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Look where they live… 8 May 2009

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2010 Mid Terms, California / Pacific Coast, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, WAR!.
  Peacocks are displayed for sale on a street in Kabul Picture: AFP/GETTY

Peacocks are displayed for sale on a street in Kabul Picture: AFP/GETTY

Look where they live:  Kabul… get the peacocks – and the penhens too – flak jackets and helmets!  Of course they will very probably go into a walled estate,  a retreat more or less evocative of a Western Orientalist’s dreams, in a protected part of the greater area around Kabul.


Sort of a throwback thought here… At the Inauguration in Jan 2005, I noticed particularly that both Laura Bush and Doro, W’s sister, wore winter white suits… in the viewing box for the parade and kept them on thru some of the early evening appearances.  Neither especially struck me as winter white sorts for Washington in January… and I wondered idly as I sifted cat sand boxes – always a good place and time to think about pols and their familias – was this some sort of signal to fundie religious groups.  Wearing white as a sign of purity or cleansing or humility (such as the tedious religious subscribe, at all, to cough strangle choke humility) when a great honor is bestowed, for instance re-election?

I have no idea, really… and I put no time into it…  It did remind me of a friend in Los Angeles who told me in the year preceding Spielberg’s Academy Award win for Schindler’s List, he and Kate Capshaw lived very low to the ground…  They were not seen at the flashiest of parties or openings, no extravagant make-up nor jewels… she was practically in a babushka according to my friend… and it was to conform to, to submit to a visible regimen of humility before a great honor (or doing what it takes to win, I would say!).  An honor that of course had required many millions to die in order for the honor to be available..

Anyway, back to LB…  within a few days of Inauguration there was some Laura Bush function that was on C-Span… and boy, it was clear, she was being re-introduced to us as some sort of, all but, Mother of the Nation.  Her extra special mission was GANGS.  Lordy.

Gee… no thanks. Plus, last we ever heard of that bullshit.

In the same vein, MO is out and about.  Remember, the smile reflex can defeat the gag reflex.  So they tell me.

[M]rs. Obama was asked about her own time being separated from her husband while on the campaign trial.  The first lady said she does not compare her experience with that of military spouses in any way.

“While I was away from my husband during the time of the campaign, he wasn’t at war.  He would come home on the weekends,” she said.  “What I do know is that when you’re married to someone who feels a call to serve, you’re a part of that service as well.

My husband’s willingness to sacrifice means that I stand behind him, stand next to him, stand with him in sacrifice as well. The women and men that I’ve met who are serving along side their spouses feel the same way.”

Such a shame we have royalised the office… and annoint the inhabitants – saving a little annointing oil for the one standing behind.

So that from their Great Sacrificial Heights they can lecture us.

It really is boring.


UPDATE, 4:19 am Saturday…

One thing, as we fling ourselves into the inferno, it photographs amazingly, beautifully, in a terrible way.

Towering Palm Trees explode as flames jump across state highway 154 early Friday morning in Santa Barbara, bringing the fire dangerously close to heavily populated areas. (Keith D. Cullom / AP)

Hanging by a thread… 27 April 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2008 Election, DC Politics, Democrats, France, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

la Croisette - Cannes - Eugene Hernandez
La Croisette – Cannes – Eugene Hernandez

The day is hot, and worse, stifling. The City is entering its months long dry season, the dust will accumulate. I have shut every door that leads from a room facing South or East. West, too as the day turns to late afternoon. Shafts of harsh sun are cut off.

The mid-day offering from PBS, here at least, was a full throated, dying swan version of Manon Lescaut... The lush, respiring swamp of Puccini floats thru the house… I have it blasting from the TV in the bedroom…

Earlier today as I got more coffee from the kitchen, that TV was telling me that “Ford has caught up to Toyota in quality”. They should have added, as if it mattered by now, finally. If it has.

I dropped in last night on Danny Schechter’s News Dissector. He has been to one of the ‘Stans, for a media panel of some sort. He says the greater world, out there, pities us. I have to say I find this a flawed take, on the part of the greater world.. Disdain, disregard, dismissal (and more)… yes fine. But I still pity the world, with a thousand bases, nuclear war heads, delivery systems, a strange group in power with only a few months to go, whoever is incoming will be tested, within and without. We’re not done yet. I just read in the past days, we now have a Fourth Fleet, for the Caribbean and So America. To “take care of things”… I let the link slip away… oh, here it is, at left i on the news.

Schechter did not link to the original, but a few lines from a Sam Smith take on Obama at Undernews resonates, for me:

[F]act is, Obama is mostly pictured in the media up on a platform, mostly above his audience, visually and metaphorically. This is not all his fault but it does reflect a certain disinterest by his manipulators in risking encounters of a more personal sort. Obama has on a number of occasions even shown his discomfort just hanging with the press, let alone ordinary voters. The other day, he complained because they were asking too many questions while he was eating a photo op waffle. After all, to do something like that natural like, a guy’s got to concentrate.

A black politician who has done well with white voters recently explained that his secret was talking with them. Nothing changes views on anything quicker than personal experience.

What might have happened in Pennsylvania if there had been fewer crowd scenes and more film clips from conversations with a small group of white voters in ordinary homes?

But that isn’t in the Obama play book. You can’t be a prophet and humble at the same time.

I am not expecting much. Months ago, I wondered if, quietly without fanfare as both seem uncomfortable, Obama could have sent Jesse Jackson back to some of the same all white farm towns where, thru Willie Nelson’s Farm Aid, he went in as an organiser. Towns so tense farmers went silently to meetings wearing paper bags, lest a snitch for the government be there. In the mid 80s I read a three part profile in The New Yorker on Jesse and those years figured prominently in the snapshot they took of him. I have posted how in the 2004 run, Jesse, still with Willie, had a jobs fair in the NC Appalachia region. They invited Kerry, who was just a few miles down the road. It hardly mattered, he would not go, as the local Kerry campaign offices would not even permit them to leave a poster for the window, nor drop off flyers. Jesse has some massive flaws, but as he said, Kerry was down the road with 3,000. They had over 30,000 local people at their Fair.

It was a stray thought on my part, I don’t think it much matters. Politicians, even ones under fire, do precisely as they please.


Well… that is my view of their “big tent”… 5 April 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter.

     well... that is my view of their big tent... ;)

Just a picture to hold up a thread………..  on a Saturday….


All you can do is laugh… 2 February 2008

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, DC Politics, Democrats, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Israel/AIPAC, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, Pakistan, U.S. House, U.S. Senate, WAR!.

     Them, July 2006

They won’t be doing anything differently, come the Hosanna future that dawns post election… if you did not like the 110th but suffered on, remain bent over…

With a preponderance of attention being paid to the 2008 presidential campaign, the Senate races being waged during this cycle have gone largely ignored by the national media. Which is unfortunate because history is being made.

On Thursday, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee announced that it had raised $13.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2007, bringing its yearly total to $55.4 million. By comparison, the previous record for money raised in a year by the organization was $43.6 million in 2005.

“Every day there is more evidence that the American people are hungry for change and are looking to Democrats to provide it,” DSCC Chair, Sen. Chuck Schumer. “From successful fundraising and recruiting to record turnout in Democratic primaries, there is a wave building across the country, and with nine months to go until Election Day,

we could very well deliver lasting change.”

Try not to choke… try to swallow hard and know that Daddy Schumer (Chuck to his friends but not to you) loves you and wants what is best for you.

On the House side, the Democrats also find their coffers being stuffed. For the year, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised a record $67.5 million.

In 2008 there are 12 Democratic Senators and 23 Republican who are either retiring or are up for reelection. Of those, according to the Cook Political Report, only two Democrats face any imminent danger, while 10 Republicans find themselves in electoral crosshairs. On the House side, meanwhile, there are ten Republican seats being vacated that are deemed “toss ups” in 2008. For the Democrats that number is zero.

“In the off year you have a few jobs: recruit candidates, retain incumbents and raise money,” Matt Miller, the DSCC’s spokesperson, told the Huffington Post. “We feel good about the off year we have and now that we are in an election year we have a map where there are a number of Republicans held seats where they are playing defense and really only one Democratic seat where they have a challenger.


I read an interesting speculation, and that is all it was but I did pause, Chilliza in The Fix had a list of possible Veepessas for both Obama and Hillary.

One on Obama’s list was TIm Kaine, who supported him very early and iirc is a National Co-Chair.  He is also up in 2009, VA governor is mandated one term…


Dennis Perrin, a snip from a good post

[W]hat if it’s McCain vs. Hillary in November? Oh man, that would be a blast to witness. Two nearly identical choices for imperial manager, the one slight difference being that McCain says he’s opposed to torture, while Hillary must wait to check wind velocity and direction. I can see the liberals twisting themselves into numerous knots trying to justify a Hillary vote over McCain, assuring each other that it’s the right thing to do, and of course reaching back to Bill’s criminal years for inspiration. You mules better hope that Saint Obama gets the nod instead. At least with him, the fantasy is easier to pull off. Change! Hope! Stardust! Ponies! If I ruled the world . . .

Funny thing is, not that long ago, McCain was the liberals’ favorite Republican, especially in comparison to the Bushes. His time in a North Vietnamese cell earned McCain a lot of guilt cred among Bill Clinton’s groupies, who felt bad backing a draft dodger over a POW. So, they tried to have it both ways: Clinton, Hero President; McCain, War Hero and All Around Good Guy.

I remember it all too well.

Don’t strain, they will be reminding us.  Maybe Obama can send Kerry out to campaign against McCain.  A sick nasty old man who could level Kerry wtih a glance.  I don’t want to remember…

Here is a snip from Perrin recalling a night on Alan Colmes’ program in NYC, Perrin dared to remind three Clintonistas WHY McCain was in a POW cell in Vietnam:

At one point, Colmes … asked the panel if John McCain was a war hero. Bales puffed out his chest, tilted his head to the side, weighed the issue, then pronounced that, yes, McCain was indeed a war hero. Barrymore quickly chimed in, adding her assent, while Colmes breathlessly spoke of how honored he was to have personally met McCain and basked in his glow.

Then they all turned to me.

“Well,” I said, hesitating a moment, for I knew my answer would elicit some hostility, “I’m not sure how heroic it is to incinerate Vietnamese children.”

“OHHHHHHHHHH!!!!” was the collective reply.

Colmes told me I was tasteless. [Jaid] Barrymore said I should be ashamed of myself. Bales puffed out his chest yet again (he did this a lot during the three-hour show) and demanded to know whether I considered McCain a war criminal.

“No. Not personally. McCain didn’t create the policy. The war criminals were in Washington.”

Still, I added, that doesn’t exonerate McCain for dropping bombs on the Vietnamese.

“Oh!” squeaked Barrymore. “What should he have dropped instead — birthday presents?”

The slagging went on for a little while longer. Here I was, in the middle of three Clinton liberals, reminding them why McCain ended up in a POW cell. Not that I supported torture or reprisal beatings, but some context was in order. The Vietnamese didn’t sneak into the States and kidnap McCain from his snug bed. The three couldn’t care less. What’s more, they defended the U.S. bombing of Vietnam, at least so long as McCain was doing the killing. It was a handy reminder of how crazed liberals become when they taste a little blood.

So absolutely classic.  A moment endlessly repeated thru time. I think Pakistan is clearly being skinned and de-feathered, to be presented to us as fine case for the “blooding of the president”, whomever, which ever it will be.


This last… I bet it has McCain and the Republican machine slobbering at the bit. Kerry pulled that ‘first and foremost an Internationalist’ schtick as well.

Sorry, just don’t see new ideas from the Democratic party… not not… and more of not.

[oh right, necessary addenda:   opposing Obama does not constitute supporting HIllary — I realise that is complicated, god knows why]


“You have to show them you won’t vote for them” 19 December 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.

     Boston July 2004 
      Assassination? Terrorism? yeah right.

PBS tonight showed An Unreasonable Man, on Ralph Nader.  More than worth it, quite wonderful.

But in the middle was Lawrence O’Donnell… such a classic version of the Irish extraction doofus Dem strategist and whatever else, operative, bit of speech writing (get a glisten off those West Wing scripts)… and of course he said the very thing that matters:

You have to show them you won’t vote for them. 

He added the sub text, also classic… ”working inside the Democratic party”, he ”never had to listen to anything from the left”.

“They had nowhere to go”.

Ain’t it the truth. 

   Boston 2004

[I realise this is not news]


UPDATE, 1:07 am

Richard Holbrooke as street sweeper:

[S]enator Clinton has traveled to more than 80 countries, building relationships that will enable her to begin to restore America’s global standing, beginning on Day 1 of her Presidency. Senator Clinton is a passionate believer in diplomacy, negotiations, and the value of, well, American values. She would outlaw torture and close Guantanamo. She would make us proud again of our leadership role in the world. I know from extensive personal observation that she would be a superb negotiator and diplomat. Hillary would strengthen the U.N. and make it more effective, after the Bush Administration weakened it. :: spin and spit::

Go strangle a chicken, Dick.  You’ll feel better…


About to close the HuffPo (too tough to navigate, some popup or something is just a bear) but I see on their main Politics page (such as it is) that Ken Burns compared Obama to Lincoln.

Let me off this plane.


UPDATE, 12:23 pm

The kid is not stupid:

When Obama’s family heard they would be spending Christmas in a Des Moines hotel room, his 9-year-old daughter cried.

Craig Crawford’s blog at CQ


“Volunteer” military?

256 prisoners held at prisons in Iraq, including Abu Ghraib, filed a lawsuit on Monday against the private military contractor, CACI. The suit alleges the prisoners were repeatedly sodomized, threatened with rape, kept naked in their cells, subjected to electric shock, attacked by unmuzzled dogs and subjected to serious pain inflicted on sensitive body parts.

The suit alleges that employees of CACI directed soldiers to mistreat the prisoners.

Volunteers for what and to whom


Money money money money…….. [updated :: fire fire fire] 22 October 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, California / Pacific Coast, DC Politics, Democrats, France, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, WAR!.

   Launderette - photo - T C Breuer
       Photo – T C Breuer  ::  Margaret Truman’s Launderette

I think Carl Hiassen has this just right…

[I]n this instance, the mystery is why Clinton and the other Democrats would take a nickel from anyone so prominently linked to such slimy allegations. There are plenty of reputable (and affluent) trial lawyers who’ve never been indicted for anything.

One possible excuse is that the candidates didn’t know about the Milberg Weiss scandal, which would mean they’d been living in a subterranean cave without the benefit of newspapers, TV or the Internet.  [oh puh-leeeze… Mcat]

Another defense would be that they didn’t know about the Milberg Weiss donations, which seems farfetched considering the firm’s heavy connections to the party. After all, its lawyers kicked in $500,000 toward the construction of a new headquarters for the Democratic National Committee. 

The final possibility — and the only believable one — is that the candidates knew all about the indictments and accepted the money anyway, hoping nobody would notice.

That would be a big, fat, flapping in the air BINGO!

It’s not illegal for a politician to accept campaign contributions from a defendant in a pending bribery case, or from somebody who’s copped a guilty plea.

But it sure looks bad, not to mention hypocritical.

Not that it really matters. 


I landed on a link to this forthright [more than a few tart replies] little interview in the NYT magazine, at Angry Arab

and let me snip out the best description I have ever read for injected, plumped lips:

Are you suggesting that veiling and unveiling women are equally reductive? I disagree.

We have to look at ourselves here also. Why do all the women get plastic surgery? Why? Why? Why should we look like some freaks with big lips that look like an anus? What is so sexy about that?

What is sexy about having something that looks like a goose anus?

I never really thought about goose anatomy.

I looked when I was on a farm in France.

Travel is so broadening. 


A goose anus hanging from a human face is a good segue to this re-telling…

An emailer mentioned being at dinner in Manhattan, 4 plus the emailer.  As the political conversation devolved (talk of the Armenian Resolution and Democrats in congress) it fell to who would you vote for today

3 out of 5 declared for Hillary.  One for Colbert and one (emailer) “none of the above”. 

Now, this ws not some gathering of semi Republicans, quasi Libertarians… or what have you.  They had all marched in every anti war march in NYC, as well as travelling to DC.  One had gone to DC on inauguration January 20, 2005 in a bitter storm just to protest.

Bill and Hill rely on this vagueness of purpose from the electorate.

My own belief is that Hill and Bill are gambling on ringing in a landmark win for Democrats.  That, with Blacks lining up (and they may), Latinos lining up (and they may), the women, esp working class women, lining up (they may) as well as LGBT and assorted minorities (they may) they will not bring in a 51, 52, bare scrape to 53 per cent win (or Bill’s own 43% in the ’92 three-way), they hope to ring in a decisive majority with an historic pt spread.

Just a guess.  (Please note:  I am not saying they manage to win, I am saying that is the gamble.)

I will watch, but as in ’04 and ’06, sorry, I will not be there with them.

Oh you think this was a tad dark?  Think again. I skipped the war fronts.

  Iraq - Ed Kashi
      Iraq – Ed Kashi


, 1:11 pm

   Malibu beach October 21
Luke Schroder, 14, turns back to look at the smoke-filled sky in Malibu.  (Richard Hartog/Los Angeles Times  – October 21, 2007)

From Tijuana north to Santa Barbara the fires are not contained.  The Santa Ana winds, feeding the fires and drying the dry vegetation are not dying down:

[G]usts hit 108 mph at Whitaker Peak near Castaic Lake and 111 mph at Laguna Peak, near Point Mugu.

The powerful Santa Anas are the result of a cool high-pressure system in the Great Basin above Utah and a warmer low-pressure system along coastal Southern California.

The differential between the two systems is strong, causing winds to barrel over the desert and mountains, then through canyons to the ocean.

At the same time, other areas such as downtown L.A. and Pasadena experienced little, if any, wind Sunday.

“It’s a fickle combination of a lot of things, including the topography,” said Kelly Redmond, interim director of the Western Regional Climate Center at the Desert Research Institute in Reno.

As the moving air makes its way to the coast, it doesn’t move as a uniform sheet of air. In some parts it stagnates, in other parts it speeds up.”The erratic nature of the winds made it difficult for firefighters to battle the flames. In Malibu, the wind raged in the morning, ebbed around noon, then raged again in the late afternoon and evening.“These add to the dilemma of people fighting fires or evacuating homes,” Redmond said.“The winds are one way one minute, and it seems OK. Then they come right back again, and you think the world is ending.”

As Santa Ana winds move from high to low elevations, crossing deserts and mountains, they heat up.

That is bad news for firefighters, because the winds heat and dry already-parched vegetation.

“The relative humidity went from 60% to 70% around dawn to single digits: 5, 7, 8%,” Kenneth Reeves, director of forecasting for Accuweather.com said.


UPDATE, 3:13 pm


Learning to be white: “It is a theme that seems to have informed the youthful Republican congressman’s every step, from his decision at age 4 to jettison his given name of Piyush for that of a character in the television series “The Brady Bunch” to the attentive faith-infused courting of conservatives that led to his victory on Saturday with 54 percent of the vote….Mr. Jindal is a technocrat and a Roman Catholic convert, a policy aficionado well-versed in free-market solutions to the crisis in health insurance and a proponent of “intelligent design” as an alternative theory to evolution, suggesting it may be appropriate in school science classes.”


“Rancho Bernardo is burning to the ground due to lack of resources, while they can put an engine crew at any Malibu house at risk. My prayers go out to all affected.” — David


UPDATE, 9:43 pm – a warm night in San Francisco…

  reader photo from LAT
A view of the Witch Fire from the corner of Nordahl and Mission in Escondido.  (Submitted to YourScene – LAT – By Michelle)


UPDATED, 1:57 am Tuesday – still a warm night in San Francisco…


Firefighters trapped along a ridge near Santiago Canyon Road use fire shelters. None were seriously hurt.  (Karen Tapia / Los Angeles Times)



Washing to shore… 27 August 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2008 Election, DC Politics, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.

       Exploding whale – Tainan Taiwan – 2004

Stand back.  They are using “electability” again.  Democrats will be hearing that one for decades.  It failed miserably in ’04, so keep rolling it out. Poor Democrats, always on cruise control..

New York Magazine on Obama:

The effect on the Clinton-Obama dynamic has been appreciable. According to a recent CBS News poll, fully 82 percent of Democrats now say she has “the right kind of experience to be a good president”—compared to just 41 percent who say the same about him.

And while Democrats on average still find Obama more likable than they do Clinton, she leads him by sixteen points on the question of electability.

“Look, I find it hard to get behind her. She’s the worst of both worlds: too conventional and too divisive at the same time,” says a former Clinton White House official uncommitted to any candidate. “But Obama has been a disappointment. Playing the same card over and over, that he was against the war from the beginning, just is not enough. And it’s not just on foreign policy. Across the board, his campaign has been way too cautious, way too safe. I find myself wanting to support him, but there’s not enough there.”



the last pic of the tryptich, on the right, always looks like a pol on the hustings to me…

And, while washing to shore, use what you have

And they treated an interviewer the way politicians surely wish they could at times, refusing at first to remove their iPod earphones for a discussion of life on the trail.

“I don’t want to do this,” Jack protested to his father, John Edwards, the Democratic presidential candidate and former North Carolina senator.

“I don’t care whether you want to do this,” Mr. Edwards replied.

A moment later, Jack hid his face in his hands.

“Mr. Jack, do we need to go in the back and have a conversation?” asked Mr. Edwards, lifting his son’s head.

The boy sat for a few more minutes, fidgety but obedient, before being freed and happily bounding with his sister to the fort they were building in the back of the bus.

No criticism from me, not the first, not the last to shove the family into a perambulator and tour the country.  

Hell, wandering thru photo galleries in the local Ohio print media during the vaunted Hackett run  –  Jesus was at Fallujah too, on the side of the angels, you know –  I landed on some bizarre, surreal photos of the militarist, the Jr League (black linen, really big sunglasses) wif and the small kids, out on the Cincinnatti suburb hustings. 

Folding tables set up with war paraphernalia. His helmuts, camo gear, flak jacket, firing clips – I am not kidding…  It oozed, between bake sale and legal murder display.   Blood cupcakes anyone?

Oh yes I am so supposed to vote for that.  Not in this lifetime.


Here is a bit of a glance back, from TAPPED:

Here’s one: At the Democratic forum today, Edwards spent some time — as he often does — lamenting the fact of medical bankruptcies. This is no surprise: Elizabeth Warren, who’s done the seminal work in this area, informally advises him.

But when the Bankruptcy Bill — which Edwards voted for — came up in 2001, then-Senator Paul Wellstone offered an amendment to “create an exemption for certain debtors that can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the court that the reason for the filing was a result of debts incurred through medical expenses.” In other words, to prevent medical bankruptcies. The amendment failed, 65-34. Edwards was one of the 65 voting against it (as was BidenClinton and Dodd both voted for, and Obama wasn’t yet in the Senate). In doing, he broke with just about every liberal in the Senate. At times, votes like this can be out-of-context, as Senators kill good liberal amendments to get an important progressive bill to the floor. But the Bankruptcy Bill was hardly that. It’s a hard vote to explain. But I’d still like to hear what the Edwards camp has to say.


Clean-up in the hot sun had to be scrumptious


I landed on this little tidbitat a conservative site:

Transportation officials have closed Interstate 40 in both directions in West Memphis near the Mississippi River. Officials say an inspector discovered that a bridge pier on the approach bridge west of the river had settled overnight. The bridge on the Arkansas side is being retrofitted to make keep it stable during an earthquake. Officials say the closure is precautionary. Tennessee Department of Transportation Chief Engineer Paul Degges says the bridge is being inspected to make sure it has “not been compromised by the settlement in any way.” Degges says all lanes are blocked so inspectors can take a thorough look at the span. Motorists are being diverted to the Interstate 55 bridge over the Mississippi until further notice. Tennessee is doing the bridge work, even though it is on the Arkansas side. (WREG)

But not to worry about the I-35 in Minneapolis.  The Republicans plan their convention there next year.  New Orleans will languish, but the bridge over the Mississippi up north, at Minneapolis will be fixed.


Couple of comments from the previous thread, from D Throat

D. Throat | |

Finally someone is “whispering” about Clinton’s Banking Reform failure… “the revocation that dare not speak it’s name”:


Fed bends rules to help two big banks

If the Federal Reserve is waiving a fundamental principle in banking regulation, the credit crunch must still be sapping the strength of America’s biggest banks. Fortune’s Peter Eavis documents an unusual Fed move.

FORTUNE Magazine
By Peter Eavis, Fortune writer
August 24 2007: 5:09 PM EDT

NEW YORK (Fortune) — In a clear sign that the credit crunch is still affecting the nation’s largest financial institutions, the Federal Reserve agreed this week to bend key banking regulations to help out Citigroup (Charts, Fortune 500) and Bank of America (Charts, Fortune 500), according to documents posted Friday on the Fed’s web site. (aka Friends of Bill Clinton)

The Aug. 20 letters from the Fed to Citigroup and Bank of America state that the Fed, which regulates large parts of the U.S. financial system, has agreed to exempt both banks from rules that effectively limit the amount of lending that their federally-insured banks can do with their brokerage affiliates. (Just smell what that Rock is cooking… gee kinda smells like 1929) The exemption, which is temporary, means, for example, that Citigroup’s Citibank entity can substantially increase funding to Citigroup Global Markets, its brokerage subsidiary. Citigroup and Bank of America requested the exemptions, according to the letters, to provide liquidity to those holding mortgage loans, mortgage-backed securities, and other securities.

This unusual move by the Fed shows that the largest Wall Street firms are continuing to have problems funding operations during the current market difficulties, according to banking industry skeptics. The Fed’s move appears to support the view that even the biggest brokerages have been caught off guard by the credit crunch and don’t have financing to deal with the resulting dislocation in the markets. The opposing, less negative view is that the Fed has taken this step merely to increase the speed with which the funds recently borrowed at the Fed’s discount window can flow through to the bond markets, where the mortgage mess has caused a drying up of liquidity.

On Wednesday, Citibank and Bank of America said that they and two other banks accessed $500 million in 30-day financing at the discount window. A Citigroup spokesperson declined to comment. Bank of America dismissed the notion that Banc of America Securities is not well positioned to fund operations without help from the federally insured bank. “This is just a technicality to allow us to use our regular channels of business with funds from the Fed’s discount window,” says Bob Stickler, spokesperson for Bank of America. “We have no current plans to use the discount window beyond the $500 million announced earlier this week.”

There is a good chance that other large banks, like J.P. Morgan (Charts, Fortune 500), have been granted similar exemptions. The Federal Reserve and J.P. Morgan didn’t immediately comment.

(WSWK: Wall Street Welfare Kings… It is sickening to see that the only reason Reagan and Clinton have gotten this far is because the tapped Americans hatred towards poor Black people… Reforming Welfare as we know it…. yeah by give 100 times as much welfare to the rich)

The regulations in question effectively limit a bank’s funding exposure to an affiliate to 10% of the bank’s capital. But the Fed has allowed Citibank and Bank of America to blow through that level. Citigroup and Bank of America are able to lend up to $25 billion apiece under this exemption, according to the Fed. If Citibank used the full amount, “that represents about 30% of Citibank’s total regulatory capital, which is no small exemption,” says Charlie Peabody, banks analyst at Portales Partners.

The Fed says that it made the exemption in the public interest, because it allows Citibank to get liquidity to the brokerage in “the most rapid and cost-effective manner possible.”


Aug 27, 11:02 AM —


And Part Two:

D. Throat | |

Seems like Word press is now limiting text… here is the second part of the above:

(Gee… I think he is talking about Clinton revoking the Glass Steagall Act… yunno the one that made it impossible to “accidentally have another Depression because companies like…. well like the very ones mentioned in this article Citicorp and JP Morgan (a do over) to mix brokerages and banking… which may lead to over extension…. yeah… like what the Fed just did giving them 500 million A PIECE with no assets to back it up….. The economy goes boom… no wonder Sarkozy is distancing himself… and instead of stockbroker jumping out of window… the inner cabinet is resigning… probably heading out to the “homestead” in South America…)

Sure, the temporary nature of the move makes it look slightly less serious, but the Fed didn’t give a date in the letter for when this exemption will end. In addition, the sheer size of the potential lending capacity at Citigroup and Bank of America – $25 billion each – is a cause for unease.

Indeed, this move to exempt Citigroup casts a whole new light on the discount window borrowing that was revealed earlier this week. At the time, the gloss put on the discount window advances was that they were orderly and almost symbolic in nature. But if that were the case, why the need to use these exemptions to rush the funds to the brokerages?

Expect the discount window borrowings to become a key part of the Fed’s recovery strategy for the financial system. The Fed’s exemption will almost certainly force its regulatory arm to sharpen its oversight of banks’ balance sheets, which means banks will almost certainly have to mark down asset values to appropriate levels a lot faster now. That’s because there is no way that the Fed is going to allow easier funding to lead to a further propping up of asset prices.

Don’t forget: The Federal Reserve is in crisis management at the moment. However, it doesn’t want to show any signs of panic. That means no rushed cuts in interest rates. It also means that it wants banks to quickly take the big charges that will inevitably come from holding toxic debt securities. And it will do all it can behind the scenes to work with the banks to help them get through this upheaval. But waiving one of the most important banking regulations can only add nervousness to the market. And that’s what the Fed did Monday in these disturbing letters to the nation’s two largest banks. Top of page

Find this article at:  money.cnn.com…

Aug 27, 11:03 AM —

********* close of D Throat comments *********


Apologies about Word PRess.  It is a mess.  The Spam Filter is still blocked (nothing in it for three hours, I get over 800 spam a day)… and sometimes comments take minutes to appear.  Pages are slow, the comment form is slow.  ”Back pages” seem to be on a dying mule.

They need Liquid Plummer. Badly.


One more from the previous thread:

D. Throat |

Marie EXCELLENT diary


Marie there is a very interesting comment in your diary:

I was at the Fed in 1987 (0+ / 0-)

Recommended by:

and I remember the events of October very clearly. Most of my colleagues had been working much longer than I had and they were all worried about the values of their mutual funds and pension schemes. I had nothing but student loans to pay, so nothing to lose.

Anyone who thinks that the Federal Reserve is above being interested in the price of markets so long as there is adequate transparency and price discovery is stupid. Everyone who has savings in bonds and stocks will be watching the charts as a market crashes – including the lawyers and economists at the Fed.

I was part of the team that dissassembled Glass-Steagall, and part of the team that dissassembled the McFadden Act (the other depression era law that banned interstate banking to “keep Wall Street bankers from spreading speculation to Main Street”. In retrospect I think we probably got it wrong to let the banks have their way because there is no doubt that they have leveraged the economy into a very dangerous state. Any little problem in the credit markets could now tip a large proportion of the economy into a spiral of decline. And Bush only knows how to create problems . . .

“It ain’t what people don’t know that hurts `em – it’s what they do know that ain’t true.” – Will Rogers

by LondonYank on Mon Aug 27, 2007 at 02:16:49 PM PDT

Please do tell more!!!

Aug 27, 2:37 PM

*********** close of comment *************

Right… it’s an opinion 25 August 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2006 Mid Terms, 2008 Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems.

   It's not just the Bloo Dogs.  It's all of them.

 .. holding up a thread.



Doin’ my bit for Dem Majorities… 24 August 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2008 Election, Culture of Death, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Iraq War, WAR!.

     White House photo
President Bush and Robert Blackwill at the White House in August 2004. Blackwill served as Bush’s point man on Iraq before departing government service to become president of Barbour, Griffith, and Rogers International, whose clients include a top Maliki critic, Ayad Allawi.

This story has been out and about for around 36 – 48 hours, think TPM picked up the IraqSlogger breaking story of the 23rd… and TAPPED reported on both of them (don’t you luv the Blahgs?)

I am riding it just to post the pic. Linger looking at it for a minute, or two. You know, Meteor Blades ws so offended a few months ago, during one of his righteous drop-ins, that I don’t spend enough time slamming the Republicans.

So, here.  I did my bit.


The latest email from Madam Speaker (doin’ her bit):

Dear San Franciscan,

On Wednesday, President Bush attempted to justify his stay-the-course strategy in Iraq by offering false lessons from history.  However, the American people have already judged the President’s war in Iraq as the wrong war at the wrong time, and are ready for our troops to come home.

» To read my statement in response to President Bush’s speech click here.

Next month, Army General David Petraeus and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker are scheduled to brief Congress about the White House report on military and political progress in Iraq.  The question this report must answer is: why does the Administration continue to risk the lives of our brave troops in a civil war when the Iraqi government refuses to take the political steps necessary to end the sectarian violence?  Yesterday’s new National Intelligence Estimate report on Iraq provided further evidence that the Iraqi government is failing to reach political reconciliation.

After nearly five years of a failed policy in Iraq resulting in over 3,600 troops killed, thousands more wounded, and nearly $500 billion, the American people deserve a candid assessment of the situation in Iraq.

» To read my statement regarding the progress report click here.

An overwhelming majority of the American public have called for an end to the war in Iraq and a redeployment of our troops. [snip]

Yes… and why is the 110th congress at 18% in the polls?  The lowest — ever?


To bring a comment forward from the previous thead:

D. Throat | |


Dodd is pretending to come to the rescue of the financial ruin he created. Remember Dodd was Clinton’s point man in the Senate in their scheme to revoke the Glass Steagall Act which had plugged up the hole in the markets making them secure since the Depression.


Dodd’s Plan for the Mortgage Crisis

by Melissa Ryan, Fri Aug 24, 2007 at 12:51:02 PM EST

One thing I really like about Chris Dodd is his expertise and commitment to financial issues, especially when it comes to predatory lending. The mortgage crisis is a growing concern for me and I expect Dodd, both as my Senator and Chair of the Senate Banking Committee, to be a leader in facing it.

This week Dodd met with Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke to discuss options. Today he released his own plan which includes steps for both immediate action and fundamental reform.

Over the past six years the Republican response to concerns about the economy was the housing market. Home ownership is up! Housing prices are going up! How can the economy be hurting when the housing market is doing so well? For some reason I haven’t heard that particular talking point lately. I wonder why.

Make no mistake it took a long time to create this situation and any solution must also be long term. One of Dodd’s biggest strengths as a candidate is his passion for fighting against predatory lending practices. There is no candidate I trust more to lead America out of the mortgage crisis.

No… it took the CEO of Citicorp bags of monies to Clinton to have FDR’s safety net removed with the help of Dodd. It is amazing the outright lies touted by Dems.

After 12 attempts in 25 years, Congress finally repeals Glass-Steagall, rewarding financial companies for more than 20 years and $300 million worth of lobbying efforts. Supporters hail the change as the long-overdue demise of a Depression-era relic.

On Oct. 21, with the House-Senate conference committee deadlocked after marathon negotiations, the main sticking point is partisan bickering over the bill’s effect on the Community Reinvestment Act, which sets rules for lending to poor communities. Sandy Weill calls President Clinton in the evening to try to break the deadlock after Senator Phil Gramm, chairman of the Banking Committee, warned Citigroup lobbyist Roger Levy that Weill has to get White House moving on the bill or he would shut down the House-Senate conference. Serious negotiations resume, and a deal is announced at 2:45 a.m. on Oct. 22. Whether Weill made any difference in precipitating a deal is unclear.

On Oct. 22, Weill and John Reed issue a statement congratulating Congress and President Clinton, including 19 administration officials and lawmakers by name. The House and Senate approve a final version of the bill on Nov. 4, and Clinton signs it into law later that month.

Just days after the administration (including the Treasury Department) agrees to support the repeal, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, the former co-chairman of a major Wall Street investment bank, Goldman Sachs, raises eyebrows by accepting a top job at Citigroup as Weill’s chief lieutenant. The previous year, Weill had called Secretary Rubin to give him advance notice of the upcoming merger announcement. When Weill told Rubin he had some important news, the secretary reportedly quipped, “You’re buying the government?”

Midnight Talks Closed Deal on Financial Overhaul
# Issue in Depth Banking Reform: Beyond Glass-Steagall

At a fund-raiser at Senator Edward M. Kennedy’s home here shortly after 6 o’clock on Thursday evening, President Clinton asked one of his closest friends in the Senate, Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, how the talks were going with Republicans over the most important financial legislation since the Great Depression.

Dodd was not optimistic about the bill, which had reached the point of do or die. After four days of bitter polemic between Senator Phil Gramm, the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, and Administration officials, the two sides were stuck over highly symbolic and racially tinged community lending rules that threatened to rip the legislation apart.

The discussions had become so poisoned by Thursday night that Gramm threatened both the White House’s top economic adviser, Gene Sperling, and the head of Citigroup that he would pull the plug on the bill, something neither the Administration nor Wall Street wanted.

But Dodd returned to the Capitol and, with a handful of other Democrats from the Banking Committee, slowly managed to turn Gramm around in an emotional confrontation in a tiny back office crammed with three dozen lawmakers and aides and Administration officials.There, they agreed to split a critical difference — giving Gramm one provision he wanted that would make community lending advocates more accountable, and giving the White House what it wanted by making sure banks provided credit in poor communities before entering new lines of business.


Aug 24, 10:47 AM —

******** close of comment from D.Throat ********


    b/hill  june 2006 Newsday photo

Speaking of the Clintons.  One or the other.  Who knows which is which, pulling forward a comment of Revisionist’s that did make me smile:

Revisionist | |

Just got an earful on the bus from some old coots leaving the VA. Korea was a mistake. Viet Nam pointless. Gulf I a joke and Iraq the most idiotic thingthe US has ever done. (but WW2 was the bomb). Brief foray into poor JFK and how he wouldnt have gotten us into the war.

This lead into a discussion about the jellyfish do-nothing congress which lead to Mrs Clinton.

She is none too popular and they think the Repubs want her to run because she is the easiest to beat.

It was like being on a non-affiliated blahg except we were all aged moderate vets.

Word on the bus is no one is buying what Hillary is selling.

Aug 24, 11:21 AM

****** close of comment from Revisionist ******


Last but hardly least, oh that sly IOZ, this one made me laugh.

Just doing my bit for Dem Majorities.  Which, surprisingly, I do want to see.  Big ones.


Oops! IOZ is neither last nor least… Hersh has an interview in Adbusters, here is a snip:

DC: Given that you’ve been following US governments since basically Vietnam, how does this administration’s foreign policy compare?

SH: Well, it’s a joke. Look, even in Vietnam, in the worst days, you always had Kissinger. I never thought I’d say it, but if we had a Kissinger around, we at least could be reasonably sure that what seems to be an insane policy would have some protocol to fill. At one point, I remember Kissinger in the early 70s trying to strike a deal to buy, I think, 12 years worth of oil from the Shah of Iran at a bargain price, ten or 12 bucks a barrel, and that would have explained some of the huge arms deals that were going into this failing state. It was inexplicable except there was a side deal. So you always thought, okay, maybe you can’t always see it. So if Kissinger were here, this insanity we’re seeing right now concerning the war in Iraq might be tied to the argument that maybe it’s hiding some complicated form that we just can’t figure out. But without a guy like Kissinger, what you see is what you got.

[Geesh, thanks Hersh, I will do without Kissinger, if it is all the same to you.  Not that he is ever really gone.  Like McNamara, Meese, Colson and a few others.  — Mcat]

DC: But you have to wonder if there is some underlying logic. You touched on the chaos model. Iraq appears to be a disaster for US foreign policy but it may not be to people on the inside. You’ve basically inoculated Iraq; you’re close to Iran; you’ve got a big embassy going up; a permanent base in the Middle East; you’re selling arms by the billions.

[Bingo on that graf!  — Mcat]

SH: I don’t buy that. You could argue that the Israelis can move their anti-missile weapons from the borders in Iraq to other borders. But nah, it’s a disaster. Of course they had planned to grab the oil, and they are building a new facility in the Green Zone. And they are probably building at least one base about which we don’t know much. Apparently there is a lot of concrete being poured on the ground somewhere near the border with Iran. They are thinking about permanent bases. It was all part of the strategic plan, but they’re not going to be able to hold any of it. The end will be pretty brutal. In the end the embassy will crumble. It will all fall down. The chaos theory, in broad terms, is simply to let it all go up in smoke. But I don’t believe there is any way that this can work out in a way that makes sense. Even for the Straussian believers in controlled destruction. But again, it could be right. We don’t get much straight talk from this president. One of the American enemies down the line will always be the Saudis. We know they’ve played games, they’ve financed a lot of Salafi groups around the world. And the idea that Saudi Arabia is a moderate state, that Jordan is a moderate state when Abdullah II is holding on by the skin of his teeth, or Mubarak in Egypt who is certainly anything but a democrat. All of these countries are pretty marginal. So I just don’t know what’s going to happen [snip]


Bleh… 23 August 2007

Posted by marisacat in 2004 Election, 2008 Election, DC Politics, Inconvenient Voice of the Voter, Lie Down Fall Down Dems, U.S. Senate.


look at our hearty… revolutionaries?  Hardly… I am your Goldwater Girl on the far end of the panel.  Then the dying Straight Talk Express… and then… Joe [and Zell — somehow not in this wonderful photograph] so show what a sham and a skeleton the Democratic party is.

In the wake of the ’04 cycle, hard to call it much more, it came out that Lieberman had campaigned unofficially for Bush in the greater Miami area.  On campaign stages and at GOTV meetings, he would say, Bush is Better for the Security of America and Israel.  I called it BIB, Bush is Better and posted about it in an Open Thread at Orange Place.  Not too well received, btw… 😉

C-Span covered a GOPac post election breakfast with Mona Charen and Gingrich and they openly thanked Lieberman from the podium ofr his work on the campaign.

And Zell, well he stood by Bush and called for “discerning Democrats” to come on down and make a deal.

Only Jimmy Carter publicly called him out, in an opinion piece published nationally.

What a joke it all is.

Just an overnight thread. Oh and remember, some of the Boyz say Lamont pushed Joe out of the party.

Really bad when you push such lousy failing propaganda.


Just saw this at the end of the preceeding thread, and it belongs here… btw, those bilious types in the photo up top?  All Bush Dogs.


my nomination for a top comment, in the stoller diary

Really? (2+ / 0-)

Cause it sounds to me like a bait and switch. Let’s blame it all on a few House members and give the leadership a pass. Let’s give the Senate a pass too.

And what are these profiles supposed to accomplish? Nothing except to maybe make a few disgruntled progressives feel like they’re doing something.

I mean if the DCCC came up with this idea just to try to stop the hemorrhaging of the Democratic base, it couldn’t be any more worthless.

Or, since Mr Stoller campaigned for the oh-so-progressive, former chair of Goldman Sachs, John Corzine, maybe it was his idea.

Notice also that almost all of these people on the list are so used to running as Republicans that they can probably use their “Profile” in their campaigns next year.

I ain’t buying it.

by TocqueDeville on Wed Aug 22, 2007 at 04:04:39 PM PDT