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Barack Obama and General Electric: Why MSNBC and NBC Talking Heads Supported Obama So Vociferously

President Barack Obama and GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt

President Barack Obama and GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt

It is starting to look like General Electric is Barack Obama’s Halliburton.

A “Negotiated Settlement” of the Olbermann-O’Reilly Media War

Yesterday Dakinikat wrote a post on the “negotiated settlement” in which Keith Olbermann of MSNBC and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News were silenced by their respective corporate masters, General Electric and News Corp. Here’s a little refresher. From The New York Times:

At an off-the-record summit meeting for chief executives sponsored by Microsoft in mid-May, the PBS interviewer Charlie Rose asked Jeffrey Immelt, chairman of G.E., and his counterpart at the News Corporation, Rupert Murdoch, about the feud.

Both moguls expressed regret over the venomous culture between the networks and the increasingly personal nature of the barbs. Days later, even though the feud had increased the audience of both programs, their lieutenants arranged a cease-fire, according to four people who work at the companies and have direct knowledge of the deal.

GE and News Corp were concerned that the long-running feud between Olbermann and O’Reilly was hurting the parent corporations’ business interests.

Over time, G.E. and the News Corporation concluded that the fighting “wasn’t good for either parent,” said an NBC employee with direct knowledge of the situation. But the session hosted by Mr. Rose provided an opportunity for a reconciliation, sealed with a handshake between Mr. Immelt and Mr. Murdoch.

But like any title fight, the final round could not end without an attempted knockout. On June 1, the day after the abortion provider George Tiller was killed in Kansas, Mr. Olbermann took to the air to cite Mr. O’Reilly’s numerous references to “Tiller, the baby killer” and to announce that he would retire his caricature of Mr. O’Reilly.

“The goal here is to get this blindly irresponsible man and his ilk off the air,” he said.

The next day, Mr. O’Reilly made the extraordinary claim that “federal authorities have developed information about General Electric doing business with Iran, deadly business” and published Mr. Immelt’s e-mail address and mailing address, repeating it slowly for emphasis.

Then the attacks mostly stopped.

Shortly afterward, Phil Griffin, the MSNBC president, told producers that he wanted the channel’s other programs to follow Mr. Olbermann’s lead and restrain from criticizing Fox directly, according to two employees. At Fox News, some staff members were told to “be fair” to G.E.

Reaction from Blogger Glenn Greenwald

Dakinikat also quoted from Glenn Greenwald’s piece in Salon in which he points out that the author of the NYT article quoted above, Brian Stelter, apparently didn’t understand or perhaps didn’t care that he was reporting on censorship of news programs by two giant corporations.

So now GE is using its control of NBC and MSNBC to ensure that there is no more reporting by Fox of its business activities in Iran or other embarrassing corporate activities, while News Corp. is ensuring that the lies spewed regularly by its top-rated commodity on Fox News are no longer reported by MSNBC….

This is hardly the first time evidence of corporate control over the content of NBC and MSNBC has surfaced. Last May, CNN’s Jessica Yellin said that when she was at MSNBC, “the press corps was under enormous pressure from corporate executives, frankly, to make sure that this [the Iraq War] was a war that was presented in a way that was consistent with the patriotic fever in the nation”; “the higher the president’s approval ratings, the more pressure I had from news executives … to put on positive stories about the president”; and “they would turn down stories that were more critical and try to put on pieces that were more positive.” Katie Couric said that when she was at NBC, “there was a lot of undercurrent of pressure not to rock the boat for a variety of reasons, where it was corporate reasons or other considerations” not to be too critical of the Bush administration. MSNBC’s rising star, Ashleigh Banfield, was demoted and then fired after she criticized news media organizations generally, and Fox News specifically, for distorting their war coverage to appear more pro-government. And, of course, when MSNBC canceled Phil Donahue’s show in the run-up to the Iraq war despite its being that network’s highest-rated program, a corporate memo surfaced indicating that the company had fears of being associated with an anti-war and anti-government message.

Why did MSNBC Support Obama So Strongly?

What I’m wondering now is why did MSNBC support Barack Obama so strongly during the primaries, and why did they do everything they could to destroy Hillary Clinton’s candidacy? I admit, I bought into the notion that talking heads Chris Matthews, Keith Olbermann, and David Shuster were really huge fans of Obama.

In the light of this latest turn of events, I have to ask, were the on-air personalities at MSNBC really that biased, or were they acting on orders passed down from GE Chairman Jeffrey Immelt? Did Immelt know ahead of time that Obama administration would look favorably on GE after they helped him win the nomination and the general election? Is it possible that Clinton wasn’t as amenable as Obama to making commitments to provide financial benefits to GE ahead of the nomination and election? Because Obama’s policies and appointments clearly have been a big help to GE in their current economic troubles. Continue reading

Thursday Morning News Links (with a little help from my friend Katiebird)

harvard.square

News from the Boston Area

Good morning, Conflucians! It’s another gray day in New England, but at least the Red Sox are still in first place.

Kansas City Royals play Red Sox this weekend.

José Guillen returned to the lineup — but as the designated hitter — and could spend time this weekend battling the Green Monster, the big left-field wall at Boston’s Fenway Park, in an effort to reduce strain on his aching legs.

Good luck with that, old man.

In other provincial news, legendary local gangster Whitey Bulger is still on the run, and his crimes are still being investigated and prosecuted.

Tall ships arrive in Boston (gorgeous photos!)

Mass. becomes the first state to challenge Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

“Our familes, our communities, and even our economy have seen the many important benefits that have come from recognizing equal marriage rights and, frankly, no downside,” Attorney General Martha Coakley said this afternoon at a news conference announcing the lawsuit. “However, we have also seen how many of our married residents and their families are being hurt by a discriminatory, unprecedented, and, we believe, unconstitutional law.”

Texting trolley driver indicted in crash

Governor’s Race Heats Up in Mass. (scroll down for story)

After years of consideration, republican Charlie Baker has decided to quit his lucrative job as CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care so he can devote his full time to a 2010 Massachusetts gubernatorial bid.

News from Another Corrupt State

Ex-Blagojevich aide pleads guilty, will testify

A blow for Illinois’s Blagojevich in corruption case

Illinois political floodgates open after Madigan passes on governor, Senate bids.

News from Washington, DC

Democrats say CIA deceived Congress for years.

Obama threatens veto of intelligence bill.

Healthcare overhaul bill stalls in Congress

What’s So Scary About Offering People the Option of a Public Health Plan?

Howard Dean: This is ridiculous. We’re 60 Years Behind the Times” on Fixing Health Care

Your candidate won, Howie. So why are you whining?

Cities Lose Out on Road Funds From Federal Stimulus

For [Marion] Barry, a Familiar Script Takes an Unfamiliar Twist Continue reading

Tuesday Ramblings plus a Caption This Photo!

CAPTION THIS PHOTO:

whitehouse

Write your caption in the comments section!

Hello my dearest Conflucians!  We’ve been doing a lot of money talk here at the blog.   Even though I don’t know jack about finance or economics like my more illustrious brethren here, I thought I’d add my two cents (about what we all have in our wallets and purses now) regarding the crisis.

So, anybody feel that Obama brand of Hope pouring through your soul?

Yeah, me neither.

Instead, I feel fear and cynicism all rolled up in a ball of “f__k you” and it’s the same kind I felt during the Bush 2.0 years.

Remember 7 years ago when Bush took office and brought us the Iraq war based on false information?  Yeah, and 7 years later we are still fighting that war.   BASED ON FALSE INFORMATION.   From my view at the bottom of the totem pole, I can’t shake the feeling that our financial meltdown is engineered the same exact way the Iraq War was.  And since it’s Tinfoil Tuesday (h/t to Stateofdisbelief), I’m betting that all this financial meltdown is an illusion made to appear like a crisis/catastrophe.  Here’s a quote from Conflucian Resident Economist DakiniKat that really stuck out at me:

The market seems to have stabilized for awhile as Ben Bernanke has been giving speeches and making appearances every where he can.  For those of you  that really want to take on empirical studies in Economics (econometrics and all), this is a part of a strategy he outlined in  Monetary Policy.

From my simplistic, peasant, lay-woman’s point of view, Wall Street is just some glorified Las Vegas gambling casino without the neon lights and flashy shows, although it very well could be.   It’s all speculation, opinion-based gambling.  For example, if there’s a rumor that corn farmers are scared that next years crops aren’t going to be as plentiful as last year, suddenly you see corn stock (pun intended) plummet and by the end of the day thousands of workers are laid off.   All based on speculation.  There’s no gradual or incremental adjustment to curtail the possible loss of corn, no riding out the storm, none of those things.  Actions are taken swiftly and severely in a matter of hours.  You punch in at 8 am, rumor gets released at 9:30am, stockbrokers go bezerk on the trading floor by 10:00am and you walk out with a pink slip by 5:00pm.   Who suffers?  You and me.  Who started the rumor?   No one will ever know (because no one is held accountable anymore), maybe a sugar ethanol lobbyist firm, who knows?   Then the fear/hope peddling cycle goes wash, rinse, repeat.

Yet in the same way Wall Street reacts to bad news via the government, all it takes are positive words and Wall Street shall be healed.  Here’s what Big Dawg said:

It used to be gospel in the nation’s power center: Presidents didn’t talk publicly about what the markets were doing. The notion was that anything a president said on this subject could be too easily misinterpreted, sending Wall Street into a dive.

Now, former President Clinton says he thinks President Barack Obama should talk more optimistically about the prospects that the nation will recover from its current deep economic woes.

Remember Obama’s quote regarding pressuring Congress to pass the stimulus package because a failure to act “could turn a crisis into a catastrophe.” President Obama learned that fearmongering got Bush 2.0 what he wanted, so he’s continuing the fear-peddling push.  Scare the masses into submission!  Worked for Stalin & Bush 2.0.  F__k Hope.

Color me a rainbow of stupid, but I ask myself the following questions:

  • If Wall Street is the gear that keeps America afloat since so many of our conglomerates which own everything trade publically, why do they depend on the government for morale-boosting if they are that powerful?
  • Why is it that Wall Street trading goes up when positive words are spewed by the President and the Cabinet, or it goes waaaay down when negative words are said, like “stimulus package?”
  • Who the f__k is really in control?  Is it truly Wall Street?  Who controls who?
  • And why is it that the only people that are benefiting from everything are banking conglomerates? And like MYIQ said below, where’s the money?
  • Bush 2.0’s agenda was clear as a bell.  Bush 2.0 started a war to get the oil speculators going batsh_t crazy and hike the price of gas and oil, which made Exxon-Mobil and other oil companies VERY happy while many families around the world choose between fuel or food.   But what is Obama’s agenda? Instead of oil, Obama is favoring the super elite global bankers.   What is it that global bankers want?
  • And what happens to us, the people who sweat and bleed to make this country the great place it should and could be?

Well, looks like Obama and the O Cabinet are heeding Big Dawg’s words, because some of the pesky peons that Hillary and Bill understand so well  (i.e. the people footing the bill a.k.a you and me) aren’t as drunk on the Hopium as Obama (and the media) would like.  Daily Telegraph from the UK has this to say:

Barack Obama goes upbeat on economy after popularity declines

President Barack Obama has launched an upbeat strategy over the economy in the face of approval ratings that have dipped below those of George W Bush at the same stage of his presidency.

As well as sounding more optimistic, the president will push more aggressively against Republican critics – painting them as belonging to a “party of no” – and sharply remind the public that the problems he has to cope with were very largely inherited from Mr Bush.

Mr Obama is changing his rhetorical course after criticism from fellow Democrats, including former President Bill Clinton, that he has sounded too negative in the first weeks of his presidency.

This week he will speak forcefully to Congress and the public about the need to pass his $3.6 trillion budget, which will double the national deficit, while stressing his belief that there is hope ahead.

The new president has already told an audience of business leaders that the economic crisis “is not as bad we think”. Over the weekend, Mr Obama assured investors of the soundness of investments in the US economy, after Chinese premier Wen Jiabao expressed his alarm about the safety of the “massive” number of US Treasury bonds Beijing was buying.

“There’s a reason why even in the midst of this economic crisis you’ve seen actual increases in investment flows here into the United States,” Mr Obama said. “I think it’s a recognition that the stability not only of our economic system, but also our political system, is extraordinary.

“I think that not just the Chinese government, but every investor, can have absolute confidence in the soundness of investments in the United States,” he added.

And of course, let’s make China super confident that their investment in the US of A is safe and sound.   Ni Hao, Wen Jiabao!  A-OK in the USA!  Mi casa es su casa, right Wen?

But wait, here comes Larry to add his input as well:

Lawrence Summers, chairman of the national economic council, exemplified the administration’s new approach with a populist swipe at AIG for paying in excess of $100 million in bonuses to staff, despite receiving $170 billion of taxpayers money.

“There are a lot of terrible things that have happened in the last 18 months, but what’s happened at AIG is the most outrageous,” he said on ABC on Sunday.

Mr Summers has also said Americans are showing “too much fear” about the economy.

Ok, let me stop right there.  Larry Summers???  Populist???  Outraged over AIG getting bonus money from the bailout???  BWAHHAHAHA!!!!   Slap on the wrist for AIG!  Bad little bankers!   Americans showing too much fear?  So it’s now OUR FAULT we’re feeling fear?  BTW, China, it’s not our corrupt government giving banking conglomerates unlimited amounts of money that’s at fault, it’s our citizens freaking out over nothing!  Nothing to see here.

Earth to Larry Summers:  When you are at your job and 1/2 of the workers on your floor are suddenly asked to leave at the bat of an eye, wouldn’t you be afraid?   When you’ve scrimped and saved for retirement only to watch that 401K lose 10-15 years worth of investment, with businesses suddenly shutting down, industries coming to a screeching halt, wouldn’t you be afraid?   It’s like RD said this morning:  it’s financial terrorism.  And with oligarchal and misogynist assholes like Larry Summers (among the many in Obama’s cabinet), running this whole speculation game from his cushy office, betting on fear/hope and gambling away the future of America like a craps game in the Bellagio, I’m very frightened.  And there is nothing Larry or his puppet prince president can do or say anything to change that except saying the words “I RESIGN FROM OFFICE, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY.”

Despite the control the financial sector has on the White House, Wall Street also controls the financial sanctity of our nation.  If all they need are inspiring words to invest and trade confidently for our nation to prosper, I hope that they can see these:

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around [the banks] will deprive the people of all property until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

  • Thomas Jefferson, (Attributed)
    3rd president of US (1743 – 1826)
  • Let Thomas Jefferson repeat that last part again:

    The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.

    And with the 2 or 3 bailouts (I’ve lost count) – WE, THE PEOPLE, are the owners of these institutions.  We always had the power, it’s just that the perception buttons of hope/fear is what controls Wall Street and in turn, Wall Street controls our livelihoods and/or survival.

    And I’m f__cking tired of it.

    I was going to post Rage Against the Machine’s – “Killing in the Name,”  but for some reason the video’s not showing in the preview, so here it is.

    The financial machine  is killing the name of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I don’t know what to do next, except the only thing people do when they’ve had enough.   Protest.

    PS:  To the Irish Conflucians, Happy St. Pat’s Day!

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    The payoffs – and obstacles – to attending to women’s work in the current economy

    Brace yourself. I know this will come as a great shock, but the economic stimulus package does not, in the opinion of genuine academics, address gender realities in the economy.

    From a must-read column by Professor Mimi Abramovitz:

    Contrary to popular wisdom, spending on services like health care and education produces a bigger bang for the economic-stimulus buck than billions of dollars devoted to roads and bridges. …. For years service jobs have been “reserved” for women. Could this be why mostly male economists have pushed for “shovel ready” jobs held mostly by men as the way to dig us out of the economic quagmire? Could it be that sustaining the male-breadwinner and female-homemaker division of labor trumped economic good sense?

    From Professor Susan Feiner learn about W.E.A.V.E and its position on the current stimulus package:

    No. 1: Revive and enforce Labor Department regulations requiring affirmative action for all federal contractors.

    No. 2: Set aside apprenticeship and training programs in infrastructure projects for women and people of color. Both groups are seriously underrepresented in the construction trades.

    No. 3: Spend recovery money on projects in health, child care, education and social services.

    Before going into detail on these three targets, let’s also look at two over-arching problems with the current plan: Too meager, too male.

    Women make up a huge proportion of the workforce, they own homes in ever greater numbers, they have consumer clout - but economically, women are systemically disadvantaged in ways that make put them at greater financial risk then  men. Whether it be for reasons of justice or reasons of prudence, our country cannot afford economic measures that do not address this disparity in risk. We must design economic programs that put women forward.

    Senate Saturday Stimulus Session Liveblog

    [Billy Preston's "Will It Go Round In Circles" performed by Paul Weller band.]

    February, 7, 2009 — Liveblogging the Senate debate on the huge, now $1.2 trillion bill. Quoted from live testimony, as best I can keep up with the typing, for as long as it’s interesting — or should I say frustrating. Why am I agreeing with the Republicans’ caution? As you know, I’ve always, until last year, been a Democrat. But never mind about that — that gets back to a great point made down page by Johann: it doesn’t matter how we got here, stop blaming each other and get to explaining what the bill will do and to making one that actually creates jobs.

    And so they go, around, and around, and around, and around . . . .

    Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL —

    The new OBM Director, whose nomination  both Democrats and Republicans just approved, reported that the $1.1 trillion stimulus package will create jobs that “cost” between $100,000 – $300,000. Some reports say the number is as high as $900,000 per job. My non-econ brain thinks this means that there’s so much other spending besides job creation that what it costs to produce each job averages out to that.

    Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-CA is chastising the Bush Admin for getting us in there, but I find her self-righteous tone annoying. Hmm, another one of my gals. I’m just not sure I can get over her behavior as head of the California Delegation at the Democratic Convention, but she’s reporting:

    • 2,589,000 2008 jobs lost
    • 1% increase in Medicaid state and national spending
    • 1000 applicants line up for 35 firefighting jobs in Florida and the police were called to control the crowd, plus other examples
    • Extensive layoffs happening in California.
    • Going on about the past eight years, Boxer hits that we had a surplus during Clinton and balanced the budget, but the Republicans took it up to $3 trillion – war in Iraq and tax cuts to the wealthiest.

    It seems to me that instead of bitching and moaning about the past, that BOXER, SOMEBODY, ANYBODY could be explaining the damn bill and how it would help create jobs. Instead, we hear about her putting aside her ego (really?) and compromising, because oh right, “WE WON!” implies Barbara.

    This election was about change . . .  not just about trickle down tax cuts that the Republicans want.

    So it’s either or? She has blathered on without saying a word of what the bill has in it or will do. Our government is an idiotic mess.

    Sen. Mike Johanns, R-NE —

    A bill $1.2 trillion — the biggest bill in the history of the world. Many couldn’t answer the number of zeros in the number, yet we have to vote on it within the next 24 hours. It’s not good enough that we’ve trimmed. Now it’s $7 billion over the house version, so we have a more expensive one. They’ve cut $110 billion. but bill is still comprised of wasteful spending — might be worthy of support in appropriations process, but doesn’t stimulate the economy. It is a giant appropriations bill. I’ve fought for many of these programs, money: to consolidate the Dept. of Homeland Security, for Earth Science Mission, money for trail maintenance and cars — worthy projects, but they don’t stimulate the economy.

    I hear a lot about bi-partisan efforts. In Nebraska, our senators were elected on a non-partisan ticket, [and we hash things out.] Unless there is a new meaning attached to this word, this “compromise” closed door meetings, with 2 Republicans attending and in the end that was announced as the bi-part efforts, less than 1/4 of 1/10 of Republican Senators were included.

    I’m not willing to put aside due diligence to find a couple of months from now that what we thought would work did not. . . . This is literally borrowed money, yet we’re not going to take a vote on paying for this. I’ve heard the debate about who’s responsible and who did what and what they wanted us to accomplish was to get out fiscal house in order, not to sort out faults, to solve problems.

    I come from a state where our Constitution requires a balanced budget and forbids borrowing money over a certain amount. I could not issue debt, so instead of cutting taxes, I cut spending. It never occurred to any of us in our legislature that we’d tell our kids, etc. how we were going to borrow and leave the payback to them.

    I think the Change people voted for was about how we run our government. We’ve got to grab ahold of this or our dollar won’t be worth anything, because we keep printing it.

    Okay, dude, I’m in. Mike Johanns for President.

    Sen. Amy Klobushcar, D-MN —

    Blah, blah, blah, real families, bad times, all’s lost. Blah, blah, blah, what the new energy jobs will get us.

    Sen. John Ensign, R-NV — A history lesson

    Roaring twenties: Pres. Coolidge: low tax rates, encouraging private sector to invest was good, stock market became over-valued, like .com of 90s bubble burst, the banking bubble burst. Pres. Hoover increased taxes, government spending on infrastructure, instituted Smoot-Hawley protectionist trade law. Roosevelt, New Deal, massive government spending. people argue today that the Great Depression happened because the spending was stop and go. 1937 taxes were raised again, which caused a depression within a depression. The New Deal didn’t bring us out the Depression, it was WWII. Tremendous sacrifices were made with rationing of basic supplies. After 1929 market never recovered until mid-1950s. Do we want to wait that long for our market to recover?

    % of debt to GDP chart: Went up over last few years. Tax rate cuts like under Reagan, Kennedy, Coolidge, stimulated economic revenue. Problem under Bush was that we spent too much money. All of this spending, sovereign wealth funds have been buying our treasury bills. what happens if other countries think we’re too big of a risk? Our economy goes off the cliff. At a certain point, living beyond your means catches up with you.

    All spending is not bad, but all doesn’t create stimulus.

    Ensign showed that in Japan lost 1990s decade: spending increased but it didn’t get them out of their economic woes.

    $1.3 trillion bill when you add the interest, $300,000 per job created or saved. 1.3 million jobs (the low end) the price tag is $600,000 per job.

    Examples of the pork in this bill: $6.1 for corp. jet hangers in Fayetteville, bike facilities, pedestrian ways, and bike paths.

    I love to cycle, but this isn’t a time to build these things. Invest in infrastructure that makes the economy more efficient. Take our time to see where the money’s going. If we rush through this thing, we’ll have inflation and higher taxes and will do more damage to our economy.

    If stimulus package was put together with both sides – because neither has the right idea, we would have had 80 votes. We should have sat down together to craft it, but the Dems brought a Dem bill to the floor in the first place.

    To be continued. . . .

    [cross-posted from Lady Boomer NYC]

    Senate Saturday Stimulus Session Part Deux

    [After all these windbags finish spoutin', the late, great Billy Preston says it best.]

    February, 7, 2009 — Liveblogging the Senate debate on the huge, now $1.2 trillion bill. Quoted from live testimony, as best I can keep up with the typing, for as long as it’s interesting — or should I say frustrating.

    PART DEUX:

    Sen. Tom Udal, D-NM —

    Blah, blah, blah

    Helping the states so they don’t contribute to the downward spiral.

    Helping states — isn’t that a Republican thing?

    Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-AL

    There’s no free lunch. you can’t make nuthin’ come from nothin’.

    Sessions quoted Larry Summers from Financial Times in 2007-8:

    Fiscal stimulus must be: “timely, targeted and temporary” and must be targeted well. Poorly targeted stimulus can make things worse than if we didn’t do anything at all.

    We’ll be paying $40 billion PER YEAR INTEREST on this bill.

    Quoted Alice Rivlin, Budget Director during Clinton Administration: A long term investment plan should not be put together hastily or lumped in with an anti-recession package. The element of the investment program must be carefully planned and will not create jobs right away. Otherwise, money will be wasted if the investments are not carefully crafted.

    We supported ethanol and thought it would fix all our problems (and it didn’t.)

    This bill contains: $120 billion of “bow wave” spending that will continue past the spending in the bill.

    Not reflecting well on the Congress. Last year, Paulson said we must pass $700 billion bill before Asian markets opened the next morning. Only $350 have been spent to date, so wasn’t most important thing in the world and results are dubious. It went outside the budget process with very little in terms of hearings and was an emergency bill passed outside of the regular appropriations process. Like this bill, it didn’t go through authorization or appropriations committees.

    In a few days, we’ll get another Wall Street bailout and perhaps housing bill. We’re being asked to make huge and unprecedented expenditures without saying how they compete with other ongoing programs.

    I think we’re losing our discipline. I voted against the Bush Wall St. bailout, and I’ll vote against this one unless it’s changed.

    Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-AR —

    Blah, blah, blah, we came together and trimmed $100 billion. Can’t we all get along and reduce the major spending in this bill. We should be proud because we’re being bi-partisan.

    She sounds like a grade school teacher: let’s be patient and all get along. What a waste of time. Talk about what’s in the f*ckin’ bill that you’re trying to pass.

    Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-IA —

    Discussed proposal for provision for small businesses, capital gains cuts for small business original investment be targeted to $1.5 billion and is a good investment.

    Objected to children’s health insurance program passed last week in that it would give it to kids with insurance already instead of those without it???

    Dems are trying to nationalize healthcare. Normally they should be in the healthcare reform package of which I’m a part of planning. Giving money to states isn’t targeted, you can get a subsidy to pay for health insurance regardless of how much you make.

    National Science Foundation porno idiot – culture there that encourages this sort of thing. Porno not the main problem, just that the NSF hasn’t been the subject of much scrutiny over the years. More about the porno.

    Grassley soap boxing about morality. I’m sure the NSF must be a hotbed of porno viewing. sigh. Sen. Barbara Mikulski will be looking into it. Go, Barbara!

    Grassley Amendment: Show us the Money, so we can see where it’s going. If an agency gets a request for the records by Congress, it must comply. Vote for my amendment!

    Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-WV —

    Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL —

    I lost interest after a couple of hours of this. Not too much information about what exactly in the bill. sigh. But anyway, here’s as far as I got . . .

    [cross-posted from Lady Boomer NYC]

    Harshmellow

    shrill

    Paul Krugman is really being a buzzkill:

    What do you call someone who eliminates hundreds of thousands of American jobs, deprives millions of adequate health care and nutrition, undermines schools, but offers a $15,000 bonus to affluent people who flip their houses?

    A proud centrist.

    [...]

    The original plan also included badly needed spending on school construction; $16 billion of that spending was cut. It included aid to the unemployed, especially help in maintaining health care — cut. Food stamps — cut. All in all, more than $80 billion was cut from the plan, with the great bulk of those cuts falling on precisely the measures that would do the most to reduce the depth and pain of this slump.

    [...]

    All in all, the centrists’ insistence on comforting the comfortable while afflicting the afflicted will, if reflected in the final bill, lead to substantially lower employment and substantially more suffering.

    But how did this happen? I blame President Obama’s belief that he can transcend the partisan divide — a belief that warped his economic strategy.

    [...]

    And Mr. Obama got nothing in return for his bipartisan outreach. Not one Republican voted for the House version of the stimulus plan, which was, by the way, better focused than the original administration proposal.

    Remember way back in January and December when the sippy-kup kidz were telling everyone to wait until Obama actually did something to complain?  Remember last summer when they said PUMAs were Republican ratf**kers?  Remember all last year when they told us to STFU because experience was less important than being the media darling?

    In the words of Katiebird, our retired librarian:

    “So many Obots, so little spit.”

    Early Reviews Are In: This Show is Not Ready for Prime Time

    flight-jacket3
    “Spiffy new flight jacket”

    It’s been a tough couple of weeks for our new President. Does the guy know anyone he can appoint to a position who isn’t a tax cheat?

    Conservative pundits are having a field day with Obama’s recent “missteps.”

    Michael Goodwin of the New York Daily News:

    It’s not easy to waste a mandate and a honeymoon at the same time, but President Obama seems determined to try. You know he’s off to a lousy start when his most favorable reviews came after he said, “I screwed up.”

    Did he ever, and not just once. If he keeps going this way, America will be saying, “We screwed up.”

    Charles Krauthammer at the Washington Post begins with a quote from Obama, “A failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe.”

    Catastrophe, mind you. So much for the president who in his inaugural address two weeks earlier declared “we have chosen hope over fear.” Until, that is, you need fear to pass a bill.

    And so much for the promise to banish the money changers and influence peddlers from the temple. An ostentatious executive order banning lobbyists was immediately followed by the nomination of at least a dozen current or former lobbyists to high position. Followed by a Treasury secretary who allegedly couldn’t understand the payroll tax provisions in his 1040. Followed by Tom Daschle, who had to fall on his sword according to the new Washington rule that no Cabinet can have more than one tax delinquent.

    Victor Davis Hanson, of the The Corner is openly ridiculing Obama for his lack of leadership in “The Impending Obama Meltdown.”

    Some of us have been warning that it was not healthy for the U.S. media to have deified rather than questioned Obama, especially given that they tore apart Bush, ridiculed Palin, and caricatured Hillary. And now we can see the results of their two years of advocacy rather than scrutiny.

    We are quite literally after two weeks teetering on an Obama implosion—and with no Dick Morris to bail him out—brought on by messianic delusions of grandeur, hubris, and a strange naivete that soaring rhetoric and a multiracial profile can add requisite cover to good old-fashioned Chicago politicking.

    First, there were the sermons on ethics, belied by the appointments of tax dodgers, crass lobbyists, and wheeler-dealers like Richardson—with the relish of the Blago tapes still to come. (And why does Richardson/Daschle go, but not Geithner?).

    Ouch! I know Hanson is a wing nut, but except for the part about Dick Morris, I really can’t disagree with him. Continue reading

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