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Monday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians!!!!!

The big story in the mainstream media is President Obama’s $3.8 trillion budget. From the LA Times:

President Obama today will propose a $3.8-trillion federal budget that includes a $100-billion jobs package, more education spending and higher taxes on families earning more than $250,000 a year.

The budgetary blueprint for fiscal 2011, which starts Oct. 1, is 3% more than the government is spending this year, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

The White House envisions a $1.267-trillion deficit in fiscal year 2011, smaller than this year’s projected $1.56 trillion. That would be 8.3% of the gross domestic product, down from 10.6% this year. The White House Budget Office forecasts that it could be trimmed to less than 4% of the GDP by 2015.

The “jobs package” consists of:

$100 billion for investments in small-business tax cuts, infrastructure and clean energy, all designed to create jobs. This includes a new Small Business Jobs and Wages Tax Cut to spur small-business hiring and wage increases, at a cost of $33 billion.

I’ll defer to Dakinikat on this, but it doesn’t sound that dramatic to me. And how do we know those jobs that are created will go to Americans anyway? Isn’t it about time for something a little more FDR-like?

The budget also include $270 million to buy and renovate Thompson Prison in Illinois:

The administration hopes to house detainees from Guantanamo there, as part of its effort to close the controversial camp in Cuba. But the purchase of Thomson “would be warranted in any case to house maximum security prisoners,” according to Orszag. The federal Bureau of Prisons will require additional space, he said.

That’s a lot of money just to move the prisoners from Cuba to Illinois. I suppose there will be jobs involved in renovating the prison, and of course jobs for prison guards. Will those jobs go to Americans? And will anything be done about the fact that many of those prisoners may not be guilty of anything? They have already been held for years without being charged.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s good buddy Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs, who helped crash our economy and put millions of Americans out of their jobs and homes is “expecting a $100 million bonus” this year.

Goldman Sachs, the world’s richest investment bank, could be about to pay its chief executive a bumper bonus of up to $100 million in defiance of moves by President Obama to take action against such payouts.

Bankers in Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF) told The Times yesterday they understood that Lloyd Blankfein and other top Goldman bankers outside Britain were set to receive some of the bank’s biggest-ever payouts. “This is Lloyd thumbing his nose at Obama,” said a banker at one of Goldman’s rivals.

Thumbing his nose? {wink, wink, nudge, nudge} I’m not sure. Goldman Sachs was Obama number one donor in 2008 and former Goldman executives are pretty much running our government. And Blankfein wouldn’t be getting that bonus without the money they raked in from the bailout and AIG.

The Illinois primary is tomorrow, and President Obama’s basketball buddy and campaign donor and bundler Alexi Giannoulias is still leading in the Democratic race for the Senate seat briefly held by Obama.

One of Giannoulias’ rivals for the Senate nomination, Jacob Meister, has dropped out and endorsed Giannoulias. Giannoulias’ main rival, David Hoffman, claims that Meister was only in the race in the first place to help Giannoulias and that this was all planned ahead of time. Hoffman has been attacking Giannoulias for his role in running the Broadway Bank, owned by the Giannoulias family.

“This is something we knew all along, that he was in the race to help the treasurer. That being said, he was only pulling 1 percent at best. So I think it was inconsequential.”

Meister dismissed as “preposterous” any suggestion that he was a Giannoulias plant.

Hoffman, a former federal prosecutor and city of Chicago inspector general, started the day with a news conference challenging Giannoulias to answer more questions about his four years as vice president and chief loan officer at Broadway [Bank].

Citing a New York Times column, Hoffman said that under Giannoulias, the bank saw a six-fold increase in the granting of risky loans and a 400 percent increase in brokered deposits, during a time in which the average community bank would have seen an increase of about 36 percent.

“Mr. Giannoulias is still refusing to answer questions about the extent of his role in the decisions that look like they will lead to the bank’s collapse.

If Giannoulias does get the nomination, as appears likely, will Illinois see a repeat of what happened in Massachusetts?

Public opinion polls ahead of Tuesday’s party primaries in Illinois show five-term U.S. Representative Mark Kirk likely to win the Republican nomination easily.

Favored to win the Democratic primary and face off Kirk for the vacant seat is Alexi Giannoulias, Illinois treasurer and Obama’s basketball-playing buddy.

“The Democratic candidates are second-tier. They’re not particularly exciting, not particularly experienced,” DePaul University political analyst Michael Mezey said.

Kirk has lent his own twist to Brown’s best-known line in the campaign, saying: “This is not Obama’s seat, it’s the people’s seat.”

One poll showed Kirk trailing Giannoulias if the two face off — but only narrowly. That’s a far cry from the 62 percent of Illinois voters who cast ballots for Obama against 37 percent for the Republican John McCain in November 2008.

I want to call attention to a couple of stories the the mainstream media is soft-pedaling.

Jeremy Scahill interviewed the father of “Blackwater’s Youngest Victim,” 9-year-old Ali Kinani who was shot in the head in Bagdad’s Nisour Square on September 16, 2007, by Blackwater thugs who had left the Green Zone against orders and for no reason whatsoever murdered 16 and wounded 20 innocent Iraqis that day. I broke down sobbing while reading this story yesterday, and had to take a break before finishing it. All I can says is that Ali’s father, Mohammed Kitani is a true hero. He may yet succeed in holding the murders and their employer Eric Prince accountable for their disgusting actions.

Mohammed’s American lawyers contend, as did federal prosecutors, that the Blackwater men disobeyed orders from superiors not to leave the Green Zone, which ultimately led to the shooting at Nisour Square, and that they did not follow proper State Department guidelines for the use of force, instead shooting unprovoked at Mohammed’s car and the other civilians in the square. They also allege that Blackwater was not guarding any US official at the time of the shooting and that the Nisour Square killings amounted to an offensive operation against unarmed civilians. “Blackwater was where it shouldn’t have been, doing something it was not supposed to do,” says Mohammed’s lawyer Gary Mauney. They “weren’t even supposed to be in Nisour Square, and if they hadn’t have been, no shootings would have occurred.”

Unlike the other civil suits against Blackwater, which were settled in federal court in January, Mohammed’s case was filed in state court in North Carolina. It is also different because Mohammed is directly suing the six Blackwater men he believes were responsible for the shooting that day. The suit also argues that Prince and his network of Blackwater companies and affiliates are ultimately responsible for the conduct of the men at Nisour Square. The Blackwater shooters “weren’t doing anything related to their work for the government,” Mauney says. “After the events happened, Blackwater came out and said, ‘We support what they did. We think it was justified.’ They ratified the conduct of their employees.”

Moreover, Mohammed’s lawyers contend that the evidence that was ruled inadmissible in the criminal Nisour Square case because it was obtained in exchange for a promise of immunity and reportedly under threat of termination is valid evidence in their civil case. Several statements by Blackwater guards who were at the square that day directly bolster Mohammed and other Iraqis’ claim that it was an unprovoked shooting.

Remember that “break-in” in Senator Mary Landrieu’s offices in Louisiana last week? Much of the focus in the media has been on James O’Keefe, a young conservative “activist” and independent filmmaker who was involved in a sting on Acorn awhile back. But Raw Story learned that the two other men arrested with O’Keefe “have links to” the CIA.

Two of the three men arrested on Monday along with “ACORN pimp” James O’Keefe for “maliciously tampering” with Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) phones in her New Orleans office have ties to the United States intelligence community.

The three accused by the FBI of “aiding and abetting” O’Keefe are Stan Dai, Robert Flanagan and Joseph Basel. O’Keefe is 25, and the other three are 24.

Dai’s links to the intelligence community appear to be particularly strong. He was a speaker at Georgetown University’s Central Intelligence Agency summer school program in June 2009, and is also listed as an Assistant Director at the Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence at Trinity in D.C.

The university’s president Patricia McGuire told The Associated Press that it promoted careers in intelligence but denied that it trains students to be spies.

The Trinity program received a “$250,000 renewable grant from the U.S. Intelligence Community” upon launching in 2004, according to its Web site.

The article goes on to detail Dai’s intelligence connections at length.

The CIA and Office of Director of National Intelligence have both told Politico that despite Dai’s evident connections to the intelligence community, he never officially worked for them. Then it discusses the intelligence connections of Dai’s “co-conspirator,” Robert Flanagan.

Dai’s co-conspirator Robert Flanagan is currently seeking a Master of Science degree from the Missouri State University’s (Fairfax, Virginia) Defense and Strategic Studies program, according to his LinkedIn profile (which was captured by Beyerstein before it was taken down Tuesday.)

The DSS Web site description affirms its connections to “the intelligence community”

Curiouser and curiouser.

So what are you all reading this morning? As always, please post your own links in the comments.

HAVE A MARVELOUS MONDAY!!!!!!!!!!!

107 Responses

  1. Lots and lots of zeros. I find it ironic that a WH which skipped in on a promise of hope, has managed to stamp it out completely.

  2. The Illinois prison thing just blows my mind. The problem we had with Gitmo is not the LOCATION at which these people are held! Really? REALLY? We were all screaming and yelling over not the injustice of it, but that it was on an island in the Carribean – otherwise it would have been okay??? THAT was what all the fuss was about?

    What is the point of “closing” Gitmo, only to continue to hold them in Illinois, at even greater expense to us? That’s insane. Either try them, or let them go, or if you’ve decided that you agree with Bush that they are too dangerous to do either, then at least be FUCKING HONEST and say that you are leaving them at Gitmo, and take your lumps for it from an enraged base.

    This kabuki musical chairs for detainees makes me ill.

    • I agree. It’s basically a way of getting more money for Illinois, I guess. Meanwhile, a lot of the prisoners who will be transferred are probably completely innocent and have been held without charges for years now. It’s disgusting.

    • These people are pure idiots. No sooner do they open the Illinois prison than questions about when will Thompson prison close will be raised. They should just say that we’re never letting some of these people go and since they’re going to be held for the rest of their lives, the sunny Caribbean is probably preferable to frigid Illinois.

    • BO: “Hey, Chicago, I couldn’t get you the Olympics, but at least I moved Gitmo to our state!”

    • Isn’t there a difference in their legal status if they move in country? I thought that was the issue.

      • Look at all the problems they are having getting a venue for the 9/11 trials….apparently, the trials must be held somewhere connected to the crime. What crime did any of these people commit in Illinois? So, we detain them indefinitely in Illinois, and then need to spend hundreds of millions to try them elsewhere?!!

        I’m writing to my representation and letting them know I do NOT approve.

        Thompson is 10 times bigger than they need for the number of prisons and there is absolutely no reason to close Gitmo if they aren’t going to close down the practice of indefinite detention.

        • Yup, exactly, no need to expend that kind of money.

          • Especially when it is difficult to attach the prisoners to a specific crime. They are simply members of, or have ties to, Al Q from what I have read. Last I knew, this country doesn’t charge you for crimes you MIGHT commit.

            Then, we’ve given up so many of our rights over the past 10 years, and Gibbs is claiming Khalid Sheikh Mohammed will get the death penalty for his crimes and he hasn’t even been put on trial yet, soooo presumed guilty until proven innocent is this administration’s mantra, apparently.

            http://www.mediabistro.com/prnewser/politics/robert_gibbs_says_ksm_will_meet_his_maker_150612.asp

        • What’s wrong with trying the 9/11 defendants in New York? The ones who perpetrated the 1993 WTC bombing were tried there.

          • Google it, there is more than enough news coverage for you to read.

            NYC is refusing to allow the trials to take place there.

          • I read it. They’re worried about cost and security. I just don’t see why it’s worse than trying the 1993 bombers there.

  3. I think Pat Buchanan is a loon, but if you ever doubted Google plays politics..

    http://www.businessinsider.com/does-google-filter-out-controversial-conservatives-from-search-suggestions-2010-2

    • I noticed quite a while back that many anti-Obama sites had a “this site might not be secure” warning attached to them in the search results, including this one. They are gone now, but Google did that for quite awhile. To scare people away from clicking on them?

    • Sometimes Buchanan seems nuts and sometimes he seems insightful. I was amazed at his insight on HRC during the primaries.

      The central point—having a huge conglomerate like google control, shape, and format so much of our information access has always bothered me. When that entity has a political bias it is especially troubling and I don’t care if its liberal, conservative or bat wing.

  4. Poor Humana! It’s 4th quarter earnings were only up 44%.

  5. “But Raw Story learned that the two other men arrested with O’Keefe “have links to” the CIA.
    (snip)
    Curiouser and curiouser.”

    I find it somewhat frightening too. Sounds like some wannabes that figure if the CIA can operate above (below and beyond) the law, CIA related folk can too.

  6. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704094304575029110104772360.html

    Interesting op-ed by Fouad Ajami (fromer advisor on ME to Condi Rice and big Iraq war supporter, also friend of Paul W.) at WSJ today called the Obama Spell is Broken. He teaches at John Hopkins. Guess I’m saying consider source, but interesting none the less.

    And then there was the hubris of the man at the helm: He was everywhere, and pronounced on matters large and small. This was political death by the teleprompter.

    Americans don’t deify their leaders or hang on their utterances, but Mr. Obama succumbed to what the devotees said of him: He was the Awaited One. A measure of reticence could have served him. But the flight had been heady, and in the manner of Icarus, Mr. Obama flew too close to the sun.

    We have had stylish presidents, none more so than JFK. But Kennedy was an ironist and never fell for his own mystique. Mr. Obama’s self-regard comes without irony—he himself now owns up to the “remoteness and detachment” of his governing style. We don’t have in this republic the technocratic model of the European states, where a bureaucratic elite disposes of public policy with scant regard for the popular will. Mr. Obama was smitten with his own specialness.

  7. BB: I intend to look at the budget stuff this afternoon, but finding this infinitely more interesting. Of course it’s from the UK FT. Remember how I said the government was signaling a lot during the financial crisis and the AIG, etc. stuff looked remotely illegal. Guess it could be!

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b457295c-0ea7-11df-bd79-00144feabdc0.html

    Neil Barofsky, the special inspector-general overseeing the US government’s financial rescue efforts, is to probe allegations of insider trading among bank executives and their associates.

    Eight of the largest banks in the US received between $2bn and $25bn in October 2008 under a programme to prop up the financial system led by Hank Paulson, then Treasury secretary.

    Dozens more institutions followed and Mr Barofsky, who examines the troubled asset relief programme, is looking into whether information improperly made its way to trading rooms during a feverish period in which the government and banks were frequently exchanging information.

    “We have pending investigations looking into that – typically into insider trading,” he said. “Once upon a time getting Tarp funds actually meant your stock price would go up and we are looking at specific trading around Tarp announcements by insiders or looking at potential tips from insiders.”

    • An example of suspicious activity at an unnamed firm showed a manager selling a security from a non-PPIP fund and then buying it back at a slightly higher price with a taxpayer-supported PPIP fund minutes later.

      • I’d be much more interested in your take on that than the budget, much of which won’t be approved by the House (freeze). I’d like to know what you think about the jobs plan. It doesn’t sound like much to me.

        Last week, I was listening to NPR talk about tax credits and loans to create jobs in small business. They interviewed a small businessman, and his reaction was “I need customers who can buy things.” They are going about this ass-backwards, IMHO.

      • Let’s hope there really is a serious investigation. I’ll believe it when I see it.

    • Ooohhh. I want to see some jail time!!!!

      Do write it up, DK!

  8. http://www.dailytopseven.com/readmore.php?newsid=MTMwNg==

    How will this affect blogs it backtrack does this?
    Will free speech on the internet be limited?

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

  9. Budget smudget, what about the Grammy’s. Loved the Elton-Gaga duet at the intro. Beyonce won the most of any woman ever. Congrats. Swift won for best album. Congrats. Taylor got off key while singing with Stevie Nicks, but she’s still a sweetheart. We found out Pink while hanging upside down and wet can sing better than most there. Congrats. But the most important thing of course was that the host, Stephen Colbert, whipped out an iPad during the event, showing he was the coolest of them all. Though his daughter didn’t think so. 🙂

  10. http://directorblue.blogspot.com/2010/01/pelosi-children-and-grandchildren-get.html

    how high are the costs for congress? Can we cut costs here?
    She is a disgrace and has set women back for years.
    What she could have been and what she is are so different.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE, MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • That article would have more credibility if they pulled the records of her predecessor Denny Hastert and made a comparison.

      • Because someone else did it , that does not make it right.
        I would complain about anyone abusing the taxpayer.
        We have a debt that my great great great grandchildren will be paying. Actions like this from congress does not help.
        I am with Jangles on making there expenses public and limiting what the taxpayer should pay.

        WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

        PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • I think we should be entitled each year to an independent report on the operations cost of the House, the Senate, the President/White House/First Family. That should include comparisons with costs of previous years—at least 10 years or 3 administrations. Figures should be adjusted for inflation. And I think we should have a national referendum on what their budget should be for the future.

      I was amazed and appalled to learn about Pelosi’s flagrant use of taxpayer funds for gourmet food and booze. I don’t know about your states but I know in this state, CA, public employees can not get reimbursement for the costs of alcoholic beverages. I think that is entirely appropriate; taxpayers should not be asked to pay for such stuff. If they want booze, let them buy their own. I don’t even think we should be buying such stuff for state dinners. The president can provide it from his personal funds if he so chooses or they can drink tap water. And no tobacco products either. I would also like to exclude any food item not grown or produced in the US—particularly kobe beef at a $100/pound. Arugula is expensive enough.

      These people are just insanely out of touch with the hoi polloi.

  11. Thanks, BB, you always seem to find really good stuff for us to ruminate about.

  12. I don’t understand why Obama needs to budget another $100 billion “for jobs” when two-thirds of the “stimulus” money remains UNSPENT.

    Why doesn’t he tap into THAT money FIRST, before asking for more?

    I think these funds will ALL be used to pump up “enthusiasm” (“enthusiasm” = votes) for him — when he runs for re-election in 2012 — in any state where the polls show he needs “help.”

    • My understanding is that the remaining stimulus is targeted to be spent in 2010, 2011 and even 2012 (insures re-election coverage).

  13. What’s with Obama’s poll bounce? He’s at -4 today:

    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/obama_approval_index_history

    Since the campaign advisors have been summoned to save the sinking ship they’ve been hammering the “give him a chance, he inherited a mess, it’s only been a year” crap.

    It appears to be sticking.

    He’s also Mr. Tough on Terror this week.

    I hope he does something really stupid and offensive this week to piss people off.

  14. “What’s with Obama’s poll bounce?”

    ~ ~

    I think the American public, in general, has the memory of a gypsy moth.

    Have they forgotten all of Obama’s campaign promises and pledges, most of which he BROKE within his first year as president?

    How can so many people (1) forget how badly Obama has acted, (2) forget how many campaign promises he has broken, and (3) not recognize that he was just recycling all those same empty campaign promises one more time in his SOTU? How can they continue to believe his siren song?

    • Don’t ya know. They yelled at him about all those promises and so he made a speech and they are all hoping for change again.

  15. In the meantime, the Woman who should have been President continues to reap accolades, this one from her speech at L’Ecole Militaire in Paris — “Hillary Clinton Understands the Link between Security and Poverty” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vivian-norris-de-montaigu/impressed-by-hilary-clint_b_444020.html).

    • I’m talking about opportunity costs today. It always hits home when I hear about Hillary. What an opportunity we lost, and what this cult of personality has cost us. Why can’t people vote for substance for a change?

  16. OT, but if any of you guys do the praying thing, or positive thoughts, or whatever, I could use some.

    I haven’t spoken of it much, but my health has not been good over the last year, and I’ve been in lots of pain. I’ve also lost 40 pounds over 8 months without trying. I finally, at my husband’s urging, the morning I could not zip my jeans because my hand was just flat frozen, got in to see a doc this past week. (Yeah, I’m stubborn, I won’t go til I’m dying.)

    He’s still working things up, and doing more labs, etc, sending me to a rheumatologist, but he’s fairly sure I have Lupus. If not that, then definitely something else auto-immune, as my ANA titers are way high. Positive vibes would be appreciated. It’s very discouraging and frustrating to just feel like I’ve been run over by a truck 90% of the time. I’m used to being a go-getter, and I CAN’T go. It makes me mad.

    • I’m sorry to hear about your condition, WMCB. I’m not into praying, but I always say, “May the Force be with you.” I hope the results of the examination are not as bad as you or your doctor suspect. Best of luck.

    • {{{WMCB}}} I am so sorry to hear this. Your pain doesn’t show up in your writing voice at all…. I will absolutely keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I’m just glad that you have finally seen a doctor. and I hope they can do something for you.

      xxoo

    • Sending positive thoughts to you. I’m sorry you’re having such troubles. Hopefully they can figure things out and help your system get in gear.

    • (((((WMCB)))))

      I don’t know if it will help for lupus, but back when I was low-carbing, I know that there are foods that supposedly help people who have auto-immune conditions (rich in omega-3, etc) and foods that worsened them (by triggering inflmmation — sugars, omega-6, etc)

    • So sorry to hear that, I have two neighbors who struggled with the same thing for years. But please check out a gluten-free diet. I know it sounds kinda new age-y, but it is absolutely the fastest thing to relieve symptoms for most auto-immune diseases (including arthritis, colitis, crohns, and lupus.) It took a long time to convince my friends, their doctors were not supportive in any way, but once they tried it, they were able to stop meds within months. And hell, it can’t hurt.

      Here’s more info:

      http://bastyrcenter.org/content/view/703/

      • WMCB, I’m sending positive thoughts your way, and wanted to reinforce what Outis printed. My daughter has finally been diagnosed with Celiacs after several years of pain, loss of feeling in various limbs, unexplained weight loss (try imaging a 6 footer at 105 pounds), internal bleeding, and general lethargy. She’s been gluten free for two years, and most of her worst symptoms have disappaited, although she still has trouble keeping weight on. It took 5 years to get her help, because most Doctors didn’t have the training to correctly identify the problem. It may not be Celiacs, but there are forums on the net, where as Outis stated, others with autoimmune problems who have gone gluten free indicate that it has helped them immeasureably.
        All the best – take very good care of yourself.

    • Oh no, I’m so sorry, WMCB. I’m glad you’re saw a doctor. I will be thinking of you and sending you good vibes. Take care of yourself.

    • Good thoughts coming your way, WMCB. It may help when you can get a diagnosis and an idea of how to treat your condition. Until then be gentle with yourself.

    • Soo sooo sorry to hear this. I don’t pray, but I am really great with good thoughts into the universe, and many are being sent your way.

      Your symptoms sound like what my sister experienced prior to being diagnosed with Graves, and what my mother experienced that never did get a diagnosis.

      I’m a bit stunned that you, a nurse, married to a doctor, waited so long….that’s the kind of thing I do because I have no faith in the medical world 🙂

      I hope you get a diagnosis quickly and that there is an easy remedy to get you back on your feet.

    • I hope you find relief. We need you around here.

    • I have been having a somewhat similar problem. Rheumatism doc decided I had some form that could not be found in a blood test. He gave me steroids for two months and it actually worked. I can now use my arms and fingers without screaming.

    • Thanks all for the well wishes. Hubby broke down and put me on prednisone for a week while we were waiting to get in to see a doc. (He does not like to prescribe for family members, as it’s a bad practice, but will in a pinch.) After about 3 days, it was the closest to human I’ve felt in ages. I could actually move without feeling like I was 100 years old! Soooo, that dramatic a response to pred pretty much confirms that whatever is going on, it’s definitely inflammatory and attacking my joints. I had lots more bloodwork, xrays, and a thyroid ultrasound today, and go to see the rheumatologist on Monday.

      For those who suggested diet, it’s something I will look into once I know for sure what’s going on. I’m not anti-meds at all, and have no problem staying on some if need be, but I do believe in an “all of the above” approach.

      Anyhoo, enough about me. 🙂 Has anyone seen the big hitters who are meeting with the Dem senators this week, while Obama rails on and on about those nasty lobbyists and special interests>?

      http://www.politico.com/blogs/bensmith/0210/Dem_senators_spent_weekend_with_bank_energy_tobacco_lobbyists.html?showall

      • Love and Prayers are coming your way. Hang in there WMCB. We can’t afford to lose the great ones!

      • Prayers definitely coming your way, WMCB. If your writings here are any indication, I’ll bet that when you know more, you will go at it with clearheaded energy and passion! Take good care and please keep us posted.

        • Prayers here too. best wishes for a good outcome

          • WMCB, so sorry to hear that news. The Israelis developed an interesting drug for Lupus some years back that worked as a decoy
            in the body so the Lupus attacked the medicine instead of the human. Don’t know what came of it and I can’t recall the name of it.
            It seemed like a clever approach.

            Best of luck, will be envisioning you well.

      • I hope you feel better right away. Take care and best wishes.

    • Deepest thoughts and prayers for you and the hope that a fast diagnosis will bring a simplistic fix for a symptom free life…

    • I wish you a curable prognosis. I’m joining everyone else in sending positive outcomes your way.

    • WMCB

      I wish you only good things. You bring so much to the people of this site.
      With proper medication and diet I hope the pain goes away.
      You do have many people praying for you and wishing you well.

      WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

      PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • Good grief, girl – and you from the healthcare field. I do pray WMCB and I will for {{{you}}}.

      I know that a gluten-free diet has helped colleagues of mine with auto-immune issues. No sugar either.

    • Prayer here and am sending some as I type. (How is that for multii-tasking??) I hope that you get the medical help you need and that you take care of yourself. XXOOX

    • Saying prayers and sending positive energy your way.

  17. http://tinyurl.com/ygtbp9m

    Ben Smith, Poltico:

    “Dem. senators spent weekend with bank, energy, tobacco lobbyists”

    […]
    The guest list for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee’s “winter retreat” at the Ritz Carlton South Beach Resort doesn’t include the price tag for attendance, but the maximum contribution to the committee, typical for such events, is $30,000. There, to participate in “informal conversations” and other meetings Saturday, were senators including DSCC Chairman Robert Menendez; Michigan’s Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow; Bob Casey of Pennsylvania; Claire McCaskill of Missouri; freshmen Kay Hagan of North Carolina and Mark Begich of Alaska; and even left-leaning Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

    Across the table was a who’s who of 108 senior Washington lobbyists, including the top lobbying officials for many of the industries Democrats regularly attack: Represented were the American Bankers Association, the tobacco company Altria, the oil company Marathon, several drug manufacturers, the defense contractor Lockheed, and most of the large independent lobbying firms: Ogilvy, BGR, Quinn Gillespie, Heather Podesta, and Tony Podesta.

    […]

    • aw come on, it’s really cold in most of those senator’s states! They just needed to thaw a bit. Bob Casey…ugh.

    • They should have invited All State too so then we would know we are in good hands.

    • LOL! I just posted that above before I saw yours. But, but…. i thought we hated special interests and lobbyists – Obama said so!

  18. I am probably the odd person out here but I think this whole thing about “the trials” is an incomprehensible mess. Most Americans do not and will not see the remaining Gitmo detainees as “criminals”—they see them as “war criminals” who were supposedly involved in plots to attack US targets.

    I think we should have a process similar to the Nuremburg trials where we tried German “war criminals”. I think we need to have a process whereby in a court we present our evidence that they were in fact involved in such efforts and they present their evidence they were not. And if they are convicted they get whatever, which may be imprisonment for the rest of their lives. I think a military tribunal is probably the best resource—that is not a process closed to the press. And frankly I think after all we spent setting up a state of the art prison in Gitmo if they are found guilty they could just stay there.

    Why is it that everything in this country turns into a political pretzel.

  19. WMCB: Just saw your post about your health. Wow. You have both my prayers and my positive thoughts. Love your comments and your posts so much. Take every care of yourself. And thanks for letting us know you are hurting. Warmest regards always.

  20. You guys have to let me know hwha tthe penance for posting Fox News is, but this is too funny not too share…

    http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/02/01/new-england-company-unveils-brown-action-figure/

  21. http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100201/pl_afp/usindonesiaaustraliadiplomacyobama_20100201193915

    The traveling man is making plans again. He has more miles on the road than Goodyear.

    WOMEN WITH INTELLIGENCE AND EXPERIENCE,MEN WHO SUPPORT THEM AND COUNTRY BEFORE PARTY ALWAYS

    PUMAS,BUBBAS,EQUALISTS AND THOSE PEOPLE RULE

    • Wasn’t this the diplomatic trip Hillary had started when she had to turn around for Haiti. Good to know BO is covering for her.

  22. Obama not only wants to be like W, in fact he wants to UeberW W.
    More Wars, more deficits, more dead, more misery for the American citizen. And like W Obama Helps the creditors, ignores the debtors.

    And this is just the beginning. Obama’s defense budget for his many wars will please the Repubs even thou they will complain. That is normal. And Obama is more than happy to freeze so-called entitlement spending starting next year.

    Are all the Obots rich folks who don’t care? If they are middle class they will soon learn what it means to be poor.

    btw. I just read that Obama’s deficit will be the highest ever. I just forgot the amount – many many billions $$$$.

    Walk away!!!

    —-what I just read:

    Food for Thought re Obama’s Junk Economics

    “Democrats Say “Bye” to Populist Option
    Obama’s Junk Economics

    By MICHAEL HUDSON

    In a dress rehearsal for this November’s mid-term election, Democrats and Republicans vied last week for who could denounce the banks and blame the other party the most for the giveaways to Wall Street that have swollen the public debt since September 2008, pushing the federal budget into deficit and the economy into a slump.

    The Republicans are winning the populist war. …”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/

  23. I have been following the Blair investigation in the UK. He was interviewed last Friday.

    I didn’t see any discussion here on the blog but this should not be ignored IMHO.

    Just read the following Patrick Cockburn article:

    Britain’s Neo-Conservative

    The Case Against Tony Blair

    The case against Tony Blair has revolved too much around his good faith and too little around his competence. The placards held up by protestors on Friday as he gave evidence should have read “sucker” and “dope” rather than “Bliar”.

    read on

  24. Some may call this a rant, I think a heart is breaking ….

    David Michael Green
    An Ugly Week for the Human Race (and Other Living Things)

    More for the Super-Rich, Less for the Rest of Us

    clip

    “Well, Barack, if you’re reading this, let me first thank you for your note. How kind of you to write. And, yes, as a matter of fact, I was a bit fired up for the last election. But, no, I wouldn’t dream of being fired up for you or your party again this year, and perhaps not ever again any year, as a matter of fact. And you’re a big reason for that, my friend. You see – how shall I put this? – bankers don’t need another vote in the White House. They’ve got plenty. And since you’ve decided to ask folks in 2010 which side the people they have in Washington are on, my answer is that they are overwhelmingly on the side of protecting the big banks, on the side of protecting the big oil companies, and on the side of protecting insurance companies.”

    clip

    “Oh, and perhaps you haven’t noticed, but you and your party won the last two elections. The ‘people we have in Washington’ right now are not they, but rather you.”

    And you’re wrecking the country and the world.

    clip

    “And so it was, this Week From Hell, in which the avenues of national redemption closed more completely and more emphatically. There will be no genuine party of the people on our ballots, there to choose in elections. There will be no alternative voice of sanity in the media flinging even toy arrows at the impenetrable wall of national psychosis. There will be no change you can believe in from a president who seems content to be just a slogan in a suit. There will be only more of the same, until the next election, when it will get worse, and then the one after that when it gets worse still. All of which may be but a mere warm-up act for the real fireworks.”

    clip

    “Such was the Week From Hell, indeed, except for one final blow.

    Howard Zinn left us, shutting down yet another of the few remaining voices of sanity in this deeply unhealthy society. Judging by these events preceding his death, it’s not unreasonable to guess why he went when he did.

    You can die from a broken heart, can’t you?”

    http://www.counterpunch.org/

  25. What David Michael Green said:

    “Bankers don’t need another vote in the White House”

    Brilliant!


    Walk away!!!

  26. Excellent roundup, thanks.

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