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The Great Depression

Senate ALMOST finished passing Obama Stimulus Bill

(Sherrod Brown (D) OH is at his mothers funeral and Obama has dispatched a plane to retrieve him so he can cast the 60th vote needed, result should be achieved by 10:30pm est tonight)

When it passes, has Barack Obama saved us from this?

and this:

h/t to grayslady for this:

Glenn Greenwald has a fantastic article in Salon today about the importance of dissent from the left and the reason why Obama’s supporters are not pushing him to pursue more liberal policies.

Here are a couple of snippets:

Democratic groups — including (perhaps especially) liberal activist groups — now (with some exceptions) lend their allegiance to the party and its leader regardless of how faithful the party leadership is to their beliefs. That disparity means that there is often great popular agitation and political pressure exerted from the Right, but almost none from the Left (I’m using the terms “Left” and “Right” here in their conventional sense: “Right” being the core of the GOP and “Left” being those who most consistently and vigorously opposed Bush’s foreign and domestic policies).

And why the Obama supporting liberals remain silent when Barack sells them down the river:

During the 2008 election, Obama co-opted huge portions of the Left and its infrastructure so that their allegiance became devoted to him and not to any ideas. Many online political and “news” outlets — including some liberal political blogs — discovered that the most reliable way to massively increase traffic was to capitalize on the pro-Obama fervor by turning themselves into pro-Obama cheerleading squads. Grass-roots activist groups watched their dues-paying membership rolls explode the more they tapped into that same sentiment and turned themselves into Obama-supporting appendages. Even labor unions and long-standing Beltway advocacy groups reaped substantial benefits by identifying themselves as loyal foot soldiers in the Obama movement.

And the problem this creates and why we PUMA’s must remain vigilant:

The major problem now is that these entities — the ones that ought to be applying pressure on Obama from the Left and opposing him when he moves too far Right — are now completely boxed in. They’ve lost — or, more accurately, voluntarily relinquished — their independence. They know that criticizing — let alone opposing — Obama will mean that all those new readers they won last year will leave; that all those new dues-paying members will go join some other, more Obama-supportive organization; that they will prompt intense backlash and anger among the very people — their members, supporters and readers — on whom they have come to rely as the source of their support, strength, and numbers.

As a result, there is very little political or media structure to Obama’s Left that can or will criticize him, even when he moves far to what the Beltway calls the “center” or even the Right (i.e., when he adopts large chunks of the GOP position). That situation is extremely bad — both for the Left and for Obama.

PS Nothing we didn’t know. Like the Obots are just a bunch of hem kissing masochists. Or that blogs have been corrupted by money. But it’s nice to see Glenn Greenwald write it.

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A Little Side Step!

HOUSE PASSES OBAMA STIMULUS BILL!

LET’S CELEBRATE !

 

OPEN THREAD TOO!

INSIDE THE MELTDOWN – PBS – To Air Feb. 17, 2009

In this sneak peek from “Inside the Meltdown,” FRONTLINE examines the final hours leading up to the deal between Bear Stearns and JP Morgan, and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s attempts to discourage moral hazard.

In “Inside the Meltdown,” airing Tuesday, February 17 at 9 pm on PBS, FRONTLINE investigates the causes of the worst economic crisis in 70 years and how the government responded. The film chronicles the inside stories of the Bear Stearns deal, Lehman Brothers’ collapse, the propping up of insurance giant AIG, and the $700 billion bailout. Inside the Meltdown examines what Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke didn’t see, couldn’t stop and haven’t been able to fix.

Trailer:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Be sure to tune your cat channels next Tuesday, February 17, 2009 to PBS at 9pm est.

If Iranian women can put themselves forward, U.S. women have no reason not to

(Cross-posted from Heidi Li on Equality, 51 Percent)

Today’s New York Times has a front-page story, above the fold, headlined “Starting at Home, Iran’s fight for Women’s Rights”.  At home in Iran things 13iran_600obtacles to putting women forward are more obvious than they are at home in the United States. In Iran:

Despite the gains they have made, women still face extraordinary obstacles. Girls can legally be forced into marriage at the age of 13. Men have the right to divorce their wives whenever they wish, and are granted custody of any children over the age of 7. Men can ban their wives from working outside the home, and can engage in polygamy.

The article highlights amazing things that can be done by women – and men – determined to resist these signs of pervasive misogyny. Chief among them is the rise in the ratio of women to men in university: “Today, more than 60 percent of university students are women, compared with just over 30 percent in 1982, even though classes are no longer segregated.”

If an officially theocratic state, whose official religion is most definitely patriarchal, can achieve this ratio in higher education, certainly we in the United States can achieve comparable gains in not only in higher education but elsewhere, including especially in the use of smart power to encourage the promotion of human rights around the world.

I recommend not only the full New York Times article, but encourage all to visit the One Million Signatures website, which is font of information about sex discrimination and misogny in Iran; efforts to end this, and host of the One Million signatures petition supporting these changes.

Friday: {{Gasp!}} Judd Gregg is a REAL Republican??

img_0239Not a fake Democrat, like Obama, but a REAL Republican?

“I’m a fiscal conservative, as everybody knows, a fairly strong one,” Mr. Gregg told reporters at a news conference in the Capitol. “And it just became clear to me that it would be very difficult, day in and day out, to serve in this cabinet or any cabinet.”

He actually believes in that rugged individualism, small government (unless when big government is necessary to help your golfing buds), social conservatism crap.  Oh, and he didn’t like the politicization of the census idea that Obama’s crew is floating.  To be perfectly honest, I don’t like it either.  The idea that we may be stuck with Chicago style gerrymandering makes my skin crawl.  So, can we assume that Obama’s *next* pick for Commerce secretary will be on board with tinkering with the census?

Call me a stickler but shouldn’t Commerce and Labor have secretaries already?

But the political fallout is left to the White House, which now has a string of appointees who have stepped aside over vetting problems, unpaid taxes or philosophical differences with Mr. Obama. Since the president took office last month, not a week has passed without the White House responding to a personnel crisis.

Mr. Gregg said he alerted Mr. Obama to his decision “several days ago,” but administration officials said the senator’s withdrawal had taken them off guard.

The White House sought to contain the political fallout, issuing a terse statement and pointing out that Mr. Gregg had said he would “support, embrace and move forward with the president’s agenda.”

I mean, we are living through one of the greatest economic catastrophes in our nation’s history.  It just seems to me that these departments are very important.  And what about HHS?  Did we find someone for that position yet?  At least the Bushies had their kleptocrats all lined up when they took office.  They were dead serious about commencing the business of f%&^ing things up.  Obama and his crew are still celebrating a victory.  And celebrating.  Put the damn champagne flutes down already and govern.  Enough with the bipartisan gimmicks.

“I am going to keep working at this,” said Mr. Obama, adding that the American people were “desperate” for Democrats and Republicans to work together.”

Uh, no.  David Broder and his Villager pals want mushy, indistinct bipartisanship or they will make your job hard.  The American people want government that works.  That requires a political philosophy.  Hey, DNC, do you think we could actually get a DEMOCRAT to run on our party’s ticket next time?  Just sayin’.

“It has become apparent during this process,” Mr. Gregg said, “that this will not work for me, as I have found that on issues such as the stimulus package and the census, there are irresolvable conflicts for me.”

“We are functioning,” he added, “from a different set of views on many critical items of policy.”

Yep.

In other news:

  • David Sirota is a fine writer.  Unfortunately, he is temporarily insane.  Note to David: Stop digging.
  • Paul Krugman is eating harshmellows this morning in Failure to Rise.  No wonder economics is called the Dismal Science. He’s also sounding critical of the Obama Administration’s lackluster response to this crisis, which can only mean one thing- Paul is a racist.  Will someone please send him his complimentary white sheet and “So, you’ve decided to become a racist?” Welcome package?
  • Nouriel Roubini lays out the steps for making the banking system solvent again.  There is a continuum from footing the bill for the banks, and sticking taxpayers for the whole damn thing, to nationalizing the banks and forcing the bankers and shareholders to take a loss.  Roubini is advocating the latter because at this stage of the game, that’s where we’re headed if we want to keep the crisis from spreading.  Guess which approach on the continuum Obama wants to take?  Trick question!  Nobody really knows.  He wants a public/private investment scheme.  It’s probably some post partisan yada-yada-yada.  If it’s neither Democratic or Republican, it must be good because it pisses everyone off equally.   Right?
  • Don’t miss the Planet Money podcasts I mentioned yesterday if you want to understand what’s going on with finance and the banking industry.  They’re easy to understand and jargon free.  They break concepts down to bite sized pieces so that everyone gets it.  Before long, you’ll be slinging “tranches” and “haircuts” like Paul Krugman.  Er, without the tenure and the Nobel Prize.  But seriously, folks, knowledge is power and the sooner we know what’s really going on, the harder it will be for Obama and his banker buddies to snooker us.  We don’t want them to yank our chains and distract us.  We want to be able to follow the money.  So, download the podcasts and learn about this nauseating money stuff even if you think you’re going to hate it. (You won’t, trust me)  It’s well worth the effort.  You can start here at This American Life’s episode on The New Boss.  Skip to Act III: Fifteen Trillion Dollar Dismal Science Experiment, which is the background of the Japanese lost decade, which we seem hellbent on repeating.  Then, follow it up with more of Adam Posen’s explanation of the Japanese model and bank nationalization in Get Tougher, Please.  Then go to Alex Blumberg, Adam Davidson and Caitlin Kennedy’s skit on How to Save a Bank. These guys are doing the work of angels breaking down the incomprehensible for the rest of us.  Great job!  Send them some bloggy mojo.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia

f13th

That’s “fear of Friday the 13th” for those of you who don’t speak Greek.

Have a nice day!