Tuesday, March 10, 2009
--Jennifer Rubin, Commentary
Bonus Verbatim Stupidity: "We know the Far Left is where the “cabal” resides and that their regard for human rights is nonexistent."
I defer to Zandardad for the psych assessment of this woman.
New tag: Obama Derangement Syndrome.
Charles W. Freeman Jr. asked today that his name be withdrawn as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair announced.The answer to who controls Obama's Middle East policy is simple: Israel.
The withdrawal came hours after Blair gave a spirited defense of the outspoken former ambassador to a dubious senator, and a day after all seven Republican members of the Senate intelligence committee criticized the appointment over his views on Israel and his past relationships with Saudi and Chinese interests.
Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) questioned Blair about the appointment today when the intelligence chief came before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Lieberman cited Freeman's past associations and statements which, the senator said, "appear either inclined to lean against Israel or too much in favor of China."
The National Intelligence Council oversees production of national intelligence estimates and shorter assessments on specific issues, tapping experts from among the 16 intelligence agencies. The chairman's position does not require Senate confirmation.
Israel didn't like Freeman. Ergo, Freeman was forced to withdraw. Game, set, match, Tel Aviv. That's all you need to know about Obama's "change" as far as the Middle East goes: we're still Israel's vassal state.
[UPDATE] Double G has more:
Does anyone doubt that it's far more permissible in American political culture to criticize actions of the American government than it is the actions of the Israeli Government? Isn't that rather odd, and quite self-evidently destructive?And thus, nothing has truly changed. The depressing, maddening thing is the number of people on both sides of the aisle who are actually taking credit for Freeman's defeat. Both Democrats and Republicans are in fact crowing about how they stopped Chas Freeman, as if he was the most despised man in the United States.
But that's the power of Israel in the US. You cross them, you're done in Washington.
I mean, I guess that proves it's real by that logic, huh? By the same token, today's 380 point gain on the Dow is therefore proof that Wall Street has wholeheartedly embraced the Obama administration's economic plan, yes?
But the question isn't will the bill pass, but how watered down the bill will be as Jonathan Tasini explains.
So we'll see. The legislation should be introduced today, and where it goes and what form the final bill will take is anyone's guess.
First, a bit about my view of the state of play. The math has always been pretty simple: EFCA will easily pass the House. The fight will be to get to 60 votes in the Senate. I've always suspected the conventional thinking on this was off--conventional, meaning, once Al Franken is seated, bringing the Democratic Senate caucus to 59, it would be easy to recruit one more Republican, more than likely, Arlen Specter, to support EFCA.
The problem is that there are a handful of Democratic Senators who are, at best, weak on labor, and, at best, just outright shills for corporate interests in the Congress. Here is my list: Max Baucus, Ben Nelson, Mary Landrieu, and Blanche Lincoln; it's not clear to me what the replacement Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet will do on the bill, nor do I entirely trust Bill Nelson or Mark Pryor (on Pryor, maybe it's a family thing: his father was one of two Democratic Senators who would not vote in the 1990s to break a filibuster on the legislation that would have banned striker replacements, dooming the bill and giving corporations even more power to intimidate workers). That's seven Senators who, in my opinion, you cannot count as passionate champions of EFCA.
Here is what should concern us. I doubt any Democratic Senator will say "I oppose EFCA". What you will hear is something along the lines, "I think unions are good but there needs to be a balance between the interests of workers and business and the following amendment makes sure there is a balance..." and, not publicly, "thank you, Chamber of Commerce, you can now write out the PAC check for my next campaign..."
When you have mark-to-market accounting in a downward economy, in a spiraling balance sheet economy, that means those reserves have to grow, that means you can't lend as much.Yes, the accounting rules that allow you have fair and real numbers for your assets rather than making complete bullshit up are the problem according to the GOP, not the fact that banks have been habitually lying about their assets since the repeal of Glass-Stegall ten years ago.
So we need to fix the mark-to-market rules, either suspend them, go to a six- or a one-year rolling average. It's these mark-to-market rules that are taking these balance seats of these banks downward and preventing them from lending.
So rather than changing the capital requirements, which were too liberal in the last, you know, 10 or so years, let's fix the rule that caused it in the first place, and that's mark-to-market.
The problem isn't your car is on fire, the problem is the mechanic has to honestly tell you your car is on fire, and that you can't play pretend anymore.
The call by some right wing leaders for rebellion and for the military to refuse the commander in chief’s orders is joined by Chuck Norris who claims that thousands of right wing cell groups have organized and are ready for a second American Revolution. During an appearance on the Glen Beck radio show he promised that if things get any worse from his point of view he may “run for president of Texas.” The martial artist/actor/activist claims that Texas was never formally a part of the United States in the first place and that if rebellion is to come through secession Texas would lead the way.This is pretty dangerous stuff here, talking about secession from the US because, you know, they don't like the guy in charge. Last time this happened, well, a whole hell of a lot of Americans died.Today in his syndicated column on WorldNetDaily Norris reiterates the point: “That need may be a reality sooner than we think. If not me, someone someday may again be running for president of the Lone Star state, if the state of the union continues to turn into the enemy of the state.”He continues; calling on a second American Revolution; “…we've bastardized the First Amendment, reinterpreted America's religious history and secularized our society until we ooze skepticism and circumvent religion on every level of public and private life.How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution? We the people have the authority according to America's Declaration of Independence, which states: That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”Norris claims that; “Thousands of cell groups will be united around the country in solidarity over the concerns for our nation.” The right wing cells will meet during a live telecast, "We Surround Them," on Friday March 13 at 5 p.m.
Now, Chuck Norris is a trained martial artist and could whip my fat ass like a lemon meringue, but the guy is certifiable if he thinks he's going to be Sam Houston. Abolishing the Obama administration? Thousands of cell groups? C'mon. Can you imagine the outcry from the right if George Clooney or Brad Pitt or Michael Moore said a state should secede from the union and that there were thousands of cell groups out there? We'd have calls for McCarthy-style hearings into Hollywood in a heartbeat.
And yet Glenn Beck's "We Surround Them" movement is calling for Americans to do just that, to resist the notion of prior consent and that the family is the ultimate authority, not the government. Beck is rolling this movement out on FOX as a call for open resistance to the Obama government.
Once again, can you imagine how quickly the right would have Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow's jobs (and heads) if they called for this type of thing? How they would openly be called traitors? How they would call for their incarceration or even execution for mentioning something like this against the Bush administration?
But I suppose national TV/radio hosts and Hollywood TV personalities openly calling for secession from the union are 100% acceptable now that Hussein X, Scourge of Whitey is in power.
"We must have a strategy that regulates the financial system as a whole, in a holistic way, not just its individual components," Bernanke said in prepared remarks to the Council on Foreign Relations.Here's a start, kids: Repeal Gramm-Leach-Bliley. Bring back the separation of insurance, banking, and brokerages under Glass-Steagall. In the space of less than ten years, GLB has all but destroyed the global financial system.
The Fed chief's speech come as the Obama administration and Congress are starting to crafting their overhaul strategies. For the administration, critical work on that front will be carried out among global finance officials this weekend in London. That will help set the stage for a meeting of leaders from the world's 20 major economic powers in April.
Revamping the U.S. financial rule book -- a patchwork that dates to the Civil War -- is a complex task. Congress, the administration and the Fed are involved because they want to strengthen the system to prevent a repeat of the financial crisis -- the worst since the 1930s-- that has plunged the U.S. and many other countries' economies into painful recessions.
Get that law passed. These companies are costing us trillions and trillions of dollars to save. They should be downsized and broken up to the point where they are no longer systemic threats to the world financial fabric if even one of them fails. You want to reform the system there, Ben? Start there.
No real, meaningful reform to the financial system can start without first putting back the bank regulations that were enacted after the *last* depression, and that means restoring Glass-Steagall's firewalls between the financial, brokerage, and insurance industries. These corrupt companies only exist now thanks to trillions in bailouts and loan guarantees backed up by taxpayer dollars, and they have shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that corporate greed and shoddy enforcement will invariably lead to disaster. I have no sympathy left for them, and neither does anyone else.
The time has come. If Helicopter Ben is serious about reform, start with Nancy and Harry putting back Glass-Steagall.
With the unemployment rate at a 25-year high, employers indicate that hiring isn't likely to pick up anytime soon, according to a staffing firm survey released Tuesday.Well no shit, Sherlock.
The GOP is attacking Freeman on his "lack of experience" but the real reason is that the neocons believe Freeman is too close to the Saudis in particular, and not close enough to Israel, not to mention the larger goal of derailing Hillary Clinton as SecState. The Israel lobby in the US has targeted Chas Freeman for destruction as a result and are bringing enormous pressure to bear from the right.
But the stroke that may end Chas Freeman's career is coming from, of all places, the Left.
One new development, revealed here for the first time, which is likely to further damage Freeman's already battered standing is that the former ambassador advocated creating a national identity system in the US as a part of the war on terror. During a 9/11 Commission interview, Freeman remarked that of three major changes the US government should make to effectively combat terror, one was that "the United States should implement a national identity system, so we better know who is who."Now, that's a hit job if I've ever seen one, and for the HuffPo to go along says to me that the Israel lobby has plenty of neocon friends on the Left, too.
This development could raise fresh objections to Freeman from both Republicans advocating leaner and less involved approaches to government and Democrats pushing for more robust civil liberty protections. Additionally, revelation that Freeman advocated putting a national identity system in place might also raise questions from the few remaining left-of-center commentators and outlets which support Freeman's appointment.
And it seems nobody in Washington is willing to come to Freeman's defense, either. The rancor against Freeman shouldn't be surprising, as far as the Israel lobby is concerned, he doesn't past the loyalty test and might actually tell Obama things about Tel Aviv that could almost be considered the truth.
But with the coming Netanyahu administration in Israel, Freeman will almost immediately become a point of contention. They don't like him, and the irony is apparently lost on everyone that an American foreign policy adviser is being accused of being under undue foreign influence by another foreign country who clearly means to bring undue foreign influence to bear on his appointment.
- A study of homelessness shows that 1 in 50 kids are without a home in the US.
- President Obama has asked all Federal agencies to review any signing statements by Bush.
- The five largest US banks could face hundreds of billions in additional derivatives losses.
- Ultra-right wing racists are gaining political power in Britain with the economic crisis.
- Homeland Security's top cybersecurity expert has resigned, stating a lack of funding and NSA interference.