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Don’t laugh too hard……… 8 January 2010

Posted by marisacat in 2010 Mid Terms, 2012 Re Election, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.
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Guardian Camera Club: Smallnorthernbird1 on religious buildings and iconography.  Religious Iconography 1:   All manner of religious tat is available in Quillacollo! [Photograph: Smallnorthernbird1/Flickr]

I tripped across this at, of all places, Instapundit, fom Volokh Conspiracy:

“Many of us said during the days of the Bush administration that restrictions on civil liberties motivated by the conflict with Al Qaeda would be maintained during any subsequent administration, whether Democratic or Republican, as long as the terrorist threat remained. This prediction has been amply confirmed. . . . The persistence of policies across ideologically divided administrations is good evidence that those policies are now mainstream rather than partisan and ideological. Of course, many people will continue to disagree with them, just as many people continue to object to a standing army and a central bank; but these people are now officially on the fringes.
 
There will also continue to be arguments about interrogation practices and the like, but a wide range of Bush administration policies—indefinite detention without charges, trials by military commission, the use of military force against suspected terrorists in foreign countries, secrecy privileges that undermine litigation against government officials responsible for terrorism policies, profiling on the basis of nationality, and much else—are now politically entrenched.”  snip

There are some heartening comments in the thread.  At least.

And this from Consortium News, a Q & A with Ray McGovern and Coleen Rowley

McGovern:

On the day the 9/11 Commission Report was issued BBC-TV had scheduled me for comment on it, minutes after its release, at the BBC bureau in Washington. I drove home the amazing point that NO ONE, NO ONE, NOT ONE SOLITARY SOUL WAS BEING HELD ACCOUNTABLE!

As I left the TV studio for the outer room, in walked 9/11 Commissioners Jamie Gorelick and former Sen. Slade Gorton, R-Washington, to present their own commentary to BBC viewers. Gorelick went right into the studio; I took advantage of being one-on-one with Sen. Gorton.

“Sen. Gorton,” I asked, “I don’t quite understand all this talk alleging that ‘No one is in charge of the intelligence community.’ You are surely aware that, by act of Congress, there is such a person, and right now that happens to be Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet.”

The avuncular Gorton tiptoed up to me, put his right hand around my shoulder, and with a conspiratorial whisper said,

 “Yes, Ray, of course I know that. We all know that. But George would not take charge; he would not do what he was supposed to.”

True, this was hardly news to me, but coming from a 9/11 Commissioner? I was about to respond with something like, “So you need to create another layer, a superstructure over existing arrangements, to address that problem?”

But, as it happened, just then the BBC studio door opened, Gorelick emerged, and Horton went in. Gorelick was too busy to answer the question I had posed to Horton.

The new Director of National Intelligence? This post, created by the post-9/11 “reforms,” was/is totally unnecessary — and counterproductive — as was entirely predictable. As my former CIA colleague Mel Goodman has written, the DNI superstructure has actually been very destructive of good intelligence … in more ways than I have space to go into here.

The fact that no National Intelligence Estimate has been completed on Afghanistan and Pakistan, for example, is unconscionable. Were the generals and admirals afraid that CIA analysts might come up with politically incorrect judgments?

He says more too………….  plus ca change sorts of comments.

The National Counterterrorism Center? Also unnecessary; a benighted idea. The recent attempt by Mr. Abdulmutallab to bring down a Detroit-bound Northwest Airlines flight speaks volumes about the NCTC’s effectiveness and the kind of leadership exercised by John Brennan — a clone of George Tenet.

We are told that Brennan is supposed to coordinate things at the National Security Council … or is Director of National Intelligence Admiral Blair supposed to do that? …. or Panetta? … or Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security? … or maybe the FBI? ………  ugh.

Can you tolerate still more? This just in. None other than John Brennan is to lead a full and thorough investigation into how the people under his general aegis screwed up regarding the Abdulmutallab affair. I do not often quote Ollie North, but “Is this a great country, or what!”
 
As for the Department of Homeland Security… just look, if you will, at what has happened to the Secret Service, not to mention FEMA and Katrina. Double ugh.

I see, as I go skittering around the Blogs, Blahgs and online Tabloids… there are now photos of the third, THIRD (let’s all scream together!) interloper at the State Dinner. Photographed with the Salahis. Even!  And reports that he was seated at dinner.  Oh my god!!  After walking in with an Indian delegation he simply joined…

Tear your hair out!  Tear at your clothes!  Weep at the invasion of our hallowed WH!  (yeah right)

I could not care less, but it all yells, screams, bellows, hollers! of “set-up”.

Smarten up, wise up in the West Wing and in the WH residence… or  expect a short time in DC.

I am convinced they are currently ambivalent about a second term and it is one reason for the lack of energy on view.  So it may not matter.

A bit more from McGovern:

Accountability is key. If there is no accountability, there is total freedom to screw up, and screw up royally, without any thought of possible personal consequences.

Not only is it certain that we will face more terrorist attacks, but the keystone-cops nature of recent intelligence operations …. whether in using cell phones in planning kidnappings in Italy, or in allowing suicide bombers access to CIA bases in Taliban-infested eastern Afghanistan …. will continue. Not to mention the screw-up in the case of Abdulmutallab.

Sadly, instead of accountability, there is likely to be misguided — and counterproductive — vengeance. After all, the word in Langley is “seven of ours” have now been killed. Anonymous intelligence officials are already warning openly about payback!

Wasn’t that the base human instinct, the revenge factor played on so deftly by President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney to “justify” invading Afghanistan — and then Iraq — after 9/11.

I am reminded of a simple statement that Taibbi made recently, think it was when he  was on with Moyers.  That… IF you think of the Democrats’ actions (or non-actions, I would say) as attending to business, then it all makes sense.

Yup.

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1. marisacat - 8 January 2010

This made me laugh… SMBIVA hits it out of the (Orange Land) ball park.

[O]ur Kosnik is so eager to defend Obie that he makes the prez look like a man with a brain tumor, mechanically babbling some word or phrase at the unquenchable urging of a diseased misfiring neuron. Obie’s weird annoying glottal barking tone becomes even more noticeable, and grating, than it usually is, in this lovingly chosen and carefully stitched-together sonic quilt. He’s even started to syncopate the second syllable of “terr’rism” and “terr’rist” the way Bush did.

There’s a probably unintentional family resemblance between the robotic talking points of the reactionary jerks who introduce the clip, and the stilted zombie-like terr-terr-terr gabble of “President Obama”, as our Kosnik obsequiously calls him. What’s strange is that the wingnuts at least get to speak full sentences, but the version of Obie we get from his admirer has boiled the discourse down to its essence: who can say the terr- word faster and more frequently, and with the fewest other words nearby to obscure its dark glory and hypnagogic power? ….

right on the mark.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

ooops…….link

LINK

2. catnip - 8 January 2010

Busted: Transparency Problem in HCR Debate

(That’s putting it mildly.)

Kossack Mote Dai’s discovery that “objective” analyst and MIT economist Jonathon Gruber has received a sole-source contracts with the Department of Health and Human Services since June 19, 2009 to consult on the “President’s health reform proposal” has gained some larger attention.

Marcy reported that he has two contracts for a total of $392,600 to consult on the plan. The issue is that Gruber has consistently been referenced by the White House as an objective analyst in support of the bill–including the controversial excise tax–without disclosing his role as a contractor on the issue.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

That is a higher figure than I had read previously.

GO GRUBER! yeah HCR! Yeah Ob!

Hey! Cheer the Leads!

3. CSTAR - 8 January 2010

The most generous interpretation is (as Taibbi suggests) is that the two major parties are businesses. Part of the business strategy is to disguise the party’s operating business model as a organization that represents some public interest. Hardly different from other businesses (pharma for instance). The business model is in fact to maximize cash flow from industrial and financial sectors to the pockets of consultants, party leaders etc., while trying to preserve a veneer of decorum. In this model we live in a political duopoly.

Anybody that buys into the idea that these parties stand for anything is a sucker, You can buy stuff at Target, but if you believe Target is anything other than a profit reaping organization, you’re a sucker. I must admit that I have fallen into suckerdom from time to time.

A less generous interpretation of parties is that they are a part of a conspiracy which presents a charade of political process and struggle. Though that interpretation is perhaps too paranoid, it does hold a lot of appeal, I must admit.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

It dd sum it up, I thought.

4. marisacat - 8 January 2010

HA! Tapper at least is not iwth the crowd (led off by Stephie comparing Ob to JFK and BofPigs) all saying the same thing. Oddly neither was Diane Sawyer the moment Ob stoppedspeaking, but Stephie immediately interrupted her and by later in the evening, she had the memo.

Tapper:

[N]ot in the review: any specific mentions of the fact that intelligence had heard of a man identified as “the Nigerian” as part of a terrorist plot (though there was an allusion to having obtained “information about an individual now believed to be Mr. Abdulmuttalab and his association with AQAP and its attack planning”).

Or that White House homeland security and counterterrorism adviser John Brennan had traveled to Saudi Arabia in September to learn more about an underwear bomb that al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula used — unsuccessfully — to try to kill Saudi Arabia’s intelligence chief.

Or that Umar Farouq Abdulmuttalab boarded his winter flight from Lagos to Amsterdam to Detroit with no checked luggage.

Or that the UK had rejected Abdulmutallab’s visa application earlier in 2009.

And on and on. …..

NTIM of course…………… 😆

5. mattes - 8 January 2010

BHHM:

Admiral Mullen: No Attack on Iran

Yesterday, Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made a rare public appearance to speak about America’s challenges in the Middle East. For his venue, he chose the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, the main thinktank in Washington for the Israel lobby. His audience was at least a couple of hundred strong, with a bank of at least ten television cameras.

During his appearance, his hosts — in the form of Rob Satloff, the executive director of WINEP — pressed him to lay down a marker on Iran, which is the chief preoccupation of the lobby. However, contrary to some news reports and blog accounts of Mullen’s comments at WINEP, the admiral clearly backed away from anything that sounded like a military threat, and it was clear throughout his entire remarks that Mullen, and the US military, is exceedingly averse to an armed confrontation with Tehran.

That’s not the take, for instance, from the Jerusalem Post which headlined its article breathlessly: “US preparing for possible Iran conflict.”

The Nation

Sec. of State Clinton Joint Press Conference with Jordan F.M. Nasser Judeh
Today

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nasser Judeh, Foreign Minister of Jordan called for a resumption of Middle East Peace talks. They expressed concern over recent events in Jerusalem, where settlement activity by the Israelis continues.

C-Span

Sec. of State Clinton Joint Press Conference with Qatar P.M. Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Jabr Al-Thani

LINK

BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2010

Thanks mattes. It seems to me tho…
whether it’s a “Good News” read of Mullens Speech…
{We’ll have our Peace!}….as Dreyfuss article in the Nation is,
or a “Good News” read — for some – as slanted in the JPost
{We’ll have our War!}

I’d say consider the source…AND consider the volume all around us::
TRRRr! Panic! War!

This plausible deniability, – this distance game –
has been played since the inception of Israel as a nation state…

which we have done since…well…EVAH….for every other warlord, despot and thuggish regime who served our narrow ill thought out ends …It’s what we do…The Zionists just proved exceptionally gifted in exploiting our own extant exploitive nature and greed for their purposes as well….

I see it as impossible for constructive analysis of anything that is said by either U.S. or Israeli policy makers…It’s an old game..
involving the assertions of governments – in either case – who have no credibility. IMO, Their wordplay mean nothing on its face.

I think the slightest possibility of making sense of things at this point begins with deconstructive interpretation…it being more than a handful as it is sifting through all the contraindications, reservations, prevarications and provocations…

I take no “slowly boiled frog”comfort in the US and Israel proceeding much in the manner they have historically done so ..with the relentless push/ pull.
And as the gents at SMBIVA point out, We know the deal with that: ever rightward.

mattes - 8 January 2010

There has to be a limit to how many foreign wars the American tax payer is able to finance, isn’t there?

Between weather, wars, water and finance, this just might be the perfect storm. No?

BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2010

I agree.

Check out Dimytry Orlov’s take on the shape of things to come…So very much of it is already well underway…

The decade will be marked by many instances of autophagy, in business, government, and in the higher echelons of society, as players at all levels find that they are unable to control their appetites or alter their behavior in any meaningful way, even in the face of radically altered circumstances, and are thus compelled to consume themselves into oblivion, as so many disemboweled yet still ravenous sharks endlessly gorging themselves on their own billowing entrails.

Governments will find that they are unable to restrain themselves from printing ever more money in an endless wave of uncontrolled emission. At the same time, rising taxes, commodity prices, and costs of all kinds, coupled with a rising overall level of uncertainty and disruption, will curtail economic activity to a point where little of that money will still circulate. Inflationists and deflationists will endlessly debate whether this should be called inflation or deflation, unconsciously emulating the big-endians and little-endians of Jonathan Swifts Gulliver’s Travels, who endlessly debated the proper end from which to eat a soft-boiled egg. The citizenry, their nest egg boiled down to the size of a dried pea, will not be particularly vexed by the question of exactly how they should try to eat it, and will regard the question as academic, if not idiotic.

Distressed municipalities throughout the country will resort to charging exorbitant fees for such things as dog licenses. Many will experiment with imprisoning those unable to pay these fees in state and county jails, only to release them again as the jails continuously overflow and resources run low. The citizenry will come to regard jails as conveniently combining the features of a soup kitchen and a homeless shelter. Some towns will abandon the idea of having a fire department and decide that it is more cost-effective to just let house fires run their course, to save on demolitions. In an effort to plug up ever larger holes in their budgets, states will raise taxes, driving ever more economic activity underground. In particular, state liquor tax revenues will drop for the first time in many decades as more and more Americans find that they can no longer afford beer and switch to cheap and plentiful Afghan heroin and other illegal but very affordable drugs. Marijuana smoke will edge out car exhaust as America’s most prevalent smell.

Several countries around the world will be forced to declare sovereign default and join the swelling ranks of defunct nations. There will be a mad shuffle to find safe havens for hot money, but none will be found. Investors around the world will finally be forced to realize that the best way to avoid losses is to not have any money to start with. Despite their best efforts to diversify their holdings, investors will find that they are all long paper, be it stocks, bonds, deeds, promissory notes, or incomprehensible derivative contracts. They will also find that, in the new business climate, none of these instruments make particularly formidable weapons: as the friendly game of rock-paper-scissors turns hostile, they will discover that rocks stave in skulls, that scissors puncture vital organs, but that the paper, even when wielded expertly, just causes paper cuts. Those formerly well-heeled persons who tend to believe that “possession is nine-tenths of the law” will find many extralegal exorcists eager to liberate their demons. In particular, organized crime rings will start using data mining software to identify lightly guarded cabins and compounds in Montana and other remote locations that are well-stocked with canned food, weapons and gold and silver bullion, and start harvesting them by softening the target with mortars, rockets and aerial bombardment, then sending in commando teams with grenades and machine guns. Once the harvest is in, they will expatriate the proceeds using the diplomatic pouches of defunct nations held in their sway.

While the bullion is expatriated, the Pentagon will attempt to repatriate troops from Iraq, Afghanistan and the numerous US military bases around the world, soon finding that they lack the wherewithal to do so, stranding the troops wherever they are, and forcing them to resupply themselves. Military families will be invited to donate food, uniforms, clean underwear and toiletries for their loved ones overseas. American weaponry will flood the black market, driving down prices. Some servicemen will decide that returning to the US is a bad idea in any case, and go native, marrying local women and adopting local religions, customs and garb. Although national leaders will continue to prattle on about national security whenever there is a microphone pointed at them, their own personal security will become their overarching concern. Officials at all levels will attempt to assemble ever larger retinues of bodyguards and security consultants. Members of Congress will become ever more reticent and will avoid encountering their constituents as much as possible, preferring to hide in Washington’s hermetically sealed high-rises, walled compounds and gated communities. Meanwhile, outside the official security perimeter, a new neighborliness will take root, as squatting becomes known as “settling in,” trespassing as “beating a new path,” and fences, walls and locks are everywhere replaced by watchful eyes, attentive ears and helping hands.

mattes - 9 January 2010

Sounds like the plot for a very good sf novel.

Combination of Mad Max, Parable of the Sower and Naked Sun:

Set in a dystopian future, Parable of the Sower centers on a young woman who possesses what Butler dubbed as hyperempathy – the ability to feel the perceived pain and other sensations of others – who develops a benign philosophical and religious system during her childhood in the remnants of a gated community in Los Angeles. Civil society is near collapse due to resource scarcity and poverty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parable_of_the_Sower_%28novel%29

Naked Sun:

The book focuses on the unusual traditions and culture of Solarian society. The planet has a rigidly controlled population of twenty thousand, and robots outnumber humans ten thousand to one. People are strictly taught from birth to despise personal contact. They live on huge estates, either alone or with their spouse only. Communication is done via holographic telepresence (called viewing, as opposed to in-person seeing).

Earth also appears to have evolved an unusual society, in which people spend their entire lives in confined (or “cosy”) underground interlinked cities, never venturing outside. Indeed, they become utterly panicked and terrified when exposed to the open air and the naked sun.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Naked_Sun

….I guess, this has all happened in some form throughout history, and it’s pointless to think we have evoluted enough to stop this endless cycle.

Cheers!

…oh, thanks for that link. Better plot than Avatar, which was a complete disappointment.

marisacat - 9 January 2010

You’re assuming anyone running this place and its wars is sane.

mattes - 9 January 2010

And abundance of avarice.

BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2010
marisacat - 8 January 2010

Ah yes Harold the gallivant. Thanks I enjoyed that……………………..

I saw one commenter said it was shaping up to be a run between two highly vulnerable candidates… Gillibrand and Ford.

Yuuuup!

May they both crack, melt, disintegrate, whatever.

6. catnip - 8 January 2010
marisacat - 8 January 2010

This is the man who stood in front of a Confederate flag in order to woo whites in the run against Corker…. AND claimed a black grandmother was white.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

Chortle laugh choke snicker:

January 08, 2010

Categories:New York.

‘Ford Lives in Memphis and Nashville’

So says Ford’s campaign website, which mentions only “offices” in New York.

Time to update that thing, perhaps.

7. marisacat - 8 January 2010

The Committe to Save Janet Nap…

Democrats worried about protecting the homeland in wake of the Christmas Day terror plot are also working to protect one of their own: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

With at least seven congressional committees investigating the failures behind the terror plot, Democrats are carefully gaming out the testimony of Napolitano to spare her from the worst of the GOP criticism. …

Read more: LINK

catnip - 8 January 2010

With at least seven congressional committees investigating…

Okay. Call me naive but isn’t that a perfect example of the problem? i.e. way too many so-called intelligence hands in the pie causing the inability to “connect the dots”? Talk about overkill.

BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2010

LOL. Well. When one sees this headline…

Dems plot to protect Napolitano

…You know she’s toast.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

Toast! Toast! Toast!

With jam! And butter!

8. marisacat - 8 January 2010

hmmm Big Bruiser Kitty vs Baby Mouse (just a par of the post, LOL)
.

TAPPER: One last question, I’m sorry. The — in recent days, Qais Khazali, who was a member — the leader of the League of the Righteous in Iraq. He was arrested by U.S. forces in 2007. He was responsible for an attack in Karbala that killed five U.S. soldiers. In recent days, the U.S. military has turned him over to the Iraqis, and the Iraqis have freed him as part of the reconciliation going on there.

GIBBS: I — let me ask somebody to…

TAPPER: I got this from the Pentagon.

GIBBS: OK. Well, let me ask — let me get some information on the — on that case. I don’t have anything in front of me.

TAPPER: Well, this is a general question: Is it appropriate for the U.S. military to turn…

GIBBS: Let me — let me — other than what you’ve told me, I’m not overly familiar with the details of the case.

TAPPER: Just as a general principle?

GIBBS: I don’t want to — I don’t want to generalize about something with which you’ve just asked me with great specificity.

What to say…………………. Makes jockeying between mil courts (and the admin still sends them to mil court, as it happens) or Federal court over here kinda nothing.

9. catnip - 8 January 2010
10. marisacat - 8 January 2010

hmmm from left i on the news:

The IAEA and…Israel?

Did you know that on Sept. 18 of last year, the IAEA passed a resolution that for the first time expressed “concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities” and requested that Israeli’s nuclear program be placed under international oversight?

I’m pretty sure I didn’t; I certainly didn’t write about it at the time. There was an AP article, but I don’t remember seeing it in the paper I read, or online at the time. I only just learned about this from an article in the latest issue of FAIR’s EXTRA!, in an article (not online) comparing the (non-existent) coverage of this event in the New York Times with their coverage of the (also non-existent) Iran nuclear weapons program. Indeed, searching The New York Times and the Washington Post for “Israel IAEA” produces in each case a series of articles on the Iranian nuclear program, and not a single one about Israeli nuclear weapons or the IAEA resolution. ….

many embedded links………………………

marisacat - 8 January 2010

lenin thinks with the freedom march assault on the Eqyptian wall building and crossing – and the following midnight bombing raids using F-16s from Israel, that we might be seeing a build up to a full on mil assault on Gaza. Again.

Ah Spring! — in the so fucked Holy Land.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

And a dicey link I picked up from the thread at lenin. Sderot is a welfare town essentially… useful to the Israeli state as “where the Qassams fall” (and an excuse for war killing trapped people in Gaza) but a poor embarrassment otherwise.

Plus ca change.

Well Ob apparently goes to israel lter this year, maybe he can do a tear jerker event again in Sderot.. talk about his daughters under Pal rockets.

mattes - 8 January 2010

It’s all timing.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

well, thinking about the comment that supposedly Rahm dropped the other day, it seems it could be a tactical move to say, hey, they have problems… we tried, and then we tried again!, don’t blame us… in the event of a spring offensive from israel.

So screwed.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

ugh. Just on the FP of the http://www.sfgate.com (links on the FP, down a little, left side)… which believe me hardly bothers with news. They barely function…

SFO-bound plane diverted
Military jets escort flight to Colorado after intoxicated passenger locks himself in bathroom. 5:49 PM

.Forgotten bag prompts Duluth airport evacuation

UK police arrest 3 on Dubai flight from London

Halle Berry and boyfriend bypass airport line

Shouldn’t Halle and BF be publicly scolded the way Lautenburg scolded the romantic man in Newark airport…??? Telling him he is i a lot of trouble but to turn himself in? Does nobody see how far gone we are?

marisacat - 8 January 2010

Oh because the Halle Berry thang happened in CANADA!

They were escorted past the (very long) security line.

“The (boyfriend) of Ms. Berry asked if they could go faster through the line because they were late and they had the baby,” said Insp. Jimmy Cacchione, who heads the 36-member unit that patrols the Montreal airport.

Geesh.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

they found and arrested the Newark man… they must be so relieved. He is non white. Jiang is the name.

Geesh.

BooHooHooMan - 8 January 2010

The guy works at UMDNJ/Rutgers advanced biotech lab…

Big picture spread of the guy with his test tubes…

Seems to be involved in Neuro-retinal research…

11. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2010
12. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2010

re: Gaza above … frankly I think they’ll attack again soon, and then all hell will break lose, leading up to what I think could likely turn into the last intifada, and those wackjob Zionists will take this as their last opportunity to wipe out their “problem”. Shortly to be followed by a breakdown and riots in Egypt when they refuse to open the border to let women and children out.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

There was mention in the UK pess, I forget which one.. that Galloway may now try to break the sea blockade, as the ships tried a few times last year (with whatshername.. the formerGA legisltor)

13. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2010
14. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2010
marisacat - 8 January 2010

I hought that was interesting… as there was talk alst year that in some sense DC had subsumed Wall St and a certain locus of financial power had shifted to DC and government finance.

Which was hard to actually believe, considering who owns who…………………..

15. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2010

Ted Rall – THE FEAR DECADE

Since 9/11, We’ve Embraced Our Inner Coward

Home of the free and the brave. Live free or die. Shoot first; ask questions later. Kill ’em all, let God sort ’em out. These were the mottos of a brash, impetuous, audacious-to-a-fault nation.

That nation is dead.

Once we Americas did brave things: We sat on boats, crossing the English Channel, knowing that most of us would die on the beach in Normandy. We sat at the lunch counter in the Deep South, waiting for white goons to beat us up. We also did brave things that were stupid: When the president sent us to Vietnam, some of us went, risking death. Others went to Canada, sacrificing everything for principle. We bungee jumped. We tried New Coke. Bravery can be dumb.

But it’s still brave.

Then came 9/11/01. It was the defining event of the decade that ends today, a fin-de-siècle moment for a previously proud nation’s once glorious history.

The Fear Decade had begun.

Bin Laden wanted the destruction of the World Trade Center to smack oblivious Americans’ upside their collective heads, to draw their attention to their nation’s toxic foreign policy (especially in the Middle East), maybe even to demand that the U.S. stop propping up dictators. It didn’t work.

Rather than prompt them to reassess their government’s behavior, Americans got angry. Anger, as any shrink will tell you, comes from fear. And fear makes you do stupid things.

16. catnip - 8 January 2010

Quite the Moyers show tonite with Kevin Drum and David Corn.

marisacat - 8 January 2010

Thanks will catch it.. comes on here at 10 PM

mattes - 8 January 2010

Saw it. It was great.

17. Madman in the Marketplace - 8 January 2010
18. catnip - 8 January 2010

Lawmakers press for Geithner AIG testimony

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. lawmakers on Friday pressed for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to testify on whether the New York Federal Reserve Bank improperly pressured AIG to withhold information on payments it made to banks after its government bailout.

The requests came even as the Obama administration and the New York Fed rushed to say that Geithner, who headed the reserve bank at the time of the AIG rescue, was unaware of any emailed advice by Fed lawyers to limit disclosures.

Edolphus Towns, chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight and Government reform committee, said he asked Geithner to testify on the matter the week of January 18 at a hearing to examine emails between New York Fed and AIG lawyers that show AIG was advised to withhold “key details” of the bailout terms from the public.

Announcement of the hearing, requested by Republicans and one Democrat on the panel, kept on the boil the latest controversy surrounding the $180 billion AIG bailout, which has dogged Geithner since he took office nearly a year ago.

The use of government bailout funds by financial firms and banks to pay each other off in full during the crisis has caused public outrage.

“More than one year after the first Federal bailout of AIG, the American people continue to question where their tax dollars were really sent when the government rescued this company,” Towns, a New York Democrat, said in a statement.

A Treasury spokesman declined comment on whether Geithner would agree to the request.

The emails, released by Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, showed that outside attorneys for the New York Fed recommended that specific payments to individual banks be excluded from a December 2008 Securities and Exchange Commission filing and an explicit reference to their receiving 100 cents on the dollar to liquidate credit default swaps was deleted.

A total of $62 billion in payments to specific counterparties was later disclosed in March 2009.

Geithner was president of the New York Fed at the time of the September 2008 bailout and when the email traffic started in late November 2008.

19. CSTAR - 8 January 2010

Though I generally like Kevin Drum, I think he suffers from the “they made Obama do it” syndrome. This was clear when Moyers asked him what he would write to Obama’s supporters.

By now it should be clear who owns Obama, There will never be such a letter.

mattes - 8 January 2010

Two point something billion dollars since 1989? Just think what has been taken.

marisacat - 9 January 2010

He clearly suffers from it. Loved the Waiting for Godot reference. Poor Kevin. He’ll freeze waiting at the bus stop.

I also loved how they talked about influence money to Barney Frank and whomever else… Have they checked out Goldman Sachs money to Ob over the very few years he he has been in political office (Illinois and DC combined)????

20. lucid - 9 January 2010

OT – my hero, Justine Henin, has come back after 20 months and in her first final has taken her fellow Belgian comeback hero to the third set in the final…

yay!

21. lucid - 9 January 2010

And she was down a set and 4-1 in the second…

22. lucid - 9 January 2010

And she’s up 3-0 in the 4th… Go Juju!

23. lucid - 9 January 2010

3rd rather…

24. lucid - 9 January 2010

Gah! Clijsters 8-6 in a final set tiebreak…

That was some damn good tennis though… I’m so glad they’re both back in the game.

25. marisacat - 9 January 2010

hey lucid…

********************

I guess Hope and Change can become and even flatter joke… every day is a new day!!

SFGATE:

Blackwater Worldwide’s legal woes haven’t dimmed the company’s prospects in Afghanistan, where it’s a contender to be a key part of President Barack Obama’s strategy for stabilizing the country.

Now called Xe Services, the company is in the running for a Pentagon contract potentially worth $1 billion to train Afghanistan’s troubled national police force. Xe has been shifting to training, aviation and logistics work after its security guards were accused of killing unarmed Iraqi civilians more than two years ago.

Despite the scrutiny, the U.S. relies heavily on Xe — pronounced “zee” — for support in Afghanistan and the workload may grow significantly.

Xe spokesman Mark Corallo declined to comment on whether the company, based in Moyock, N.C., is bidding for the Afghan police training contract. But a U.S. official knowledgeable of the deliberations said Xe is competing. The official requested anonymity to discuss sensitive information about the federal contracting process.

Xe provides security services in Afghanistan, though on a smaller scale than it did in Iraq. As of November, Xe had more than 200 security personnel on the ground in Afghanistan, according to documents highlighting Xe’s operations.

Two Xe guards were killed Dec. 30 during a suicide bombing attack at a CIA base in southeastern Afghanistan, again raising questions about services the company provides for the CIA.

Late last year, CIA Director Leon Panetta terminated the use of Xe personnel in loading and other logistics for airborne drones used to hunt militants in Pakistan. …

Read more: LINK

26. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2010
27. Madman in the Marketplace - 9 January 2010
28. marisacat - 9 January 2010

FWIW:

NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’: DNC Chairman Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA); RNC Chairman Michael Steele; Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA); roundtable with NBC’s Chuck Todd and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell

ABC’s ‘This Week’: Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors Christina Romer, roundtable with ABC’s George Will, former State Department official Liz Cheney, Bloomberg’s Al Hunt, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and PBS’s Judy Woodruff

CBS’s ‘Face the Nation’: Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Peter Hoekstra (R-MI), roundtable with the New York Times’ Peter Baker and CBS’s Jan Crawford

‘Fox News Sunday’: Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI); DNC Chairman Gov. Tim Kaine (D-VA) and RNC Chairman Michael Steele, roundtable with Fox News’s Brit Hume, NPR’s Mara Liasson, the Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol and NPR’s Juan Williams

CNN’s ‘State of the Union’: Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Sen. Joe Lieberman (I.D.-CT), Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors Christina Romer, Democratic strategist Donna Brazile and former State Department official Liz Cheney, ‘Last Word’ segment with former Gov. Doug Wilder (D-VA)

29. BooHooHooMan - 9 January 2010

Jeezis. I must’ve smoked way too much grass a youngster.

Because I now can’t help but thinking I prolly just saw the poster shot from some new movie, Circus Clowns Go To Washington

30. marisacat - 9 January 2010

neue…

LINK

………….. 🙄 ………..

31. mattes - 9 January 2010

Gaza video:

LINK


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