Oversight Panel said in a report today.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) Calls for Criminal Investigation into Bailout Crisis
7:47 mins. - Senator Sanders starts at 3:00 mins.
Kucinich: We Should Be Going From Golden Parachutes To Golden Handcuffs!
In this video, Rep. Kucinich calls the bailouts what they are: frauds on the American taxpayers.
By Mimi Kennedy, PDA Advisory Board Chair
Thank you, Tom Daschle, for being part of the change we wish to see.
That took courage. I know you will serve this Administration in some capacity that better suits you, President Obama, and us, than the obstacle-ridden position of Health and Human Services Secretary.
Donna Smith, Progressive Democrats of America Healthcare NOT Warfare co-chair, tells PDA that she's shed tears seeing the turn of events of the past twenty-four hours. She remembers the compassion and generosity you showed to her in the course of her work for single-payer health care, work that has consumed her since Michael Moore featured the story of her bankruptcy by her health insurance plan in his movie SICKO. Let's hope the two of you meet again at the health-care reform table.
It is too rare that we see a public figure step up and do the right--and difficult--thing. Today you inspire us.
Let's congratulate Tom Daschle for doing the right thing; click here.
UPDATE: By "Fascist" I refer to Mussolini's definition of fascism. You can use corporatism if you prefer. I do not necessarily mean to include anything and everything that Mussolini ever did, but it would be very shortsighted not to understand the deaths directly caused by funding bankers rather than homeowners, as well as wars rather than homeowners and renters and homeless.
Now we need to get someone appointed who's open to offending the health insurance companies.
Like much of the rest of the world, Americans know that the U.S. automotive industry is in the grips of what may be a fatal decline. Unless it receives emergency financing and undergoes significant reform, it is undoubtedly headed for the graveyard in which many American industries are already buried, including those that made televisions and other consumer electronics, many types of scientific and medical equipment, machine tools, textiles, and much earth-moving equipment -- and that's to name only the most obvious candidates. They all lost their competitiveness to newly emerging economies that were able to outpace them in innovative design, price, quality, service, and fuel economy, among other things.
Competing Ideologies: Davos v. Belem
by Stephen Lendman
Founded in 1971, the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) meets annually in Davos, Switzerland to bring together top business and political leaders as well as mostly neoliberal minded intellectuals, economists, journalists, and others.
WEF calls itself "an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas." It aims for "world-class governance (read dominance)." Its motto is "entrepreneurship in the global public interest (read for the top 1%)." This year's theme - "Shaping the Post-Crisis World" - a tall order addressing what they caused that's heading the world for a calamitous depression.
Obama's "New" Economic Strategy