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Oh I don’t know… 9 March 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, AFRICOM, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, U.S. Senate, UK, WAR!.
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reidclawback

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Oh I don’t know.. it just looked like an appropriate pic… 🙄

Riding at the top of the online NYT

[A]merican investors are ditching foreign ventures and bringing their dollars home, entrusting them to the supposed bedrock safety of United States government bonds. And China continues to buy staggering quantities of American debt.

These actions are lifting the value of the dollar and providing the Obama administration with a crucial infusion of financing as it directs trillions of dollars toward rescuing banks and stimulating the economy, enabling the government to pay for these efforts without lifting interest rates.

Of course there has to be the lining in the cloud that is not silver..

[A]nd yet in a global economy crippled by a lack of confidence and capital, with lending and investment mechanisms dysfunctional from Milan to Manila, the tilt of money toward the United States appears to be exacerbating the crisis elsewhere.

“Virtually all of the low-income countries are in very serious trouble,” said Eswar Prasad, a former official at the International Monetary Fund and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, the liberal-leaning research organization in Washington.

He went on: “This is the third wave of the financial crisis. Low-income countries are getting hit very hard. The flow of private capital to the emerging market has dried up.”

Private money invested in so-called emerging countries plunged from $928 billion in 2007 to $466 billion last year and is likely to fall to $165 billion this year, according to the Institute of International Finance.  …

Starve them til we and others are there to plunder the resources…

“The fact that we can still borrow at lower interest rates is saving us from much more severe adjustments,” Mr. Rogoff said. “We’re really still staring down an abyss.”

Seems an awful lot of abyss, more than enough to go around..

***

Somehow related, I spied a headline in the UK papers that whatshisname of Virgin Mega Everything now also wants to be a high street bank. 

Can’t the big frantic boys ever fucking nap?

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Comments»

1. marisacat - 9 March 2009

There is so much bad news around, I would ignore this but it is in a Nouriel Roubini email letter… fwiw.

Can we rule out another bear market rally some time in 2009?

No, we cannot rule out another bear market sucker’s rally in 2009, most likely in Q2 or Q3. The drivers of this rally will be the improvement in second derivatives of economic growth and activity in U.S. and China that the policy stimulus will provide on a temporary basis. Given the severity of macro, household, financial firms and corporate imbalances in the U.S. and around the world this Q2 or Q3 sucker’s market rally will fizzle out later in the year like the previous 5 ones in the last 12 months.

2. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 March 2009

I don’t think anybody has an inkling what is coming. The word “bad” doesn’t seem strong enough.

3. marisacat - 9 March 2009

Oh agree, it is a foggy misty future… the only thing I see is that people are def beginning to buy foreclosures, out least out here, they are… which is a good move, no matter what.

But that is about it right now.

4. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 March 2009

There are more of these popping up in more places: slideshow of tent city growing outside Sacramento.

marisacat - 9 March 2009

the one in Sacramento is reaching national coverage.. and I assume there are others…

Madman in the Marketplace - 9 March 2009

Crooks & Liars has a post up claiming that there are “Bushvilles” popping up in Seattle, and Reno, and Nashville.

I think calling them “Bushvilles” is just such bullshit, as though the seeds for this mess weren’t planted during the Clinton admin by him and his cabal from Goldman.

marisacat - 9 March 2009

I was listening to some political show over the weekend.. and a commentator mentioned that Democrats ran against Hoover til 52.

It’s not like they got a new idea… I assume the effort to cal them “Bushvilles” originated with the Dems.. and they will push it.

Krugman was harsh to today, hard to get around that……….

5. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 March 2009

The stupid, it burns!!

Obama’s calm and deliberative style is one of his greatest strengths. He doesn’t want precipitous action in the midst of an economic collapse to come back to haunt us all. But sometimes excessive caution can be as dangerous as impetuousness. The president has no choice but to be bold. If there is one thing he should fear, it is fear itself.

Oh E.J. … always the altar boy, eager to fall to his knees in front of some fraud pretending to be something he isn’t.

6. marisacat - 9 March 2009

oh noes… Chuck Todd says that the WH will send Geithner and others out next week to … I guess give speeches. Rally the masses, speak to Wall St… (?)

well, they can tryyyy I guess.. but ”wrong crew” seems like the label

Madman in the Marketplace - 9 March 2009

LOL

speaking of the stupid.

7. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 March 2009

My vote for best title of a blog piece I’ve seen in a while: What’s that, Lassie? (Woof, woof!!) Timmy Geithner’s in the well?!!

8. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 March 2009

I put a new post up.

9. CSTAR - 9 March 2009

For whatever it’s worth: The archbishop of Recife tried to prevent a nine year old girl who was raped by her stepfather from getting an abortion. The archbishop failed and promptly excommunicated, among others the medical team which carried out the abortion.

See here and here.

So much for talking it over with your pastor.

marisacat - 9 March 2009

You know when I read that, I wondered how a 9 year old is supposed to carry and give birth to TWINS…

Never doubt the Church’s ability to top its own past performance…

10. marisacat - 9 March 2009

Never worry, we have already survived.. and the future is bright. [Seems she is forecasting Roubini’s “sucker’s” third or fourth Q rally.]

Via Tapper column:

[“W]e’ve faced what is arguably the biggest macro-economic shock we’ve probably ever had, right? And yet why are we where we are today? I think partly we’ve had a much better policy response already,” said Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, as she delivered an upbeat address this afternoon at Washington’s Brookings Institution.

“I feel we absolutely need to let this one work,” she said. “It is just, the checks are just now going out the door, withholding tables are just now being changed. And so I feel very strongly, we need to let the medicine work for a while to see if it does the trick.”

“A lot of the forecasters are still talking about an upturn in the second half of the year and so I think we should wait and see,” she added. “There’s going to be monitoring of this stimulus package and this economy like we’ve never had before and we’re just going to have to watch it and see if we’re getting the kind of results we hope and feel we will.”

“The more that countries throughout the world can move toward monetary and fiscal expansion, the better off we will all be,” she said. “In this regard, the aggressive fiscal action in China and the reduction in interest rates in Europe and the UK announced last week were welcome news. They are paving the way for a worldwide end to this worldwide recession.”

Such a message from the administration will likely be carried by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner as he heads to England this weekend for a G20 finance ministers meeting ahead of the much-anticipated full G20 summit in London next month.

Also this afternoon, fielding questions from the audience after her speech, Romer defended the administration’s ambitious decision to undertake healthcare reform at the same time as they wrestle with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

“A bit of me says maybe the middle of a crisis is the right time as we’re all focused on the economy, we know the problems that we face,” she said. “Maybe this is the time we can all pull together and actually get it done.”

But one thing Romer would not do today is be drawn out on any flaws in the stimulus plan…

“You want me to tell you what’s wrong with the fiscal stimulus package?” she responded incredulously to a questioner. “SO not going to do that!”

Well, why should she join the herd or even give credible answers to the herd of critics. And btw, tomorrow is Education Day! for ObRama…

The president will deliver remarks on education reform at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 19th annual legislative conference Tuesday morning.

Have an apple!

Carry on.

11. CSTAR - 9 March 2009

How does one react to this? Lula criticized the Bishop of Recife, who in reply said Lula should consult a theologian.

Here was Lula’s statemenet

“Não é possível permitir que uma menina estuprada pelo padrasto tenha esse filho. Até porque a menina corria risco de morte. Nesse aspecto, a medicina está mais correta que a igreja”,.

trans: “One can’t allow that a child raped by her stepfather should have that child; aside from everything else, she risks death. In that regard, the medical profession is more justified in its position than the church”

12. diane - 9 March 2009

Report Says 1 in 50 U.S. Kids Are Homeless

Three of the top five Gross Domestic Product states (let alone Cali’s ranking as the on of the largest economies (loaded with global philanthropists) in the world), get a “gold Star” for hideousness:

”….
According to the new report, the states with the highest number of homeless children in the period studied were Texas (337,105), California (292,624), Louisiana (204,053), Georgia (58,397) and Florida (49,886).

….”

The full report (huge pdf) is here

13. marisacat - 10 March 2009

Mike Whitney at Cpunch slams Geithner (and Summers and Bernanke) from top to bottom… but here is the tragedy:

[T]reasury should be looking into debt relief, jobs programs and higher wages. There are solutions that do not involve artificially low interest rates, government subsidies for toxic waste or lavish handouts to hedge funds. They simply require a commitment to rebuild the economy on sound principles of hard work, productivity and fair distribution of the the profits. …

Just what we are not getting from Black Reagan Jesus and his merry band of neurotic mutants.

I am starting to have some limited appreciation for the soviet or Chinese system of removal of failed bureaucrats. Swift, at the least. On to the next corrupt one.

14. Intermittent Bystander - 10 March 2009

Speaking of BoA (and ceremonial gestures toward clawback), NYS AG Cuomo and Barney “Rubble” Frank sent another stern letter to chief exec Ken Lewis about disclosure of pre-bailout mega-boni yesterday.

15. Intermittent Bystander - 10 March 2009

And just in case Buffet’s tidings of Monday morning joy (which included the “c” word – “cliff” – and a reference to Pearl Harbor, of all things) have finally stopped reverberating in headlines near and far, the IMF and a WSJ analyst are ready to scare more pants off of skittish market mavens today.

Global economy to contract in “Great Recession”: IMF

DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) – The world economy is likely to shrink to “below zero” this year, in what many are now referring to as the “Great Recession,” the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

“The IMF expects global growth to slow below zero this year, the worst performance in most of our lifetimes,” IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told African political and financial leaders in the Tanzanian capital.

Whitney says credit cards are the next credit crunch: report.

“Inevitably, credit lines will continue to be reduced across the system, but the velocity at which it is already occurring and will continue to occur will result in unintended consequences for consumer confidence, spending and the overall economy,” Whitney said.

marisacat - 10 March 2009

re Buffett and his mouth…

I read a couple of much chiller reports in the UK press.. and one thread (think at the Independent) just dismissed him, as gaming the market to suit his investments (Wow! what a thought!). And excusing the private planes and related, when he owns (or a share in) NetJets.

I notice he has been chatting up Wells Fargo… where of course he owns shares.

LOL

Intermittent Bystander - 10 March 2009

My knowledge of Wall Street could fit in a walnut, and I sure as hell can’t pretend to keep up with the blizzards of pseudo-wizardry piling all around us now, but even I don’t expect the usual gamers to loosen their grips on personal stakes as they play at “propping up the system” mid-collapse.

marisacat - 10 March 2009

agree.. I m sure Buffett sought the Sqawkbox interview, jsut to game us…

The sad thing in the GE ws watching Ob display how impressed he was with the Buffetts and the Kennedys and so on.

What a shame (and a sham) it all is.

Intermittent Bystander - 10 March 2009

The Daily Show gave another kick to the CNBC House of Hilarious Cards last night:

In Cramer We Trust.

(Bonus points to the staff writer who coined a new name for the blogosphere – the “twitscape.”)

🙂

BooHooHooMan - 10 March 2009

Hold on to the walnut.

Intermittent Bystander - 10 March 2009
16. marisacat - 10 March 2009

Well obviously box office is down (which it is not), gotta tighten up and boot out the old people

Back in the days when film studios were run like family businesses and Hollywood was just another small town, the movie industry’s founding fathers created an organisation to look after employees who’d fallen on hard times.

The Motion Picture Relief Fund, launched by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks and other luminaries, began in 1921 with a coin box where backlot workers would deposit spare change. It grew into one of America’s most star-studded charities, with a $120m turnover, and a quaintly reassuring motto: “We take care of our own.”

Lately, however, the organisation – now the Motion Picture & Television Fund (MPTF) – has been dragged into a fierce controversy, in which famous board members, including Steven Spielberg, Warren Beatty, Michael Douglas and Kevin Spacey, are charged with a lamentable failure to take care of their own.

Fiercest criticism, however, has been reserved for Jeffrey Katzenberg, the film mogul in charge of DreamWorks, who serves as the chairman, and therefore figurehead, of the MPTF Foundation. …

17. Intermittent Bystander - 10 March 2009

One bright spot yesterday was the news that public transit ridership is on the rise, and is now at highest level in 50 years or so. Happy timing for Paterson’s roll-out of a big new rail initiative for NYS: Governor offers high-speed rail plan.

The statewide plan, submitted to the Federal Railroad Administration, calls for investing more than $10.7 billion in the state’s rail infrastructure over the next 20 years.

Much of that would be spent on tracks that ultimately meet at Rensselaer. The “Third Rail Initiative” would establish a dedicated high-speed line between Albany and the Buffalo-Niagara region.

“The Capital Region is the true crossroads of New York, connecting to Boston in the east, New York City in the south, Montreal in the north and Buffalo and Chicago to the west,” Schumer said.

According to Paterson, a $3 billion investment could bring high-speed passenger trains of up to 110 mph to the Albany-New York City and Albany-Buffalo corridors within three to five years. Another $2 billion, he said, could allow for 150 mph trains.

State officials hope for funding under the federal stimulus bill, which has $8 billion for high-speed rail nationwide. More federal money could come under the reauthorization of the federal transportation spending bill, which is due later this year.

18. marisacat - 10 March 2009

Who knows what we end up with… Wapo version. NYT version (Calmes etc) make it seem the items at issue are out already, or, being greased for the skids… LOL.

Democratic leaders in Congress did not expect much Republican support as they pressed President Obama’s ambitious legislative agenda. But the pushback they are receiving from some of their own has come as an unwelcome surprise.

As the Senate inches closer to approving a $410 billion spending bill, the internal revolt has served as a warning to party leaders pursuing Obama’s far-reaching plans for health-care, energy and education reform.

Those goals, spelled out in Obama’s 2010 budget blueprint, continue to enjoy broad Democratic support. But as the ideas develop into detailed legislation, they will transform from abstract objectives into a tangle of difficult trade-offs. Crop subsidies, the student loan program and Medicare radiology rules are all currently niche concerns, but any one could become the next crisis for party leaders, with the potential to derail a major agenda item. One major proposal, to limit itemized deductions for wealthy taxpayers, has already raised doubts among prominent Democrats in both chambers. …

“Medicare radiology rules”… that is a joke right there.

No need to worry about highly conservative reacationary looney tunes FLORIDA Cubans topedoing moving forward. Nooo… NJ Dem will do that.

[M]enendez knew that his hard-line approach to Cuba was a minority view within his party, and that it was at odds with Obama’s approach. But he did not expect to discover a significant policy change embedded in the text on an appropriations bill. His policy aides came across the language when the legislation was posted on a congressional Web site.

“The process by which these changes have been forced upon this body is so deeply offensive to me, and so deeply undemocratic, that it puts the omnibus appropriations package in jeopardy, in spite of all the other tremendously important funding that this bill would provide,” the enraged son of Cuban immigrants said last week on the Senate floor. Menendez even slapped a hold on a pair of Obama nominees to draw attention to the issue. …

🙄

19. NYCO - 10 March 2009

28. The more important, although less sexy part of the NY rail initiative is simply getting the current trains to run on time. If you’ve ever ridden Amtrak from NYC to Buffalo, or even Albany to Buffalo you know it is a minefield of delays, flooding, train vs. car crossing accidents, and the occasional derailment and chemical explosion. The canal system is run better (and seems faster…!)

lucid - 10 March 2009

… So do we really want those trains running at 150 mph? 😉

Madman in the Marketplace - 10 March 2009

maybe the cars will skip across the flood waters if they’re going fast enuff.

20. marisacat - 10 March 2009

What a circus… Cramer on the Today Show, they are showing clips of Buffett on Squawk box… Jack Welch screaming on Scarborough yesterday…

laughs all around, yucks and chucks. A rump roast in every pot.

Madman in the Marketplace - 10 March 2009

I was watching that Welch circle jerk yesterday. Serious ethical questions about them touting GE stock that they own through their retirement/incentive plans … which none of them made a point of mentioning at first. I noticed after a few minutes some lawyer must have gotten on the phone and yelled at them, b/c suddenly there was a scrawl about MSNBC being a subsidiary of GE etc. Scar kept saying “GE MAKES things!”, though no one mentioned that the company is in trouble thanks to the financing arm it owns, that Welch built on the back of massive layoffs back when he ran the company.

21. marisacat - 10 March 2009

We are saved! Our long national nightmare is over! Citigroup will bring us back! I am sure the Bible foretold of this miracle!

Stocks are up sharply Tuesday, after a strong earnings news from Citigroup.

CEO Pandit says the banking giant turned a profit the first two months of the year.

The Dow is up roughly 250 points, or nearly 4%.

22. NYCO - 10 March 2009

31. The major east-west traffic through NY State – car, train, barge – still has to squeeze through “the Noses” of the Mohawk River, a very narrow and watery gap between the Adirondack and Appalachian uplands. This was a spectacular idea back in 1750 — but in 2009, often not so great. The current railroad and Thruway are virtually IN the river, which is lots of fun at flood stage.

Here’s the mighty Mohawk this week: http://www.timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=777909&category=REGION

(see pix)

Do you want to go through that on a high speed train? I’ll be wondering how they’re going to get around that.

Intermittent Bystander - 10 March 2009

With some smart, local engineers and geologists, I’m hoping!

Thanks for the Noses reference . . . sent me ambling around old maps of the so-called New York Central Railway Water Level Route. One of my old stomping grounds was (literally) the obsolete and out-of-use track around Lock 7, but I’m ashamed to say I’ve never made the trip – by boat or train or car – all the way west to Buffalo.

It’ll be years in the making, probably (think I saw one pooh-pooh report predicting first service in 2017), but real, efficient passenger rail between Albany and Buffalo would do wonders for all, it seems to me.

Right now, doesn’t the freight line (CSX) pretty much rule the rails? Part of why Amtrak has to stop so often, to give right of way?

Madman in the Marketplace - 10 March 2009

yup, that’s why. Amtrak only owns the tracks in the Boston to DC corridor, from what I understand.

Intermittent Bystander - 10 March 2009

Yes, and service from Albany south to NYC is generally efficient and on time. Frequent, too, compared to other routes. (Anything north of Albany to Montreal, for example. More short-sighted stupidity.) Amtrak also owns funny bits and pieces of track elsewhere (from the patchwork of old defunct railroad history), according to Wiki.

23. BooHooHooMan - 10 March 2009

PA-Sen: It’s just about time for Arlen to switch
by kos

I’ve now heard from multiple sources that the AFL-CIO and other labor unions have promised to stand firmly with Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter if he becomes a rare crossover Republican vote on EFCA when that issue hits the floor of the Senate. This is a life-and-death issue to unions, many of which are dwindling in membership, and they’re willing to give cover to one of the most endangered Republicans if it helps passage.

Rather than criticize a marker which seems short-sighted to me, I’ll accept it as a political reality. It’s no secret in Pennsylvania that Gov. Ed Rendell is also rather fond of Specter, the two sharing a warm relationship. With Rendell and the Keystone State’s strong labor community firmly behind him, it really makes little sense for him to engage Club for Growth honcho Pat Toomey in a Republican primary he is more than likely to lose. The pieces are really falling in place for Specter to make the leap and switch parties.

Let’s game this out.

[Snip}

Specter votes for EFCA, and stays in the GOP….[Snip}

Specter votes for EFCA, and becomes a Democrat….[Snip}

Specter votes for EFCA, becomes an independent….[Snip}

Specter votes for EFCA, then retires….[Snip}

Or – Spector doesn’t vote for the Employee Free Choice Act and gets by Toomey anyways.

Or, the Kissafuckin Death: Rendell promises “100% support” –
for Spector’s Democratic opponent. LOL.

Or Eddie run his own Rendellardasss self. Oh Markos.
No wonder he get’s eaten alive when venturing East.
I don’t know. Maybe he has a scoop.

But I do know one thing. Popcorn.

Popcornucopia on this one, the EFCA.
WRT the Bill, something out of the House I think,
Not even a vote scheduled yet in the Sen IIRC.
So effectively, its all talk-talk STALL Talk about something that could happen…. when?

I guess they need more time to figure out who will take the outright dive. Maybe give Senator Wal Mart WhatsHerName from Arkansas a chance to look tough against Bentonville while persuading the Crew Cut Blockhead – WhatsHisName from Montana – to take a dive along with somebody else for good measure… Maybe they’ll cripple it beyond recognition and even pass “it”. Whatever that “it” ain’t.

They’ll figure something out.
And then…. it’s Man Titz Time.

marisacat - 10 March 2009

Sorry you got stuck in Moderation… and I was dead asleep!

😳

As for this:

Popcornucopia coming up on this one, the EFCA.
WRT the Bill, something out of the House I think, Not even a vote scheduled IIRC.

hmm I don’t think thw WH is really truly behind EFCA. Gee what a shock!

Course I could be wrong… and it’s all ok about the snake and the apple and that tree in the Grden of Eden. And all that…

🙄

24. marisacat - 10 March 2009

hmm Chas Freeman pulls his name for NIC. Or Blair pulls it. Whatever, the weeks of back and forth are over. Politico version.

The controversial appointee to chair President Barack Obama’s National Intelligence Council walked away from the job Tuesday as criticism on Capitol Hill escalated.

Charles W. Freeman Jr., the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia, had been praised by allies and by the director of national intelligence, Dennis Blair, as a brilliant, iconoclastic analyst. Critics said he was too hard on Israel and too soft on China, and blasted him for taking funding from Saudi royals.

Freeman “requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed,” Blair’s office said in a statement. “Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman’s decision with regret.”

The withdrawal came after Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) grilled Blair at a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing Tuesday. Lieberman cited his “concern” about “statements that [Freeman] has made that appear either to be inclined to lean against Israel or too much in favor of China.”

In particular, Freeman has described “Israeli violence against Palestinians” as a key barrier to Mideast peace, and referred to violence in Tibet last year — widely seen in the U.S. as a revolt against Chinese occupation — as a “race riot.”

… “If they withdraw his appointment prior to the conclusion of [Freeman’s formal vetting] that would be seen as abject caving in on people who are extreme partisans of Israel,” Nicholas Veliotes, a former Ambassador to Egypt, and one of 17 former diplomats who signed a letters supporting Freeman, said Tuesday before the withdrawal was announced.

25. marisacat - 10 March 2009

It just gets funny… later at the Gibbs daily, Tapper asked of the Geithner letter was like a signing statement, just not from the Pretzel. I think Gibbs stuttered, yes. And no.

Remember he’s from Hawai’i… never been to Chicago.

[T]he Senators concerned with the Cuba provisions in the spending bill have been told in writing by Treasury Secretary Geithner to essentially ignore one of the Cuba provisions in the spending bill and not to worry about the Obama administration’s interpretations of another one. Geithner, in a letter to Democratic Senators Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Bill Nelson of Florida, argues that Obama had nothing to do with the Cuba provisions and that the Treasury Department will ignore them, for the time being, after the bill is signed.

“As you know, the Obama administration had nothing to do with these or any other provisions of that bill,” said Geithner in his letter. The same bill received veto threat from President Bush, so Democrats passed a temporary spending plan last year and delayed funding the government for this year until the new president took office.

One provision would have lifted restrictions on financing imports of U.S. food and medicine into Cuba. Current rules put in place by the Bush administration allow the imports, but require they be paid for up front. …

Here it is…

TAPPER: Because the reason I ask is because it seems to — and maybe I’m misunderstanding — but it seems like the law as it’s written would lift restrictions on financing the previously required cash-in-advance payment, but Geithner is saying basically that cash in advance will remain the law, which seems to be kind of like a signing statement, except it’s not being done by the president at a podium, it’s — it’s being done by the Secretary of Treasury.

GIBBS: Well, I mean, obviously, as you know, there’s interpretations — interpretations of what different provisions in each bill mean and — and those interpretations, obviously, are active. It’s like a presidential signing statement, except it’s not the president and it’s not a signing statement. But I — I would — I would go back to Treasury in terms of — of that letter and ask intent there.

Intermittent Bystander - 10 March 2009

That job (no matter who’s prez) has to rank in the Top Ten Most Horrible Jobs in the World.

(As a current job-seeker, I find it all too easy to visualize the sickening description.)

marisacat - 10 March 2009

oh I absolutely agree that it is… but never thought Gibbs was suited to it. Basically an operative, tho he got very showily triumphant thru the GE…

Oh well…

26. Madman in the Marketplace - 10 March 2009

Cramer whining on Morning Joe.

Scar says Jon Stewart is an idealogue.

27. Madman in the Marketplace - 10 March 2009

and the Cramer segment mentioned above on the Today Show.

Thin skinned much?

marisacat - 10 March 2009

it was really bad……………………….

28. marisacat - 10 March 2009

LOL Apparently Geithner is going to be n Charlie Rose… The Page already has the transcript up… (they tape around 5 pm NY time.. but, at least here, it shows at midnight)… Buffett is going to haunt the admnistration, in his determination to “support” the admin AND ensure nto a single burning ember blows back on him. Charlie is fundamentally stupid (imo), he would never know of the letter frm Buffett but he was tipped to use it.

[CR]
I have to ask you this. When you were at the New York Fed and you and Hank Paulson, then secretary of the treasury and Ben Bernanke, still chairman of the Fed, were looking at all the policy options at the time that you had the passage of the TARP legislation, and the kinds of things you ought to do. Did you, at the same time, consider this public private partnership that you are announcing in the next week or two and reject it? Did that happen?

[TG]
Charlie, this idea, this idea to use government financing alongside private capital is an idea that a few people had back in the fall.

[CR]
Warren Buffet, for one, sent a letter to Paulson suggesting this is a way to go.

[TG]
Among others. And some of us put a lot of merit in that proposal at that time.

[CR]
But it was rejected at that time?

[TG]
Well, I’m not sure it was rejected. I wasn’t secretary of the treasury, then.

[CR]
But you were part of the conversation. There was no conversation, no day that you and Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke didn’t talk. You were holding the economy in your hands.

[TG]
Remember, we didn’t sit in Hank Paulson’s shoes. He faced a set of constraints and judgments at that time about how best to use limited resources. And he decided at that time that he didn’t have a viable way to do that. Now, we thought about it a lot since then. We think we figured out a way to do it in a way that’s going to make sense for the American taxpayer. …

29. Madman in the Marketplace - 10 March 2009

Why the cops need a watchdog

Forty-three years ago I was an idealistic, vaguely liberal 21-year-old when the San Diego Police Department hired me. The last thing on my mind was taking to the streets to punish people. And lest there be any doubt about the department’s policy, the police academy, even then, drove it home: excessive force was grounds for termination.

So, why did I abuse the very people I’d been hired to serve?

Not to get too psychological, I did it because the power of my position went straight to my head; because other cops I’d come to admire did it; and because I thought I could get away with it. Which I did–until a principled prosecutor slapped me upside the head and demanded to know whether the U.S. Constitution meant anything to me.

It comes down to this: real cops, those with a conscience, those who honor the law, must step up and take control of the cop culture.

Cops won’t do it. They never have, they never will.

marisacat - 10 March 2009

well imo it is just like doctors and lawyers nad other professionals. Lots of boards, panels, reveiw processes, routes for sanction and removal and dismissal… and it all just spins on. They lose files, miss big glaring red lights… huffle muffle and shuffle.

And so on. Every once in a while they catch someone, or something… but not all that often. And they know perfectly well what goes on…

Intermittent Bystander - 11 March 2009

Funny you should mention that . . .

Mass. doctor accused of faking painkiller studies

A Massachusetts anesthesiologist has been accused of fabricating results in nearly two dozen published studies that claimed to show after-surgery benefits from painkillers including Vioxx and Celebrex.

::snip::

Pfizer gave Reuben five research grants between 2002 and 2007. He also was a member of the company’s speakers bureau, giving talks about Pfizer drugs to colleagues.

::snip::

The journal Anesthesia & Analgesia retracted 10 of Reuben’s studies last month. The journal Anesthesiology said it retracted three.

“Doctors have been using (his) findings very widely,” said Dr. Steven Shafer, editor of Anesthesia and Analgesia. “His findings had a huge impact on the field.”

marisacat - 11 March 2009

All I can say is the so called, highly disparate and prone to sheer silence (no one wants to hear from them) “pain community” knew that Vioxx and Celebrex were bad news. Much of this is to avoid prescribing opiates or derivatives, for pain. They are old, cheap in the scheme of things… and all you have to do is guard for people who cannot handle them, a minority… and properly titrate dosages. LOL Not exactly Med School 101 for decades.

Oh well. better 58,000 dead from Vioxx. IIRC that was a published number.

Intermittent Bystander - 11 March 2009

And if those were the deaths, just imagine the figures for unnecessary, extended misery, right? A simple example from the comments to the story:

Gemini9 (0 friends, send message) wrote: 3h 34m ago

I was given Celebrex after surgery to repair torn knee cartilidge. It did not help. Not only that but I began having a problem with all of my bones aching badly and my doctor began to talk of injections into my knee’s. So I stopped taking it (without informing the Dr.) and started using Ibprofun or Motrin which worked better for my pain. I was walking without my cane on the next Dr’s visit and shocked my Doctor who fully expected I would be starting the knee injections on that visit.

I wonder how many patients stuck to Celebrex because their Doctor said they should and instead found them selves in a lot of pain with very expensive shots that also do not last long?

30. marisacat - 10 March 2009

I avoided the AL shooting story for a few hours…. NYT sounds like the number will grow…

NYCO - 11 March 2009

Sadly I think you’re going to see more of these house-to-house rampage shootings. There was one in the Rochester area recently that spread over two counties. Disgruntled men traveling with guns, taking out anyone they’ve got a family or work-related grudge against. It’s not just about walking into your old workplace any more.

31. marisacat - 10 March 2009

hmm Chas Freeman did not go quietly. At least.

[F]reeman says, “The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.”

Freeman says “the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.” …

Hmm Tapper closes with a comment that Freeman’s comments got picked apart like any other nom but he is the only one to claim a dark conspiracy behind it.

😉

Madman in the Marketplace - 10 March 2009

good for him.

32. Madman in the Marketplace - 10 March 2009

The Daily Show goes after the Cramer parade today again tonite. Pretty funny.

Cramer is gonna be on the Daily Show Thursday.

marisacat - 10 March 2009

I think Jon Stewart might want to install a barrier between the guest sofa and his chair at the desk.

Madman in the Marketplace - 10 March 2009

Jon took advantage of his own Viacom corporate synergy and got an appearance by Dora the Explorer about the whole controversy. Boots the monkey offered to fling poo at Cramer, and Dora called him a pendejo.

marisacat - 10 March 2009

ooo I like the direction Stewart is going… 😉

Madman in the Marketplace - 11 March 2009
33. marisacat - 10 March 2009

hmmm

Deep Thought

The man who led the campaign against the Chas Freeman appointment is currently awaiting trial on charges of espionage.

–Josh Marshall

From the Max Blumenthal Daily Beast embedded link above:

[T]he Daily Beast’s Max Blumenthal reported that the leader of the campaign against Freeman was Steven Rosen, a former director of AIPAC awaiting trial on espionage charges, who has a long history of attacking and undermining anybody he deems hostile to Israel.

The assault on Charles “Chas” Freeman Jr., a former ambassador tapped to lead the National Intelligence Council, is the first blow in a battle over the Obama administration’s Middle East policy. Steven Rosen, a former director of the American Israel Political Affairs Committee due to stand trial this April for espionage for Israel, is the leader of the campaign against Freeman’s appointment. In his wake, a host of critics from the Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg to the New Republic’s Marty Peretz have emerged to assail Freeman’s comments on Israeli policies and demand that Obama rescind the diplomat’s appointment. The campaign against Freeman spread to Congress, where a handful of representatives including the top recipient of AIPAC donations, Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), called for an investigation of Freeman’s business ties to China and Saudi Arabia. …

marisacat - 10 March 2009

more…

[T]he effort to dislodge Freeman still has the potential to impact the Obama administration’s policies toward Israel, however discredited its architect may be. This is, of course, the underlying objective of many of Freeman’s critics. “Freeman is stuck in the latest instance of the deadly power game long played here on what level of support for controversial Israeli government policies is a ‘requirement’ for US public office…” foreign-policy analyst Chris Nelson wrote in his Nelson Report, an influential private daily newsletter read by Washington policy makers. “If Obama surrenders to the critics and orders [Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair] to rescind the Freeman appointment to chair the NIC, it is difficult to see how he can properly exercise leverage, when needed, in his conduct of policy in the Middle East. That, literally, is how the experts see the stakes of the fight now under way.” …

marisacat - 10 March 2009

Schumer via TMPDC:

Charles Freeman was the wrong guy for this position. His statements against Israel were way over the top and severely out of step with the administration. I repeatedly urged the White House to reject him, and I am glad they did the right thing.

34. NYCO - 11 March 2009

Re the Alabama shootings…

MSNBC is interviewing a psychologist (or perhaps psychiatrist — they aren’t doing a very good job of identifying these people). In any case, the expert says that when someone sets fire to a building, particularly when one’s relatives are inside, “it is a sure sign of extreme uncontrollable rage.”

The fact that the gunman was shooting both people he knew and people he didn’t know “meant that he was totally out of control,” the expert added. He said the events appeared to be premeditated and that the shooter had probably felt “rage and anger” building against the world.

No shit! Really?! What would we do without MSNBC to explain stuff for us.

35. marisacat - 11 March 2009

I see someone has shot up a German school… 17 dead… hmm will pull up a link in a bit…

***

Drug Czar:

Seattle Top Cop to Be Named Drug Czar

By AP / STEVEN R. HURST Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2009

(WASHINGTON) — The Obama administration plans Wednesday to nominate Seattle, Washington, police chief Gil Kerlikowske as the nation’s drug czar.

Vice President Joe Biden was expected to name Kerlikowske as chief of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a job that requires Senate confirmation, at a midday ceremony, an administration official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the announcement had not yet been made.

Kerlikowske had been widely expected to be named to the position but an announcement was held up after disclosure that his stepson, Jeffrey, had an arrest record on drug charges. …

36. marisacat - 11 March 2009

AP via the UK Independent… full text:

A 17-year-old gunman dressed in black opened fire at his former secondary school in south-western Germany today, killing at least 16 people before police shot him dead, state officials said.

Nine students and three teachers were among the dead, State Interior Minister Heribert Rech said.

It was Germany’s worst shooting since another teenage gunman killed 16 people and himself in another secondary school in 2002.

Police said the former student at the school in Winnenden, about 12 miles north-east of Stuttgart, entered it at 9.30am and opened fire, shooting at random.

Witnesses said students jumped from the windows of the building after the gunman opened fire.

“He went into the school with a weapon and carried out a bloodbath,” regional police chief Erwin Hetger said earlier. “I’ve never seen anything like this in my life.”

Concerned parents quickly swarmed around the school, which was evacuated during the incident. About 1,000 children attend the school

After the attack, the suspect fled the Albertville secondary school towards the centre of the town of 28,000, police said.

In 2002, 19-year-old Robert Steinhaeuser shot and killed 12 teachers, a secretary, two students and a police officer before turning his gun on himself in the Gutenberg high school in Erfurt.

Steinhaeuser, who had been expelled for forging a doctor’s note, was a gun club member licensed to own weapons. The attack led Germany to raise the age for owning recreational firearms from 18 to 21.

37. NYCO - 11 March 2009

A 2000 article from the NYT examining the phenomenon of rampage killing (an attempt to put together a profile of killers).

38. marisacat - 11 March 2009

Thanks for that NYCO…

also:

Madman sent me this website some time ago… on mass killings.. and, from the title, he looks at media / copy cat effects as well. Germany is one down, right below that is Alabama.

http://copycateffect.blogspot.com/

39. marisacat - 11 March 2009

so so so so so not shocked.

President Barack Obama firmly resists ideological labels, but at the end of a private meeting with a group of moderate Democrats on Tuesday afternoon, he offered a statement of solidarity.

“I am a New Democrat,” he told the New Democrat Coalition, according to two sources at the White House session.

The group is comprised of centrist Democratic members of the House, who support free trade and a muscular foreign policy but are more moderate than the conservative Blue Dog Coalition.

Obama made his comment in discussing his budget priorities and broader goals, also calling himself a “pro-growth Democrat” during the course of conversation.

The self-descriptions are striking given Obama’s usual caution in being identified with any wing of his often-fractious party. He largely avoided the Democratic Leadership Council — the centrist group that Bill Clinton once led — and, with an eye on his national political standing, has always shied away from the liberal label, too.

As recently as last week, he steadfastly refused to define his governing philosophy. …

it was always a primary battle between New Newer Newest Dems and who can out Third Way who.

Oh FUCKING Puhleese. They are not socially liberal. At all.

Surrounded by 65 moderate Democrats on Tuesday in the State Dining Room, Obama was happy to portray himself as simpatico with a group of members who are largely socially liberal but fiscally more moderate to conservative.

Mush… we vote for mush.

40. Intermittent Bystander - 11 March 2009

Oy frickin vey! Just spied this link at Eschaton – Now-needy FDIC collected little in premiums. With fund going strong, banks didn’t pay for decade

The federal agency that insures bank deposits, which is asking for emergency powers to borrow up to $500 billion to take over failed banks, is facing a potential major shortfall in part because it collected no insurance premiums from most banks from 1996 to 2006.

::snip, spit::

Bair said yesterday that the agency’s failure to collect premiums from most banks “was surprising to me and of concern.” As a Treasury Department official in 2001, she said, she testified on Capitol Hill about the need to impose the fees, but nothing happened. Congress did not grant the authority for the fees until 2006, just weeks before Bair took over the FDIC. She then used that authority to impose the fees over the objections of some within the banking industry.

“That is five years of very healthy good times in banking that could have been used to build up the reserve,” Bair, a former professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said in an interview. “That is how we find ourselves where we are today. An important lesson going forward is we need to be building up these funds in good times so you can draw down upon them in bad times.”

marisacat - 11 March 2009

oh that is very bad news. Talka bout a critical “rainy day fund”.

As a Treasury Department official in 2001, she said, she testified on Capitol Hill about the need to impose the fees, but nothing happened. Congress did not grant the authority for the fees until 2006, just weeks before Bair took over the FDIC. She then used that authority to impose the fees over the objections of some within the banking industry.

Intermittent Bystander - 11 March 2009

The fund maintained itself, via interest, during the fat and happy boomtimes, per the fat and happy bankers’ instructions. Our pitiful elected representatives thought that all sounded reasonable, of course.

Madman in the Marketplace - 11 March 2009

hmmmm, an “insurance” company that didn’t collect premiums. Typical.

41. marisacat - 11 March 2009

Clemons The Washington Note on the Chas Freeman mess:

[I] just got word that Chas Freeman has resigned as Chairman of the National Intelligence Council, yielding to the attacks on him. This is unfortunate news as it is going to yield a new, long-running battle over what “patriotism” to US national interests means. Is loyalty to Israeli preferences and interests a litmus test for a political appointment?

This will be a big battle and while Freeman has been the first big victim in this struggle for the soul of American foreign policy, I suspect that there will be a slew of similar battles ahead and any Congressman or Senator who regularly puts Israel’s interests before American interests could be in for some rough times. …

I’d say we have been there for a while. the Freeman nom just pushed into a bigger spot light.

Madman in the Marketplace - 11 March 2009

Freeman was on NPR, and NOT happy:

The New Republic’s Martin Peretz wrote that Freeman was “a bought man, having been ambassador to Saudi Arabia and then having supped at its tables for almost two decades.” Peretz, who is a strong supporter of Israel, wrote, “That Freeman would be chosen as the president’s gatekeeper to national intelligence is an absurdity. It would be as if I were appointed the gatekeeper to that intelligence.”

Freeman calls Peretz’s writings “absurd.”

“The allegation that somehow I have benefited financially from my service to my country during Desert Shield and Desert Storm is insulting and I resent it very much,” Freeman says.

Freeman says that the Middle East Policy Council that he headed for 12 years has a budget of $600,000 a year, and about one-twelfth of that comes from the Saudi government in any given year.

“And of course that doesn’t go to me,” Freeman says.

Freeman says he has been a donor to the council and accepted $76,000 in salary a year, including expenses.

“I don’t have anything like the level of commitment to any foreign country that he has to Israel. … I’m not sure why [Peretz] imagines that the Middle East Policy Council, which is devoted to opening issues for public debate rather than advocating positions … is in any way comparable to his own commitment to Israel, which is deep and longstanding,” he says.

42. marisacat - 11 March 2009

54

First do no harm.

A dead concept. When OTC analgesics work better than Celebrex or Vioxx (which iirc were not cheap)… something is very wrong.

43. Intermittent Bystander - 11 March 2009

Are you seeing car dealer ads out there offering “recession-proof” financing? A major dealer near here is now advertising a warranty that allows you to simply return a newly purchased car, if you lose your job within the year.

Meanwhile, it looks like a heartland auto dealer took a different, more personal approach to the crisis: 3 execs, 81 cars missing from Nebraska dealership.

marisacat - 11 March 2009

A major dealer near here is now advertising a warranty that allows you to simply return a newly purchased car, if you lose your job within the year.

One of the Japanese manufacturers has been advertising that for a few weeks in Cal… but I forget which one. There are different versions… Think the latest is if you lose your job, they will suspend paymetns for 3 mos… and right of return due to job loss with no ding on credit.

i am assuming this is carefully extended, based on past credit.. and so on.

But no idea.

Obviously car sales have gone to zero.

44. NYCO - 11 March 2009

73. I was just going to post that link here (saw it at CR) but IB beat me to it. Now is the time to spout my foul-mouthed imprecation of choice… What the f—ing f—!!!/i>

Intermittent Bystander - 11 March 2009
45. Intermittent Bystander - 11 March 2009

More on Cuomo’s efforts to force disclosure about all the mega-cash bouquets tossed around just before the wedding of Merrill Lynch and BoA (a new filing today):

Cuomo Opposes Effort to Keep Merrill Bonuses Private

Less than a week after Merrill decided on its “premature” bonuses, Merrill found $7 billion in losses for the fourth quarter, beyond the $8 billion it already anticipated, Cuomo said in court papers filed today.

“It appears that some of these losses may have been booked by Merrill employees who marked down their portfolios only after their 2008 bonuses were set,” Cuomo said in the papers. He was responding to Bank of America Corp.’s motion to intervene in a probe of $3.6 billion in Merrill bonuses to stop public disclosure of who received the bonuses and how much they got.

::snip::

Cuomo said his probe includes whether certain losses were “fraudulently concealed until after bonuses were awarded.”

46. Madman in the Marketplace - 11 March 2009

Hannity

“My attitude is that if we capture an enemy combatant in the battlefield — or we can use Osama bin Laden — who may have information about a pending attack. You know what, I don’t have any problem taking his head sticking it underwater and scaring the living daylights out of him and making him think we’re drowning him and I’m a Christian,” declared Hannity.

I think that’s the first time Hannity’s ever gotten history right, since torture and Xtianity have historically gone together so many times.

47. Madman in the Marketplace - 11 March 2009
marisacat - 11 March 2009

hmm

“Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on. Just today in the Times there was a story that its leaders, a three star admiral named [William H.] McRaven, ordered a stop to it because there were so many collateral deaths.

And when do we learn that select members of the Senate Intelligence Comite did in fact know. And the House leadership. Like Nancy’s 2002 meetint with Bush at the WH… and so on.

48. marisacat - 11 March 2009

LOL…………….. In the “Center” with the armadillos and the yellow lines. Breathing car fumes.

[C]aught between Big Business and Big Labor in the midst of a deepening recession, moderate Democrats are washing their cars, polishing their silver, rearranging the pictures on their desks — anything they can do to buy some time while hoping that EFCA somehow goes away.

Eleven Democratic senators and 22 Democratic House members who cosponsored the 2007 version of EFCA — or “card check,” as its opponents call it — have steered clear of the version unveiled this week by Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.) and Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa).

In the midst of a recession, moderate Senate Democrats don’t want to tie themselves to legislation that’s been billed as bad for business. But they don’t want to distance themselves from the legislation, either, for fear of alienating their loyal supporters in labor.

Asked about EFCA Wednesday, freshmen Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) — who cosponsored it last time in the House — wouldn’t talk about it as an aide directed the reporter to call his office. A call to his office went unreturned. …

BooHooHooMan - 11 March 2009

Eleven Democratic senators have steered clear of the EFCA

Goooo MARKOS! – Rah!
{BHHM with pom-poms ..
….implausibly squeezed into cheerleading skirt with WONDERFUL perky sweater}

LOL. The butthole saying yesterday how Specter is going to flip to push it over the line. LMAO.

BooHooHooMan - 11 March 2009

MAMZ said Spector CHANGING PARTIES would seal the deal .
Spector will change parties if he needs to to save his ass…

Markos little frolick is just that. Shaking the cage for Ad Money when the deal is going to be killed by the Democrats. As always.

And again, it’ll be “Sagging Little Manubbins” Harry Reid sighing at the mic.

49. Madman in the Marketplace - 11 March 2009

No Reason to Demonize U.S. Single-Payer Health

If President Barack Obama wants real change in American health care, he will have to get over the fear of even mentioning single-payer concepts. At his health-care summit last week, only the threat of a demonstration garnered late invitations for Oliver Fein and Congressman John Conyers, two leading proponents of the single-payer plan.

Health-care costs have become a crippling personal-finance burden for 45 million uninsured and 25 million underinsured Americans. Those outside of the fractured employer-based system are only one illness away from financial ruin.

Lose your job and most likely your health coverage will disappear unless you want to pay exorbitant rates. And it’s getting worse. Because of the growing jobless rate, some 14,000 Americans are losing their coverage daily, according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

A single-payer plan would cover everybody regardless of employment situation and save money by cutting out middlemen.

$400 Billion

Fein, president of Physicians for a National Health Program, said a single-payer program would offer $400 billion in annual administrative savings and provide “effective cost containment provisions such as bulk purchasing and global budgeting.”

Obama has said he would keep an open mind on health-care solutions. Yet when asked on March 5 about why he was against single-payer medicine, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs replied: “The president doesn’t believe that’s the best way to achieve the goal of cutting costs and increasing access.”

50. marisacat - 11 March 2009

Clusterstock did not mince words on Card Check… 😆

Yesterday, Wal-Mart (WMT) got dinged by a Citi analyst who warned that the Employee Free Choice Act would make it easier for unions to form and thus hurt Wal-Mart’s bottom line. Of course, the EFCA still has to pass, and by all accounts it’s nowhere close.

Nate Silver notes how the political winds have changed. Many Democrats who previously supported it, no aren’t so keen to get in front of it:

Failing to renew their sponsorship are Max Baucus and Jon Tester of Montana, Evan Bayh of Indiana, Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico, Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, Dianne Feinstein of California, Herb Kohl of Wisconsin, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Claire McCaskill of Missouri, and Jim Webb of Virginia. Freshmen Senators Michael Bennet, Kay Hagan and Mark Udall and Mark Warner have also declined to sponsor the bill. Why does EFCA suddenly seem to have such a tough row to hoe?

51. marisacat - 11 March 2009

gnu thread…

LINK

………… 🙄 ……………..


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