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Monday Morning News and Views

Good Morning Conflucians! I know I’ve been a bit out of if for the past few days–is that why I have a feeling that there is no news worth discussing? Sure, there is another earthquake, this time in Turkey; there are elections in Iraq, there is a new “Al Quaeda” arrest in Pakistan, and there is the ongoing nightmare of “health care reform.”

So why do I feel as if nothing is really happening? Is it just me, or is this country paralyzed, waiting for–what? The other shoe to drop? Another depression er– “recession?” Is there anything that can get us moving? Can anything force this scaredy-cat President to do something–anything!–to change the disastrous course we are on?

In the big media and at “progressive” blogs Rahm Emanuel is being blamed for the paralysis. The Hill had a long piece by Sam Youngman about this “controversy” yesterday.

A spate of recent reports have portrayed Emanuel, known for his aggressive brand of Washington politics, as either the voice of reason in a weak, liberal White House or the wet blanket preventing President Barack Obama from pursuing the kind of change he promised as a candidate.

Emanuel has become the flash point in those arguments as liberals express betrayal over Obama’s failure to convince Congress to pass a public option in healthcare reform and close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

According to Youngman, “Democratic strategists” are blaming the netroots for the attacks on Rahm, but other anonymous sources say that efforts to undermine him are coming from inside the White House. The article references Huffington Post pieces by Dan Froomkin and Michael Moore. As we at TC know all too well, these “progressives” still can’t face the fact that they helped elect Bush III. They want to believe that Obama is being duped by Emanuel–and the subtext is that it’s the Clinton’s fault. From the Hill article:

But what Rahm represents to the left dates back to liberal anger with Clinton and his kindred spirits at the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Emanuel is seen by some progressives as wanting to win, to a fault by sacrificing principles of the party.

“Rahm believes in being elected; not in the glory of losing or failing,” the strategist said.

In another “think piece,” at Business Week, veteran Village insider Al Hunt calls this “faux White House intrique.” Hunt doesn’t seem to want to blame Obama either, but he nibbles around the edges of doing that:

Yet there is a larger self-created problem for which Emanuel and Axelrod are only partly to blame. Go back to the remarkable Obama campaign of 2007-2008. More than any of its rivals, it had a strategic sense of what it was, where it wanted to go.

This provided a shield against setbacks: losing the New Hampshire primary, the candidate’s careless remarks about rural Pennsylvania voters or even the incendiary remarks of Obama’s pastor. These became speed bumps in the strategic narrative.

That is missing in the Obama presidency. Too often it seems situational rather than strategic, reactive more than proactive. Thus setbacks, from minor ones, such as the handling of the Christmas Day bomber, to major ones, like the loss of the Senate seat in Massachusetts, throw team Obama off stride, and leave voters confused.

Hint, hint…but no one wants to come out and say it: Obama is clueless–he has no idea how to lead our country and no goal in mind even if he could lead. How are we going to survive three more years of this kind of inertia? Continue reading

“Why Hillary Clinton Might Have Made a Better President”

Matthew Rothschild

No, I didn’t write that headline. It’s the headline of a post by Matthew Rothschild, editor of The Progressive Magazine. Rothschild begins:

Has it ever crossed your mind that maybe Hillary Clinton might have made a better President than Barack Obama?

It’s sure crossed my mind a lot lately, as we’ve seen Obama flounder so badly on health care, on the bank bailout, on foreclosures, and on the jobs front.

Yes, yes, that has crossed my mind. In fact it crossed my mind way back in January of 2008. I don’t know why you’re so late in realizing this simple fact, but welcome to a growing club.

I’ll leave out the part of the post where Rothschild establishes his CDS creds–you probably can guess what it says. Hillary is a “centrist” and “hawkish” and a drama queen. He doesn’t explain how that differentiates her from Barack, but I understand he need to justify himself to his audience. But…here’s the but:

Remember back in the campaign, when she mocked Obama’s invocation of bipartisanship by saying: “The sky will open. The lights will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect!”

She was criticized for being harsh, or as the sexists put it, “shrill.”

But she was right, especially when she added: “Maybe I’ve just lived a little long, but I have no illusions at how hard this is going to be. You are not going to wave a magic wand and have the special interests disappear.”

She also made the case that she could take a punch and keep on fighting, and she called into question Obama’s willingness to play hardball.

Even the editor of The Progressive has to admit now that Hillary was right about Obama. Too bad he didn’t figure that out in time to make a difference. Nevertheless, welcome to the club, Matthew.

And then there’s this:

52 percent of Americans said President Barack Obama doesn’t deserve reelection in 2012, according to a new poll.

44 percent of all Americans said they would vote to reelect the president in two and a half years, less than the slight majority who said they would prefer to elect someone else.

Obama faces a 44-52 deficit among both all Americans and registered voters, according to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released Tuesday. Four percent had no opinion.

Only a little more than a year into Obama’s presidency, and he’s already looking like a lame duck.

David Shuster Meets His Match

Since I never watch MSNBC anymore, I was fortunate to see these videos posted at No Quarter by Curt of Flopping Aces. These interviews are amazing.

We already know that David Shuster is one of the most misogynistic “reporters” in the media, standing out even among his koolaid-chugging colleagues at the Obama Network. For example, during the primaries he accused Hillary Cllinton of “pimping out” her daughter, simply because Chelsea Clinton, a mature adult, freely chose to make campaign appearances for her mother. In another blatant display of CDS, Shuster brought a “Hillary laughing pen” onto the set during a discussion of primary results and used it to mock Hillary for her “cackle.” Shuster was also one of the most rabid of the TV talking heads in his attacks on Sarah Palin during the general election campaign. There are endless examples of his over-the-top CDS and PDS.

On Friday, Shuster “interviewed” (actually harrangued) John Ziegler a libertarian-conservative radio talk show host turned docmentary filmmaker, whose film Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected will be released in February. Ziegler maintained a good humored tone as he stood up to Shuster’s attempted battering. Apparently Shuster felt he’d been beaten, so he invited Ziegler back a few hours later for another attempt, which was again a failure. Watch and enjoy.

Discuss.

Update: John Ziegler has been “distressed by the general nature of the liberal response” to the preview of his documentary that was posted at you tube.

I should probably hold off (for now) on sharing the over-the-top,hate-filled, profanity-laced, rationality-less e-mail I have received, but you can just go to the comments section of the video and see for yourself!

While I guess I should not have expected much from the followers of a false Messiah virtually installed by an adoring media, even I have been a bit taken aback by the absurdity and intensity of much of the reaction to the video and the Zogby poll that I commissioned.

We Conflucians are not surprised, of course. We also know that the Obots are not really liberals. They are Obamicans.

Tuesday: Are you pondering what I’m pondering?

Q:  Why is Christopher Hitchens, that “drink-sodden former Trotskyist popinjay”, still getting paid to write for Slate?

His latest piece is called, Serving the Clintonian Interest, is full of the typical anti-Clinton shtick.

China, Indonesia, Georgia—these are not exactly negligible countries on our defense and financial and ideological peripheries. In each country, there are important special interests that equate the name Clinton with the word pushover. And did I forget to add what President Clinton pleaded when the revulsion at the Rich pardons became too acute? He claimed that he had concerted the deal with the government of Israel in the intervals of the Camp David “agreement”! So anyone who criticized the pardons had better have been careful if they didn’t want to hear from the Anti-Defamation League. Another splendid way of showing that all is aboveboard and of convincing the Muslim world of our evenhandedness.

In matters of foreign policy, it has been proved time and again, the Clintons are devoted to no interest other than their own. A president absolutely has to know of his chief foreign-policy executive that he or she has no other agenda than the one he has set. Who can say with a straight face that this is true of a woman whose personal ambition is without limit; whose second loyalty is to an impeached and disbarred and discredited former president; and who is ready at any moment, and on government time, to take a wheedling call from either of her bulbous brothers? This is also the unscrupulous female who until recently was willing to play the race card on President-elect Obama and (in spite of her own complete want of any foreign-policy qualifications) to ridicule him for lacking what she only knew about by way of sordid backstairs dealing. What may look like wound-healing and magnanimity to some looks like foolhardiness and masochism to me.

Damn, that President Clinton!  Showing everyone up by trying to negotiate peace between the Israelis and Palestinians.  Why wasn’t he appropriately attentive to Mark Rich’s unsavory pardon details when he had to have known that the entire media would be covering it?  That whole Camp David excursion was just a conveeeenient distraction.

I can almost imagine a Monty Pythonesque voice in the background saying, “Well, there’s spam, spam, *bacon* and spam.  It doesn’t have too much spam in it.”  It’s the same damn spammy stuff we’ve eaten for 15 years now.  Give it a rest, Christopher.  There’s no THERE there.  I’m beginning to think that Clinton Derangement Syndrome (CDS) has run its course.  The merest mention of an investigation of the two of them fails to raise our heartbeats anymore.  It isn’t going to sell any additional papers.  It won’t get anymore hits to the WaPo online site.  We are all yaaaaawwwwwnnninng.

Maybe this was all part of the Clintons’ diabolical plan.  Let them be overexposed.  Allow some vaguely unsavory connexions to stand for awhile.  Drive the media into a frenzy while Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd exercise their IBM Selectrics for awhile and lead them all into a false sense of security.  It’ll be just like the salad days of the 90’s when there was a scandal waiting under each table in the White House.  Except now, fifteen years later, after investigation after investigation has turned up nothing but a zaftig beret wearing intern, nobody cares what the Clintons are doing.  Now, they really *can* get away with murder.  It’s wicked.

Well, who can blame the Hitchens, Dowd and Rich types?  They’re about to be has-beens, washed up.  They won’t be able to criticize The Precious without having the word “racist” flung at them.  They’re caught between a couple who most Americans admire and a President Elect whose political office will defenestrate from the press plane the first reporter whose prose is not absolutely laudatory and fawning.  That should make for some interesting reading in the next four years.  I am looking forward to a lot of “damning with faint praise” pieces.  Reading between the lines will be very entertaining.

Meanwhile, the new Foreign President, Madame Secretary Clinton, will be lavished with the kind of foreign press that she and her husband always used to get.  Christopher Hitchens should stock up on the Bombay Sapphire.

Monday: Bi-Partisan Bank Robbery?

I don’t pretend to understand Credit Derivative Swaps and financial ‘instruments’ and it looks like the people who have been playing with them for the past eight years don’t understand them either.  But we better all get some ejucashun and nollij about them toot sweet because Treasury Secretary Paulson is about to give clean out the treasury to bail Bush’s buddies out of trouble.  Well, we can hardly blame them. Opportunities like these don’t come around often and time is running out.

We should have seen this coming.  The Bushies have been looting ever since they took office.  If they’re not saddling us with tremendous debt from some unnecessary war and loading up planes full of money to Iraq, they are rewarding their lobbyist friends with sweetheart deals.  They’ve really exceeded their daily chutzpah with the last one.  If you have been following Anglachel’s Journal for the past couple of days the plan is clear and the fix is in.  It sounds like Paulson is planning to hand over $700 billion dollars of your hard earned tax dollars to the firms on Wall Street to buy their assets.  The claim is that this will prevent a massive financial meltdown and Depression.  Under that scenario, we the people should expect something in return, like, I dunno, greater oversight?  Accountability?  Regulation?  Nope.  Paulson is saying we should just give these people the money and trust them.  AND instead of asking some of them to take what is “fair market value” for their depreciated real estate assets, which would mean they are perhaps 35-40% underwater, Paulson has decided to give them greater than market value for these turkeys.

But wait!  There’s more.  If you been paying attention, Hillary Clinton has been proposing something like the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) where the government would restructure and refinance bad mortgages from individual homeowners and make them affordable.  The theory goes that if those homeowners are able to pay their loans at more reasonable rates, the money would start flowing back to the banks, increasing their solvency.   And not only is this a beautiful theory, it has actually been done before- successfully.  It was implemented during the Great Depression.

Of course, that would mean that the banks would take a loss on some of their investment ‘instruments’(God, I hate jargon.  Why not just call it a con game and get on with it?).  And the financial institutions would prefer that YOU the taxpayer is stuck holding the bag, not them the royal f%($-ups.  It *seems* like this was their plan all along.  Play with other people’s money, suck up all the extra liquidity there is in the economy, deregulate everything and when it looks like the whols she-bang is about to go under, scream that the sky is falling so citizens panic about their money and the Treasury cuts yet another sweet heart deal that leaves the rich guys off the hook.

We can’t let it happen this time, guys.  If the economy is really on the verge of collapse, then the financial institutions have to make sacrifices just like everyone else in order to fix it.  Otherwise, the FDIC will be wiped out and everyone’s money is at risk.  Not that Mr. Moneybucks cares.  He’s got his.  You get yours whatever way you can.  If you don’t have friends in high places, tough noogies.  Well, we DO have some friends in high places.  Hillary has a plan, but doesn’t she always?  The question is, will the rest of Congress get religion and where do Obama and McCain stand on the issue?  We need to hold their feet to the fire.  On that note, Sarah at Corrente has some suggestions:

First, and foremost, write and call and email — not just one, but all three — your representatives. Local, state, and federal. Send copies of your letters to the media. Demand Bu$hco’s bailout plan be scuttled NOW.
Second, get out of debt. If you’re contemplating buying something on credit, hold off 30 days.
Third, make sure any checking or savings accounts you have are within the limits of and with institutions covered by the FDIC. If you’re one of the lucky few who’ll have to move some money to do this, get after it.

And in the latest twist, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley have transformed themselves from investment banks to bank holding companies subject to greater regulation.  That initially sounds good but there’s a catch:

In exchange for subjecting themselves to more regulation, the companies will have access to the full array of the Federal Reserve’s lending facilities. It should help them avoid the fate of Lehman Brothers, which filed for bankruptcy last week, and Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch — both of which agreed to be acquired by big bank holding companies.

So, it looks like Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley remain intact, just in time, and avoid acquisition by other banks because they are able to rely on the Federal Reserve to rescue them before they are declared insolvent.  Sweeeet!  Must be nice to have a sugar daddy in government.  Oh, you don’t have one?  That’s because you are supposed to be self-reliant!  Responsible!  A rugged individualist!  It builds character when you have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps.  What?  You haven’t got any boots?  Well, whose fault is that?  This isn’t socialism, ya’ know.