Either party, the house wins… 31 August 2007Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Big Box Blogs, California / Pacific Coast, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Political Blogs, San Francisco, WAR!.
And some of the progressive bloggers actually seem to still believe that the Democrats will end the occupation of Iraq.
Stupid, and not paying attention. As I explained in detail before:
And the progressive bloggers, just like the Democrats they service so slavishly, primarily think about the elections of 2008. Try, please try, to get a fucking clue. After we attack Iran — and read the earlier piece and the numerous other essays linked there — the world will be changed in countless ways, major and minor. I think the elections will go forward, and the major functions of our now loathsome government will continue as “normal” — except that none of it will mean anything. And since we may be concluding the first six or eight months of a genuine and spreading world war, it’s more than likely than the Republicans will keep the White House, and perhaps even take back one or both houses of Congress.
The Democrats try to convince us that their dicks are just as big as the Republicans’ (an especially neat trick for Hillary, but then she is so special), but given how this game is played at present, the Democrats’ problem is that they always come too late, and not enough. The Republicans will always win this game, and they may well win it again after some nukes go off around the globe and people are dying in the millions.
Fugitive fundraiser and the crumbling Ponzi schemes... (thanks to Revisionist for mentioning the LAT piece):
In 1992, Hsu agreed to serve three years, although that term could be modified if he makes full restitution, estimated at $1 million.
Only a week ago Hsu was in San Francisco raising money for Democratic politicians. But all that ended this week when the Wall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times raised questions about his fundraising activities and his past.
Hsu appeared at the San Mateo County courthouse before 8 a.m., more than 45 minutes early. Having suddenly found himself front-page news, he has retained attorney James Brosnahan of the blue-chip San Francisco law firm Morrison & Foerster and the Los Angeles-based public relations firm headed by Michael Sitrick.
As Hsu waited in the hallway for the hearing to begin, he huddled with an attorney and spokesman Jason Booth. They declined to comment. Hsu spoke on his cellphone and chewed his fingernails.
Prosecutors have described Hsu’s case as a classic Ponzi scheme in which he sought investors to purchase and resell latex gloves. Hsu never purchased the gloves and had no contract to sell them, authorities say.
Almost sweet in its simplicity. Until, of course, it is not sweet:
In 1990, Hsu was kidnapped by Chinese gang members in San Francisco and rescued when police in suburban Foster City stopped their car for running a red light.
Police speculated that the abductors intended to extort money from Hsu, but a lawyer’s filing in Hsu’s personal bankruptcy said Hsu had been kidnapped “allegedly by individuals who are creditors of the debtor.”
Starting in 2003, Hsu became a major donor to Democratic politicians, giving $255,000 directly to Democrats running for federal office and hundreds of thousands more to state and local politicians, from California to New York.
Ah well. They have others.
The ever erudite and succinct IOZ. No exerpt, small and pointed, has to be read there… ;)
I don’t mean to pile on (tho as the patient goes critical who gives a fuck), but I did criticise Digby early on, linking to a post of hers during the Kerry “I can phone in a filibuster from Davos” mess during Alito… Digby said it was dangerous for us mere citizens and voters to presume to think we know more than the electeds. And she did not mean President Hoover nor Coolidge… She meant rank and file should not presume to know more than elected Dem leadership:
Others see it differently…
I hope some of the comments I’m reading around the blogosphere aren’t reflections of of a knee jerk cynicism on the part of Democrats who have fallen in love with their assessment that they are superior to their elected leaders.
This is a very dangerous state of mind.
There is another elegant and lovely Foodie Friday at IOZ, as well. Calamari. And then some…
Meanwhile, prepare your squids. Remove the little beak from the head. Cut off the tentacles and reserve. Grasp the head firmly at the eyes and give it a quick tug. Most of the internal organs will come out. Use your finger to pull out the rest. Rinse out the inside to get rid of the ink. Pull out the pin bone–a piece of translucent cartilege that runs down the back. Peel off the skin. You’ll be left with a little pocket of pure white squid meat that looks, lord strike me dead if I’m lyin’, like a little flaccid uncircumcised dick. Cut it into rings
Thanks to wozzle, previous thread, who linked to this at TPM:
Late Update: Reid’s spokesman responds to our query about his remarks, leaving little doubt that he’s open to the possibility of funding the war this fall without withdrawal timelines. –gs
My old line, all the great battles came, the ones foreseen since Reagan. And there was no battle, no opposition. None.
UPDATE, 1:29 pm
Revisionist has a diary at PFF, on Hillary and her “Cash Cow Carnival”, with updates thru Hsu, Paw family donations and tidbits on who is defending Hsu… other than his PR guy and his atty (both with him this am).
Check it out…
Heat wave……… 30 August 2007Posted by marisacat in Divertissements.
the heat has come in surges since yesterday early evening. We are collectively pooped from it. And I am not trapped in, as Eliot said, a perfectly fitting fur coat (or hey, close to those words)…
Asia Times [Updated] 30 August 2007Posted by marisacat in 2008 Election, Beirut, Culture of Death, DC Politics, France, Iran, Israel/AIPAC, Paris, WAR!.
Miss Devore | |
a military strike against Iran would truly be the end of this country. and the people who would make that decision know that they will be shielded from the consequences.
and really, the only way to cover-up the disaster of the Iraq war is to have a world war that makes Iraq a footnote.
Aug 30, 6:34 AM
As the four pieces I want to pop up with this morning are from Asia Times, seems a fair title.
Armed and ready for Iran
By William Hawkins
On July 29, just a few days before the US Congress went on its August recess, Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Nicholas Burns held a press briefing in Washington outlining how the George W Bush administration plans to arm Sunni states in the Middle East to contain Iranian expansion.
Taken in conjunction with the escalating charges from the White House that Iran is aiding the insurgency in Iraq, and the threat to brand the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organization (a step up from listing Tehran as a state sponsor of terrorism), this new round of arms sales indicates a regional strategy that is looking beyond the fighting in Iraq to consider the entire region to be an interlinked theater of war.
The arms deal with Israel was signed in Jerusalem on August 16. At the signing, Burns put the aid to Israel in the context of the Iran-Syria axis and its support for Hezbollah and Hamas, all enemies of the Jewish state. But he then went on to say, “We have said to the congressional leadership that we intend to seek their support for increased military assistance to our friends in the Gulf: to Saudi Arabia and to Kuwait and to Bahrain and to Qatar, [to] the United Arab Emirates and to Oman. All of this together represents a signal from the United States that our country is strong in this region, that we intend to be a good friend to our allies and our partners in this region.”
This was an explicit setting of Israel and the Sunni Arabs together in a US-backed security alignment.
Pepe Escobar has a piece up:
The hyperactive “Sarkozy the First” – as he is widely referred to in France – has just pronounced his first major foreign-policy speech, to an annual conference of 200-odd French ambassadors from posts around the world. He took no time to engage himself in the current White House and neo-conservative-promoted Iran-demonization campaign.
Neo-cons and their ilk in France, plus mostly sycophant media, obviously loved it, with instant geopoliticians raving about the “prudent” and “firm” stand behind Sarkozy’s rhetoric.
He said an Iranian nuclear bomb would be “unacceptable” – as if the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was on the verge of discovering one or two hidden under a pile of exquisite Hamadan carpets.
Sarkozy is in favor of even more sanctions against Iran, but is willing to talk in the event the Islamic Republic suspends its nuclear-enrichment program, which Iran has a right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to pursue. So Iran must renounce an inalienable right for the West to be willing to discuss substance.
Sarkozy has already coined the sound bite framing the “catastrophic” alternative: “The Iranian bomb, or the bombing of Iran.”
Sarkozy now officially joins the US thunder and lightning unleashed by the White House, the Pentagon, Republicans, Democrats and corporate media, which all take for granted the “all options are on the table” scenario as far as Iran is concerned.
That last is a nice, coherent, all-hands-are-on-deck-and-ready-to-go assessment.
It was Pepe Escobar who posted summer 2001 that someone must come deal with bin Laden, take the measure of what was coming into line, as something big was coming and soon it would be too late. For several years post 9/11, ATimes kept links to his posts from that summer, on the front page.
For a long time after 9/11, I kept the August issue of NYRoB on the kitchen table. Elizabeth Drew had a very good article on the objective of the Bush tax cuts, to kill what he could, bleed support for needed services (not exactly a new scheme). I would look at the article dated August 9, and think the unavoidable: he was fully in charge now. No escape.
Another report expands on both Sarko and the work the IAEA is doing with Iran.
The irony is that the subtle and not so subtle threats of military action against Iran may have the unintended consequence of reinforcing the very opposite of what Sarkozy and other Western leaders seek when they raise the specter of “bombing Iran”, ie, strengthening the hands of those in Iran who point at the “irrational” Westerners who can be held at bay only through deterrent bombs.
“If they take an irrational move, then Iran’s cooperation with the agency [IAEA] will be sterile,” Iran’s nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, has stated. Both Larijani and Ahmadinejad have said that Iran’s nuclear file should be “normalized”, since the lingering questions about Tehran’s nuclear activities are being “cleared up” and the IAEA has full-scope monitoring of Iran’s nuclear facilities.
Various IAEA officials, as well as a number of European diplomats, have told this author that the IAEA would be able to detect any military diversion, or for that matter any uranium enrichment above a low grade, as long as the Iran-IAEA safeguard agreement remains intact.
Yet Sarkozy acts according to his own articles of belief about Iran, irrespective of the empirical counter-facts mentioned above, his ears glued to the Iran nuclear-myth makers who have their own agenda, regardless of the facts. (See Debunking Iran’s nuclear myth makers, Asia Times Online, January 25.)
The article links to further reports:
1. Full text of Iran-IAEA understanding note of modalities, Iran Students News Agency, August 28, 2007.
2. See Afrasiabi and Mojtahedzadeh, Iran’s nuclear program: A crisis of choice, not necessity, International Herald Tribune, August 12, 2005.
A couple more pieces to add… but, for now, will leave with this lovely pic:
She is “our girl”… and they are running such lethal scams.
UPDATE, 9:51 am
The email rolled in from spiegel.de, covering an exhibition in NYC of some of the damage.
THE IRAQ WOUNDED
Images from the Dark Side of War
By Marc Pitzke in New York
A moving photo exhibition in New York shows what the media doesn’t — shocking photos of seriously wounded Iraq veterans. The images and the soldiers’ quotes which accompany them say more about the war than you might want to know. [snip]
Nina Berman / Redux / laif / Jen Bekman Gallery
TY ZIEGEL AND RENEE KLINE
Seargant Ty Ziegel, 24, was wounded in December 2004 at al- Qaim, a checkpoint on the Iraq- Syria border. The truck he was riding in burst into flames after a suicide bomber blew himself up right next to it.
The heat melted the skin away from his head. He lost an eye, an arm, and three fingers on the other hand. For months he was in a coma, and after more than 50 operations, he received a plastic cap for his skull and his face was surgically reconstructed with holes for his missing ears and nose.
The photograph shows him on his wedding day with his bride Renée Kline, 21, who helped nurse him back to health. “I don’t remember saying it to Renée, but I’d have understood if she’d said, ‘Yeah, I’m out of here,’” Ty told the London Times.
Nina Berman / Redux / laif / Jen Bekman Gallery
Specialist Luis Calderon, 22, from the 4th Infantry Division, was wounded in May 2003 in Tikrit. He was in the process of tearing down a cement wall bearing a painted image of Saddam Hussein when a second wall above him collapsed. His neck was broken and he has been paralyzed from the neck down since then.
His entire family moved from Puerto Rico to Florida in order to care for him. He has not been awarded a Purple Heart — given to soldiers who are killed or wounded while fighting — because he was not injured in battle.
“From my neckline down, I cannot feel anything,” he says. “I didn’t get a Purple Heart. I feel like I deserve one. It would make me more confident that I really did something.”
Dog days of August… 29 August 2007Posted by marisacat in The Battle for New Orleans.
… hard to look back.
Seven. Government will help businesses first and second and third, and if there is anything left, maybe fourth.
Who is in charge of government before the disaster? Governments will look to privatize the public sector –housing, health, education, transportation, every system after a disaster. That was what they wanted before the disaster, so the disaster offers them an opportunity to move their plans into action.
Corporations see disasters as opportunities. They look for valuable land that poor people were living on before the disaster. They decide that there is a better economic use for that land. Then they will push the government to come up with some excuse to take the land for other uses.
You will quickly see that those with power and money before the disaster end up with more power and more money after the disaster. You will see that 98% of the money distributed in a disaster ends up enriching corporations. Our most colorful example is the blue tarps that the government put on the roofs of houses after Katrina. The main contractor, Shaw Group, got $175 a square to put on the tarps. The subcontracted the work out to another corporation for $75 a square. The second corporation subcontracted the work out to a third corporation for $30 a square. Who in turn subcontracted it out again to guys who did the work for $2 a square. Two dollars a square for the actual worker is less than 2 percent of what the government paid out –guess who got the money.
Wonder why the Gulf Coast is not fixed up yet? This is not an accident. It is not that the system isn’t working. It is working for the benefit of those who create and fund and manipulate it. Read Naomi Klein’s THE SHOCK DOCTRINE: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. It spells it out in detail.
If government works primarily for corporations before the disaster, after the disaster it will be a hyper corporate-friendly environment.
Well. A big fat bingo on that one!
Nine. A justice-based reconstruction will not be funded.
Money will flow. Charities, churches and governments will send money for charitable help. If your community is trying to create a more just community than the one destroyed by the disaster, there will not be funding for that. If you are trying to make the community fairer for and with the poor, the elderly, and those who lived in unjust circumstances before the disaster –get ready to raise your own funds for your organization.
Funding for charity will come, but funding for justice will not.
We must insist on some transparency and accountability from the non-profits and foundations and others who have raised and spent billions in the names of those in distress. They cannot be allowed to operate like multi-national corporations –they must open their books and involve people in their decision-making.
Solidarity not charity is one of the great demands to come out of Katrina from the Common Ground collective.
Another is “Nothing about us without us is for us” from Peoples Hurricane Relief.
After Katrina, it again became clear that decades of oil development has literally destroyed the natural protections around the gulf coast.
Yet the disaster actually enriched the oil companies who helped cause it, creating their biggest year of profit in some time.
Yet, do you hear the voices of those calling out for the oil corporations to be held accountable for what they have caused? Those voices are small and unfunded. But they, like so many others calling for justice, are out there and will one day be heard.
What next…what more… 28 August 2007Posted by marisacat in Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, U.S. House.
Madman caught the Conyers appearances today with Amy:
[S]o, if you believe in, yearn for, a country that pursues justice, not control; if you believe we should reach out with diplomats, not bullets; if you fervently wish that your nation was a force for human rights, and not a serial destroyer of the same; if you want this war to end and habeas corpus restored and for there to be real political debate …
… if you really believe and want those things and more, then you cannot vote for this worthless Donklephant party any longer. You MUST withhold your vote from any national office holder who doesn’t fight for justice, accountability and human rights.
The hoi polloi can effect change by buying it (like through increasingly worthless national “advocacy” organizations), by violence or by weight of numbers, either through protest or the vote. However, you can make a statement not just by voting FOR someone, but also by withholding your vote. A strike, if you will.
Conyers and the rest promise, and then threaten. They hold out hope, then dash it as soon as you’ve rubber-stamped them again. They are running a protection racket on you.
DO NOT GIVE THEM YOUR VOTE
Remember that justice came to women and minorities thanks to those who COULDN’T vote … they FORCED change, and they did it by demonstrating and raised voices and blood. Why would you sully those sacrifices by kow-towing to people who betray everything you believe? Why would you sully that ballot by voting for more blood, more injustice, more lies? Why do you reward criminals and their accomplices? [snip]
[graphic is from Madman's LSF post... a big "snip", but less than a third of his post]
Consortium News had a guest piece today by Sam Provenzano, one of the Abu Ghraib whistle blowers:
No One Accountable
In keeping with the Rumsfeld adage “Stuff Happens,” and the Senate Armed Services Committee timidity, no senior U.S. Army officer or defense official is likely to be held accountable for the torture, “ghost” prisoners, and other abuses at Abu Ghraib.
Only the bad apples at the bottom; none of the ones at the top.
Not the Commander in Chief, who authorized torture by Memorandum of Feb. 7, 2002, announcing and implementing a new policy that detainees be treated “humanely, as appropriate, and as consistent with military necessity.”
Not then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, nor his deputy Paul Wolfowitz, nor U.S. pro-consul Paul Bremer, nor troop commander Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, nor Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller (in charge of Gitmo-izing Abu Ghraib), nor Sanchez’s intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Barbara Fast, nor National Security Council functionary Frances Townsend.
All of the above visited Abu Ghraib during the torture year of 2003 before the photos surfaced the next year.
Had it never occurred to them that their incessant pressure on Army interrogators to find non-existent WMD in Iraq and nonexistent ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda, together with the expanded list of torture techniques duly approved by hired-gun lawyers in the Pentagon, the Office of the Vice President, and the Department of Justice, would lead to the abuses of Abu Ghraib?
I will add other things thru the evening/night
I thought I could not go on reading… 28 August 2007Posted by marisacat in Abortion Rights, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Iraq War, Political Blogs, Sex / Reproductive Health, WAR!.
.. then there was this:
In the future, I want my children to grow up with the belief that what I did here was wrong, in a society that doesn’t deem that idea unpatriotic.
Here is one entry (I inserted breaks):
Two Companies Clearing Baqubah – Which brings us to the next nominee. Since Baghdad was the showcase of the war and Baqubah was brimming with super IEDs taking our Bradleys and Abrams tanks, it was decided that a unit needed to be sent there to assist the cavalry unit who averaged a death per week.
But how many to send?
Someone, somehow, somewhere decided that two companies of Strykers would be adequate to take down what Al Qaeda had deemed their headquarters in Iraq. What came about this oversight?
Two hours into the first mission, my friend was killed in a massive IED blast that busted the hell out of the squad leader’s face, resulting in traumatic brain injury and facial reconstruction surgery. The vehicle commander tore his ACL from the concussion. Shrapnel being thrown around the inside of the truck caught one dude in the knee as a dude in the back hatch got rattled around, bruising his back as the other in the hatch was thrown completely out the vehicle. He’s been quiet since then, and was sent home soon after. Returning fire from us and the Bradleys killed an untold number of kids unlucky enough to be in the school next to our position.
A wrecker sent out to pick up the destroyed Stryker was the next victim of an IED explosion, killing two men inside. Two more wreckers were sent out, one for the Stryker, one for the now totaled wrecker. As we pulled out that evening, local Iraqis, men, women and children, danced in celebration by the massive crater where the Stryker had been.
At once we realized reinforcements were needed but we didn’t get any for two more months. Many more men were killed because we were stretched to our operational breaking point. But there was always more to do. Whoever made the decision to send less than an infantry battalion should be in jail right now.
I have run out of things to say. What does one say? Stop? It is war made by our government but.. we don’t mean it? We don’t agree?
We are Germans? Nazis? Slavers?
So empty. In the face of their suffering.
But, there are two comments from The Washington Note:
The Great Iraq Swindle.
Article after article after article. Mountains of evidence of fraud; looting the Treasury, murder. Not one damn thing done about any of it. Rolling Stone! Not the national news. It’s hard to even be shocked any more. I’m just physically sick when I read this stuff. The other day a woman lost her second son in Iraq…..two sons dead.
I guess I’ll have to stop reading it. It’s making me sick.
Who’d have dreamed we would witness what we are witnessing? And, all around us no one does anything. Those who could….are, themselves, on the take. Or, are looking out for #1.
Patriotism dead. Anarchy.
It’s all over, folks. We’ve finally sunk to the depths.
I have to wonder what all those thousands of soldiers (and even more mercenaries and “consultants”) are going to do in the years ahead, especially if we finally hit the wall as a country, running out of oil, the stock market plunging, and shortages of food and other supplies occurring as China and Russia yank on our dog collar.
GWB is going to have the largest security detail of any ex-president, and I suspect all those disillusioned, cynical, shell-shocked ex-troops may be part of this.
21st century, sanctioned by the United States Army.
A snip from a third comment:
[G]ive me one good reason this entire government including congress who no longer cares about where the money went shouldn’t be burned to the f****** ground and the soil poisoned so it can never sprout again.
moiv has a post up at Talk 2 Action:
Not so in Iraq, ground zero of the War on Terror, where years of war ostensibly waged against the only kind of terror that the Christian right is willing to name is killing both women and their children in record numbers. Tony Perkins bewails the declining birth rate in Europe, but what he calls Europe’s “demographic winter” has settled in upon the women of Iraq with the chill of the grave.
Even four years ago, the UN Family Planning Agency was reporting a dire state of affairs, with the number of Iraqi women dying of pregnancy and childbirth already having tripled since 1990. In 2003, a UNFPA survey reported that 50-70 per cent of all pregnant women in Iraq suffered from anemia, as well as malaria and other illnesses. Barely a few months after the invasion, only 60 per cent of women were receiving any form of prenatal care. And due to a breakdown in the delivery of condoms and other birth control supplies – which Tony Perkins calls “exporting death” – contraceptives were already becoming scarce, a scarcity even then leading to an increase in unsafe abortions.
Now, and altogether predictably, women and children who were already living on the brink have descended into the depths of hell.
According to a new report from Save the Children,
“Iraq’s child mortality rate has increased by a staggering 150 percent since 1990. Some 122,000 Iraqi children died in 2005 before reaching their fifth birthday. More than half of these deaths were among newborn babies in the first month of life.”
Washing to shore… 27 August 2007Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2008 Election, DC Politics, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.
Exploding whale - Tainan Taiwan – 2004
Stand back. They are using “electability” again. Democrats will be hearing that one for decades. It failed miserably in ’04, so keep rolling it out. Poor Democrats, always on cruise control..
New York Magazine on Obama:
The effect on the Clinton-Obama dynamic has been appreciable. According to a recent CBS News poll, fully 82 percent of Democrats now say she has “the right kind of experience to be a good president”—compared to just 41 percent who say the same about him.
And while Democrats on average still find Obama more likable than they do Clinton, she leads him by sixteen points on the question of electability.
“Look, I find it hard to get behind her. She’s the worst of both worlds: too conventional and too divisive at the same time,” says a former Clinton White House official uncommitted to any candidate. “But Obama has been a disappointment. Playing the same card over and over, that he was against the war from the beginning, just is not enough. And it’s not just on foreign policy. Across the board, his campaign has been way too cautious, way too safe. I find myself wanting to support him, but there’s not enough there.”
the last pic of the tryptich, on the right, always looks like a pol on the hustings to me…
And, while washing to shore, use what you have…
And they treated an interviewer the way politicians surely wish they could at times, refusing at first to remove their iPod earphones for a discussion of life on the trail.
“I don’t want to do this,” Jack protested to his father, John Edwards, the Democratic presidential candidate and former North Carolina senator.
“I don’t care whether you want to do this,” Mr. Edwards replied.
A moment later, Jack hid his face in his hands.
“Mr. Jack, do we need to go in the back and have a conversation?” asked Mr. Edwards, lifting his son’s head.
The boy sat for a few more minutes, fidgety but obedient, before being freed and happily bounding with his sister to the fort they were building in the back of the bus.
No criticism from me, not the first, not the last to shove the family into a perambulator and tour the country.
Hell, wandering thru photo galleries in the local Ohio print media during the vaunted Hackett run - Jesus was at Fallujah too, on the side of the angels, you know - I landed on some bizarre, surreal photos of the militarist, the Jr League (black linen, really big sunglasses) wif and the small kids, out on the Cincinnatti suburb hustings.
Folding tables set up with war paraphernalia. His helmuts, camo gear, flak jacket, firing clips – I am not kidding… It oozed, between bake sale and legal murder display. Blood cupcakes anyone?
Oh yes I am so supposed to vote for that. Not in this lifetime.
Here is a bit of a glance back, from TAPPED:
Here’s one: At the Democratic forum today, Edwards spent some time — as he often does — lamenting the fact of medical bankruptcies. This is no surprise: Elizabeth Warren, who’s done the seminal work in this area, informally advises him.
But when the Bankruptcy Bill — which Edwards voted for — came up in 2001, then-Senator Paul Wellstone offered an amendment to “create an exemption for certain debtors that can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court that the reason for the filing was a result of debts incurred through medical expenses.” In other words, to prevent medical bankruptcies. The amendment failed, 65-34. Edwards was one of the 65 voting against it (as was Biden — Clinton and Dodd both voted for, and Obama wasn’t yet in the Senate). In doing, he broke with just about every liberal in the Senate. At times, votes like this can be out-of-context, as Senators kill good liberal amendments to get an important progressive bill to the floor. But the Bankruptcy Bill was hardly that. It’s a hard vote to explain. But I’d still like to hear what the Edwards camp has to say.
Clean-up in the hot sun had to be scrumptious…
I landed on this little tidbit – at a conservative site:
Transportation officials have closed Interstate 40 in both directions in West Memphis near the Mississippi River. Officials say an inspector discovered that a bridge pier on the approach bridge west of the river had settled overnight. The bridge on the Arkansas side is being retrofitted to make keep it stable during an earthquake. Officials say the closure is precautionary. Tennessee Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Paul Degges says the bridge is being inspected to make sure it has “not been compromised by the settlement in any way.” Degges says all lanes are blocked so inspectors can take a thorough look at the span. Motorists are being diverted to the Interstate 55 bridge over the Mississippi until further notice. Tennessee is doing the bridge work, even though it is on the Arkansas side. (WREG)
But not to worry about the I-35 in Minneapolis. The Republicans plan their convention there next year. New Orleans will languish, but the bridge over the Mississippi up north, at Minneapolis will be fixed.
Couple of comments from the previous thread, from D Throat…
D. Throat | |
Finally someone is “whispering” about Clinton’s Banking Reform failure… “the revocation that dare not speak it’s name”:
Fed bends rules to help two big banks
If the Federal Reserve is waiving a fundamental principle in banking regulation, the credit crunch must still be sapping the strength of America’s biggest banks. Fortune’s Peter Eavis documents an unusual Fed move.
By Peter Eavis, Fortune writer
August 24 2007: 5:09 PM EDT
NEW YORK (Fortune) — In a clear sign that the credit crunch is still affecting the nation’s largest financial institutions, the Federal Reserve agreed this week to bend key banking regulations to help out Citigroup (Charts, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (Charts, Fortune 500), according to documents posted Friday on the Fed’s web site. (aka Friends of Bill Clinton)
The Aug. 20 letters from the Fed to Citigroup and Bank of America state that the Fed, which regulates large parts of the U.S. financial system, has agreed to exempt both banks from rules that effectively limit the amount of lending that their federally-insured banks can do with their brokerage affiliates. (Just smell what that Rock is cooking… gee kinda smells like 1929) The exemption, which is temporary, means, for example, that Citigroup’s Citibank entity can substantially increase funding to Citigroup Global Markets, its brokerage subsidiary. Citigroup and Bank of America requested the exemptions, according to the letters, to provide liquidity to those holding mortgage loans, mortgage-backed securities, and other securities.
This unusual move by the Fed shows that the largest Wall Street firms are continuing to have problems funding operations during the current market difficulties, according to banking industry skeptics. The Fed’s move appears to support the view that even the biggest brokerages have been caught off guard by the credit crunch and don’t have financing to deal with the resulting dislocation in the markets. The opposing, less negative view is that the Fed has taken this step merely to increase the speed with which the funds recently borrowed at the Fed’s discount window can flow through to the bond markets, where the mortgage mess has caused a drying up of liquidity.
On Wednesday, Citibank and Bank of America said that they and two other banks accessed $500 million in 30-day financing at the discount window. A Citigroup spokesperson declined to comment. Bank of America dismissed the notion that Banc of America Securities is not well positioned to fund operations without help from the federally insured bank. “This is just a technicality to allow us to use our regular channels of business with funds from the Fed’s discount window,” says Bob Stickler, spokesperson for Bank of America. “We have no current plans to use the discount window beyond the $500 million announced earlier this week.”
There is a good chance that other large banks, like J.P. Morgan (Charts, Fortune 500), have been granted similar exemptions. The Federal Reserve and J.P. Morgan didn’t immediately comment.
(WSWK: Wall Street Welfare Kings… It is sickening to see that the only reason Reagan and Clinton have gotten this far is because the tapped Americans hatred towards poor Black people… Reforming Welfare as we know it…. yeah by give 100 times as much welfare to the rich)
The regulations in question effectively limit a bank’s funding exposure to an affiliate to 10% of the bank’s capital. But the Fed has allowed Citibank and Bank of America to blow through that level. Citigroup and Bank of America are able to lend up to $25 billion apiece under this exemption, according to the Fed. If Citibank used the full amount, “that represents about 30% of Citibank’s total regulatory capital, which is no small exemption,” says Charlie Peabody, banks analyst at Portales Partners.
The Fed says that it made the exemption in the public interest, because it allows Citibank to get liquidity to the brokerage in “the most rapid and cost-effective manner possible.”
SO, HOW SERIOUS IS THIS RULE-BENDING? VERY. ONE OF THE CENTRAL TENETS OF BANKING REGULATION IS THAT BANKS WITH FEDERALLY INSURED DEPOSITS SHOULD NEVER BE OVER-EXPOSED TO BROKERAGE SUBSIDIARIES; INDEED, FOR DECADES FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS WERE LEGALLY REQUIRED TO KEEP THE TWO UNITS COMPLETELY SEPARATE. THIS MOVE BY THE FED EATS AWAY AT THE PRINCIPLE.
Aug 27, 11:02 AM —
And Part Two:
D. Throat | |
Seems like Word press is now limiting text… here is the second part of the above:
(Gee… I think he is talking about Clinton revoking the Glass Steagall Act… yunno the one that made it impossible to “accidentally have another Depression because companies like…. well like the very ones mentioned in this article Citicorp and JP Morgan (a do over) to mix brokerages and banking… which may lead to over extension…. yeah… like what the Fed just did giving them 500 million A PIECE with no assets to back it up….. The economy goes boom… no wonder Sarkozy is distancing himself… and instead of stockbroker jumping out of window… the inner cabinet is resigning… probably heading out to the “homestead” in South America…)
Sure, the temporary nature of the move makes it look slightly less serious, but the Fed didn’t give a date in the letter for when this exemption will end. In addition, the sheer size of the potential lending capacity at Citigroup and Bank of America – $25 billion each – is a cause for unease.
Indeed, this move to exempt Citigroup casts a whole new light on the discount window borrowing that was revealed earlier this week. At the time, the gloss put on the discount window advances was that they were orderly and almost symbolic in nature. But if that were the case, why the need to use these exemptions to rush the funds to the brokerages?
Expect the discount window borrowings to become a key part of the Fed’s recovery strategy for the financial system. The Fed’s exemption will almost certainly force its regulatory arm to sharpen its oversight of banks’ balance sheets, which means banks will almost certainly have to mark down asset values to appropriate levels a lot faster now. That’s because there is no way that the Fed is going to allow easier funding to lead to a further propping up of asset prices.
Don’t forget: The Federal Reserve is in crisis management at the moment. However, it doesn’t want to show any signs of panic. That means no rushed cuts in interest rates. It also means that it wants banks to quickly take the big charges that will inevitably come from holding toxic debt securities. And it will do all it can behind the scenes to work with the banks to help them get through this upheaval. But waiving one of the most important banking regulations can only add nervousness to the market. And that’s what the Fed did Monday in these disturbing letters to the nation’s two largest banks. Top of page
Find this article at: money.cnn.com…
Aug 27, 11:03 AM —
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Apologies about Word PRess. It is a mess. The Spam Filter is still blocked (nothing in it for three hours, I get over 800 spam a day)… and sometimes comments take minutes to appear. Pages are slow, the comment form is slow. ”Back pages” seem to be on a dying mule.
They need Liquid Plummer. Badly.
One more from the previous thread:
D. Throat |
Marie EXCELLENT diary
Marie there is a very interesting comment in your diary:
I was at the Fed in 1987 (0+ / 0-)
and I remember the events of October very clearly. Most of my colleagues had been working much longer than I had and they were all worried about the values of their mutual funds and pension schemes. I had nothing but student loans to pay, so nothing to lose.
Anyone who thinks that the Federal Reserve is above being interested in the price of markets so long as there is adequate transparency and price discovery is stupid. Everyone who has savings in bonds and stocks will be watching the charts as a market crashes – including the lawyers and economists at the Fed.
I was part of the team that dissassembled Glass-Steagall, and part of the team that dissassembled the McFadden Act (the other depression era law that banned interstate banking to “keep Wall Street bankers from spreading speculation to Main Street”. In retrospect I think we probably got it wrong to let the banks have their way because there is no doubt that they have leveraged the economy into a very dangerous state. Any little problem in the credit markets could now tip a large proportion of the economy into a spiral of decline. And Bush only knows how to create problems . . .
“It ain’t what people don’t know that hurts `em – it’s what they do know that ain’t true.” – Will Rogers
by LondonYank on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:16:49 PM PDT
Please do tell more!!!
Aug 27, 2:37 PM
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hmmm 26 August 2007Posted by marisacat in Divertissements, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.
What should an American do in the face of a Chinese [calligraphy] pawn ticket (even one from the 50s, as is this one)?
My first thought is, bow down. In reverence for our meal ticket.
Confessional: I have used this pic before, mainly as I like it a lot.
A few tid bits from earlier comments (Jan 21)
marisacat – 21 January 2007
the site I found it at (an old Brit who was in China and HK at that period) says for a pcket watch…
In 1968 Harry drove from Kuwait to London – in a dear little Fiat… The link is to a photo and a couple of grafs about Basra. Iraq was the secular breath of air between islamic law Kuwait and Iran. That is not a comment in support of Saddam nor the Ba’ath party. however American both may have been…
And a bit of translation from wu ming:
the calligraphy is hard to read, but the vertical column down the middle appears to say 15 dollars and 80 cents. the cool thing about it is all the different layers of writing: a printed blue form, with black brush writing for the price and other information, and red ink chops (carvbed seals, serve the f(x) of signatures) and red rubber stamp for the date.
Anyway, a bit of fripperie on a Sunday… enjoy ;)
Right… it’s an opinion 25 August 2007Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.
.. holding up a thread.
So… what is new in military equipment? 25 August 2007Posted by marisacat in WAR!.
Boy this looks lousy and lethal to me:
A painted Hungarian military helicopter flies over the town of Szolnok. The Nato code for this Russian-made aircraft is ‘Hind” – hence the painting. [AP from the BBC]
Just a Saturday thread… ;)