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    The Confluence

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  • RSS Ian Welsh

    • The Wages Of Embarassing Elites Are Death
      Everyone remember the Panama papers? A leak of bank records showing that the ultra-rich are hiding massive wealth, tax-free and often breaking the law to do so? A rather weak set of laws designed to allow tax avoidance by rich people, at that. Found out the other day that the reporter who broke the Panama Papers story was killed by a car bomb. Coincidence, n […]
  • Top Posts

Your Breakfast Read, Served By The Confluence

  • Economy Watch
  • Obama’s Economic Circle Keeps Tensions Simmering

    By all accounts, much of the tension derives from the president’s choice of the brilliant but sometimes supercilious Mr. Summers to be the director of the National Economic Council, making him the policy impresario of the team. The widespread assumption, from Washington to Wall Street, was that the job would be Mr. Summers’s way station until the president could name him chairman of the Federal Reserve when Ben S. Bernanke’s term expires early next year.

    Is it why Larry is always sleeping when the economic team meets?

    Doubts mount over US toxic asset plan

    The controversial US toxic asset clean-up plan, aimed at clearing bad loans from US banks’ books to enable them to raise capital and lend freely, has fallen behind schedule, and may never be fully implemented.

    The Economy Is Still at the Brink

    Mr. Obama thinks that the way to revive the economy is to restore confidence in it. If the mood is right, the capital will flow. But this belief is dangerously misguided. We are sympathetic to the extraordinary challenge the president faces, but if we’ve learned anything at all two years into the worst financial crisis of our lifetimes, it is that a capital-markets system this dependent on public confidence is a shockingly inadequate foundation upon which to rest our economy.

    1Q credit card delinquency rate jumps 11 percent

    Credit card holders who in ordinary years might have used their tax refunds to pay down their balances apparently spent the money elsewhere as the recession deepened in the first quarter.

    Deflation or Inflation?

    Economic stimulus efforts carry the potential of creating new problems

    U.S. Will Let Some Banks Repay Aid


  • Health Care Battle
  • Democrats stoke grassroots US healthcare campaign

    * Obama supporters expect tough fight

    * Opponents start running TV ads

    * Obama says summer will be “make or break” for reform

    Business groups wary of first draft of health care bill

    Business groups reacted warily Sunday to the Senate’s first stab at overhauling the nation’s health care system, a rift that could complicate President Obama’s goal of achieving bipartisan support for his top domestic priority.

    State Coverage Model No Help for Uneasy Insurance Industry

    In reasserting his support last week for a new government health plan for the uninsured, President Obama stoked the fears of private insurers that they would not be able to compete with a Medicare-like option and might gradually be priced out of existence.

    Harry and Louise Need Health Reform


  • Stenography vs Journalism
  • For journalists, how close is too close?

    Author and former Newsweek journalist Richard Wolffe is refuting charges that he acted more like Barack Obama’s campaign spokesman than as a journalist covering Obama’s presidential campaign. It was Obama, himself, who suggested that Wolffe write his book Renegade: The Making of a President. Wolffe, however, denied that writing the book meant trading objectivity for access.

    Yeah, right! Whatever you say Wolffe.

    Moscow Crime Reporter, Facing His Obituary Daily

    After the most recent attack on Sergei Kanev — attempted strangulation with a wire, in his apartment’s stairwell here — his editor visited him and delicately suggested that he take a six-month sabbatical from crime reporting, in America.
    […]
    A specialist in police corruption and organized crime, he crosses powerful people and half expects to be killed for it.


  • Middle East
  • The Divisions Among Israelis and Palestinians

    As President Obama was arriving in Cairo on Thursday to urge the Middle East toward peace, Hamas militants in the West Bank city of Qalqilya were fighting a gun battle against Palestinian Authority forces in which three men were killed. Israel Radio was reporting that settler extremists had sent letters to an Israeli general threatening him and his children, and comparing the forces that remove settler outposts with the Jewish councils obliged to collaborate with the Nazis.

    Israel’s Premier Promises Major Peace Plan

    Under mounting American pressure to define his intentions regarding peace efforts, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel said Sunday that he would make a major policy speech next week mapping out the government’s “principles for achieving peace and security.”

    U.S.-Backed Alliance Appears to Win in Lebanon

    Iraq: Bombing of minibus in Shiite area kills 7


  • Around The World
  • US journalists sentenced to 12 years in North Korea labour camp

    Clinton Says North Korea Charges Against Journalists Unfounded

    In Iraq, Colbert Does His Shtick for the Troops

    Brown Faces New Challenge by Dissidents After Setback

    Gordon the Unlucky (Paul Krugman)


  • Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!
  • Rangel warns of ‘racial polarization’ if Cuomo challenges Paterson for governor in primary

    Rep. Charles Rangel Friday warned of “racial polarization” if Attorney General Andrew Cuomo challenges Gov. Paterson in a primary next year.

    Rangel, who is close to the poll-challenged Paterson, ripped Cuomo on New York 1 last night for flatly not ruling out a run for governor next year.

    Charlie, next time you see a microphone, run. Away from it.


  • Ticking Bomb Scenario?
  • Suspect in abortion doctor death warns of violence

    The man charged with murdering a high-profile abortion doctor claimed from his jail cell Sunday that similar violence was planned around the nation for as long as the procedure remained legal, a threat that comes days after a federal investigation launched into his possible accomplices.

    Calling Dick Cheney and all other torture aficionados.


  • “Strategeries”
  • Democratic candidates adopt anti-Bush strategy

    Many Democratic candidates are planning to run against two Republicans in the next election — their GOP opponent and former president George W. Bush.

    Palin versus GOP

    After being invited — for a second time — to speak to the annual joint fundraiser for the National Republican Congressional Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, Palin was told abruptly Saturday night that she would not be allowed to address the thousands of Republicans there after all.

    The Alaska governor may now skip the dinner altogether, and her allies are miffed at what they see as a slight from the congressional wing of the Republican Party.

    Hugging Republicans Until It Hurts

    Hillary’s New Crusade (Just check out some of the comments on this excellent piece)

    Photo A year ago this week, Hillary Clinton ended her presidential campaign—to the relief of many. But even her critics must admit that as secretary of State, she’s been a feminist hero to behold.


  • Tragedy
  • Famed Google mentor found dead in swimming pool

    The tech community has tragically lost its much loved computer science expert, Rajeev Motwani, in a drowning accident on Friday, June 5, 2009. The Stanford University professor Motwani died unexpectedly at his Atherton, CA home on Friday.


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    47 Responses

    1. Wasn’t that NYT piece of propaganda about Summers something? All those “brilliant” testimonials – and only one nugget of news buried inside – the one that you quoted too? I chose it for one of my two items in my “Today in Propaganda” entry
      http://edgeoforever.wordpress.com/2009/06/08/today-in-propaganda/

    2. Re: Health Care Reform I remember an Obot writing during the primary campaign arguing that Hillary had tried and failed to fix health care, so just let Obama in there and HE will do it.

      Now I understand. Obama will work WITH the health insurance industry.

      Of course, the result will be crap; but we’ll call it health
      care reform.

      • If Obama treated torture like he treats health care reform, detainees could look forward to getting waterboarded with bottled water instead of tap.

      • I checked out his record in his state and the health industry was beaming because he took the bill and fine tuned it to play the insurance industries tunes. The voters, well, they don’t play golf and no one really reported on it and the health industry sang Obama’s praises.

        Howard Dean and several others are letting it be known they won’t go down without a fight and so it will be interesting to see that he has no excuses left but to do the RIGHT THING!

    3. You will buy health insurance and you will like it!!!
      No wonder the insurance industry is on board, all that free money.

    4. Everything is that woman’s fault.
      Sarah Palin should just go back to the stove with the rest of the republican wimmin’.
      At least that’s what I took away from that news article about the fund raiser snub.

      • I’m guessing Newt was behind it.

        It looks like he is planning a run for the WH in 2012 and he would hate sharing the stage with anyone, male or female.

        If Newt is the GOP nominee in 2012 I might vote for Obama. Either that or defect to Mexico and request political asylum.

        • I agree…he has been busy sending business people all kinds of lovey messages. He is sending his plans, asking what people want and doing the circuit with his daughter hoping people will forget he cheated on his wife and left one when she had cancer. … ME THINKS HE WILL LEAVE THE VOTERS TOO, WHEN THING GET ROUGH!

          Isn’t he on his forth marriage? Wasn’t he busy wagging his finger at Bill while having an affair with a staffer? Oh, yea, that he later married…makes it all better. 😯

        • There is also the Mitt Romney team.

          It was the Romney staffers working on the McCain for President campaign who started disparaging Palin and leaking stories to the press. It was one of them who famously said the Palins were “a bunch of hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus for coast to coast”.

          • Not too many people know, but Mormons worship by class…meaning that the rich neighborhood, will come at 8 or 9 (what ever schedule it is) and the poor neighborhood at their scheduled time. So, they don’t mix and so it doesn’t surprise me about the Mitt Romney team comment.

            “a bunch of hillbillies looting Neiman Marcus from coast to coast”

            OK, now I am off before myiq2xu gets me for spilling the beans on the congregation schedule…. running fast…. 😆

        • A Newt/Obama presidential race is the kind of thing I see in my nightmares.

          • OMG. Me too. What a disaster that would be. The boyz club is already in beat down mode, but I’m hoping that Palin can hang in there and somehow make it to the top of the Republican 2012 ticket.

      • Good Lord,

        The GOP appears to be filled with idiots. I’ll laugh myself silly if they run Newt. He’s got so much baggage it is unbelievable.

        I still won’t vote Obama though. I’ll vote third and possibly research the Canadians railroad system and my families immigration north.

        Palin is one of the few candidates I’d vote for. It doesn’t say much that they are snubbing her as an option.

    5. RIP Rajeev Motwani, who was actually 47 years old when he passed.

    6. myiq2xu, no need for drastic measures. If Newt becomes the GOP nominee, 80 percent of the country will be unable to vote from laughing too hard. That will leave the field wide open for me and my mighty Greens to storm the barricades! (Well, maybe not, but I think the Newtster’s chances of winning are about as good as Giuliani’s would be at this point.)

      The GOP is really running on empty, ain’t it? Look at all these retread corpses they have to keep disinterring to grab anyone’s attention.

    7. The Power and the Story
      The Obamas may have the smartest, most finely calibrated press operation in White House history, parceling out scoops (The New York Times), partisan talking points (the Huffington Post), and First Family tidbits (the celebrity mags) to a desperate media. Just don’t ask them to admit it.

      But what it doesn’t want to be open about is the staging itself. One of its least favorite subjects is media. As much as the Obama-ites don’t want to be as defensive and recalcitrant as the Bushes were when it came to the press, having methodically reviewed all lessons from recent administrations, they also don’t want to seem as clever, pleased with themselves, and publicity-crazed as the Clintons, who talked endlessly of media strategies—precisely because they are much more clever and publicity-crazed.

      Instead, they’re wooing The New York Times as assiduously as Pierre Salinger did on behalf of John Kennedy in 1962. And, perhaps not surprisingly, The New York Times woos back—rewarding the president with a lavishness of coverage not seen since, well, J.F.K. in 1962. It’s an establishment lovefest.

      It’s some perfect re-creation of a relationship between president and news media that has not been seen since the White House pressroom was a clubby place with reporters invited into the press secretary’s office for whiskey and cigars. It’s cozy. Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod, who would have been, in previous administrations, the highest and most exclusive White House sources, have become almost casual quotes for the Times.

      Indeed, the efforts at control—negotiating all the nuances of celebrity coverage—by the White House press team are pretty much at the levels of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.

      They have been handed a most remarkable historical moment—in which they get to remake the media in their own image. They have the power and they are the subject. These people in this White House are in greater control of the media than any administration before them.

      http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2009/07/wolff200907?printable=true&currentPage=all

    8. Interesting story about the upcoming election in Iran. Looks like Ahmydinnerjacket might lose this one.

      Iran’s George W. Bush by Laura Secor
      Can anyone actually beat Ahmadinejad in this week’s election?

      http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=ae8cb182-5cd1-4918-b545-78b901223661

    9. I’ve got no dog in the NY gubernatorial fight and was a fan of Paterson’s, but it is just depressing and disgusting to see Rangel going down that path, and that Paterson’s “comment” (per the story) is just to chuckle.

    10. MABlue: why did you describe the Michelle Goldberg piece about Hillary as “excellent?” I was 3 paragraphs in and now my blood pressure has spiked, reminding me of all the reasons I hated Obots last year, and the right wing talking points they adopted about her?! Suddenly, this young woman realizes that Hillary is a feminist! Wow! Good for her. As if the previous 30+ years of work she has done didn’t exist, and it is only now, as O’s SOS, that Hillary is distinguishing herself. She also writes that Hillary was running for president only to “extend Bill’s legacy,” (ie: she is not an individual leader on her own, but was “entitled”) and she ran a “ruthless campaign.” I couldn’t go any further before I had to leave a blistering comment. Fortunately, there were some others defending her for these same points, especially someone named “BluestBlue.” Infuriating.

      • Michelle Goldberg does seem most dismissive of Hillary and petty in her closing:

        Hard for me, at least. I underestimated her. Freed from the pressure of campaigning, her best self has emerged. I’m still happy that she pulled out of the race a year ago. But I’m even happier that she’s become a leader anyway.-Michelle Goldberg

        NEWS FLASH FOR MICHELLE GOLDBERG…Hillary R. Clinton was a leader before Obama entered college and she was the best candidate that just happened to be a woman. It is clear, who Michelle Goldberg supported during the campaign…Journalism died in 2008.

      • That story did really suck. Michelle Goldberg seemed to believe all of the old Jonah Goldberg talking points from the ’90s,. What an idiot.

      • I’m still glad I supported Obama, who I think is proving to be a better, defter president than Clinton would have been. Nevertheless, I was wrong to mistake her political ruthlessness for a lack of principle.

        I find this amusing. Obama has principles 🙄 Obama is also not ruthless. Memo to Michelle – call Alice Palmer

        • WTF is a defter president? Insipid article, comments were much better and more full of actual facts.

          • Perhaps she meant “deafer” not “defter.”

            ObamaNation is a legend in its own mind. The kool-aid krew’s navel gazing is getting real old, real fast. Wake up already you krazy kidz!

    11. I’m still glad I supported Obama, who I think is proving to be a better, defter president than Clinton would have been. Nevertheless, I was wrong to mistake her political ruthlessness for a lack of principle.

      I find this amusing. Obama has principles 🙄 Obama is also not ruthless. Memo to Michelle – call Alice Palmer

      • no to nesting

      • And, of course, Michelle has no idea who Alice Palmer is and isn’t interested in finding out. Research is oh so boring. Writing fiction is much more fun and all it requires is kool-aid goggles.

    12. Remember those three AM phone-call commercials Clinton’s campaign launched against Obama during the presidential race? Well, she now says he’s more than fit and able to deal with such emergencies. “The president, in his public actions and demeanor, and certainly in private with me and with the national security team, has been strong, thoughtful, decisive. I think he is doing a terrific job. And it’s an honor to serve with him,” she said.

      • And your point is???

      • No shit Sherlock? Well help me Rhonda!

        What would you expect an employee to say about her boss? Just imagine if a Secretary of State publicly stated that the POTUS she worked for wasn’t competent to handle his job.

        She would be fired in a New York minute for disloyalty, and rightly so.

      • Here’s a tip, Obots may be stupid but Clinton? Not so much. While his stupidity, incompetence, corruption, and general bumbling inadequacy may make your heart sing, it probably doesn’t have the same effect on anyone who doesn’t share your affliction. What do you think impressed her so, his moronic musings in the Middle East? The fact that he manages the prodigious feat of being less intelligent than Bush?

      • Thanks, Rhonda. That’s fascinating.

      • The point of the 3 a.m. commercials was that he was an unknown quantity with very little experience. That has not changed. He was at least smart enough to choose the woman he said had no foreign policy experience, except holding “tea parties” with other women in Ireland etc., to be his SOS. Who’s the liar?! Hillary is the Chief Diplomat for the U.S. I saw that interview. Her allegiance is clearly to the country, and in this role, she must support the president, who is a symbolic head (with a teleprompter).

    13. Are you saying she is lying now simply because she took the Sec State job? What kind of leader would do THAT?

      • Do you really want to open that can of worms?

        Obama told the people of Ohio he would renegotiate NAFTA, but was privately telling the government of Canada (via Austen Goolsbee) that he didn’t mean it.

        Obama said he never heard Rev. Wright say anything offensive even though he sat in a pew every Sunday. He said he only did a few hours work for Tony Rezko, and that Bill Ayers was just some guy who lived in his neighborhood.

        Better trolls please!

      • ROTFL. You obot trolls are too damn funny. Do you really type that sh!t with a straight face?

        • Obots don’t understand. Unlike them we are not followers.

          We supported Hillary, but we never worshiped her. We were never shy about disagreeing with her either.

      • According to you, leadership and pathological lying are the same thing. Gosh if it works so well for Obama, it will probably become a trend. Go figure.

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