Monday, April 27, 2009

DOOM BUNKER, Swine Flu Edition

Live from the DOOM BUNKER, it's Glennsanity on the Swine Flu gubment conspiracy!
Well, I will tell you this. There's only two ways to look at, and we're going to look at it both ways later on in this broadcast today and also tonight with some of the experts. There's only two ways to look at this. Our government is moving wildly fast. Unlike anything we -- I mean, we did the research last night, and we went back to the AIDS epidemic --all the way back, looking at all the different things. They've never moved this quickly.

So, that could be that because Barack Obama's administration is so incredibly efficient, could be that they know that this is much worse than we think it is. Or, what was it Rahm Emanuel said, Stu? "A crisis is a horrible thing to waste." Do you realize that we don't have any of the Health and Human Services people? Out of the 19 appointments, he has appointed zero.

This could be to move his Health and Human Services person into the office rapidly. She's supposed -- she's supposed to go through more confirmation hearings today, I think. She can be confirmed right out of the gate because of this swine flu. So don't look over here, look at the swine flu, look at the swine flu, look at the swine flu. And she just goes right through the gate.

Three things:

1) Hey Glenn, do you remember who was first President when AIDS was first diagnosed? You remember, the guy that took six years to even make a major address on the global health crisis of HIV/AIDS? The guy who famously said "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" A Republican named Ronald Reagan? Maybe you've heard of the guy.

2) You want to know why there's none of the 19 HHS appointments in office yet? REPUBLICANS KEEP BLOCKING THEIR CONFIRMATION, YOU ASSHOLE.

3) Obama has the power to create a global health crisis just to get Kathleen Sebelius a job? Really? I had no idea. Say, you look a little pale, Glenn...perhaps you should go see a doctor. I don't think you're feeling well.

What a crackpot.

High School All Over Again

Hey, Obama administration people:

When you give in to the Village's sense of self-importance and play along with their "First 100 Days" game, don't act surprised when the Villagers suddenly change the rules on you in an effort to make you look stupid.
The Fox television network has refused to air President Barack Obama’s primetime press conference on Wednesday night, scheduled to mark the president’s 100th day in office.

“The address, scheduled for 8 p.m. (ET), could have possibly affected the ‘American Idol’ results show, which begins at 9 p.m., and the network did not want to risk that during the critical sweeps period for ratings, according to sources,” reported the Los Angeles Times. “Fox has historically not registered high ratings for presidential addresses and decided, given the nature of this particular press conference, not to show it, sources said. Fox aired Obama’s two previous primetime addresses.”

They're not refusing to air you because you're preempting American Idol. They're telling you to go to hell to your face because 1) you're making too much of a deal about this 100 days thing and 2) because you might spill over into American Idol an hour later.

Here endeth the lesson.

Fly-By Night Operation

The person reponsible for this? Gone. Fired. Shitcanned. Immediately. As in "No kidding, here's your cardboard box, fill it and get the hell out."
An Air Force One lookalike, the backup plane for the one regularly used by the president, flew low over parts of New York and New Jersey on Monday morning, accompanied by two F-16 fighters, so Air Force photographers could take pictures high above the New York harbor.

But the exercise — conducted without any notification to the public — caused momentary panic in some quarters and led to the evacuation of several buildings in Lower Manhattan and Jersey City. By the afternoon, the situation had turned into a political fuse box, with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg saying that he was “furious” that he had not been told in advance about the flyover.
And we learn that person is Louis Caldera out of the White House Military Office. All I have to say is "Bye."
The mission on Monday, officials said, was set up to create an iconic shot of Air Force One, similar to one that was taken in recent years over the Grand Canyon.

When President Obama learned of the episode on Monday afternoon, aides said, he, too, was furious. Senior administration officials conveyed the president’s anger in a meeting with Mr. Caldera on Monday afternoon.
Moron. A low flying Air Force One lookalike chased by jets over Manhattan as a press-op with no warning to the Mayor or city of New York? What the hell were you thinking, man?

Obama absolutely must kick this stupid jackass to the curb.

Oh, Well Now Here's The Problem

Despite a national health emergency being declared, Republicans say they will continue to filibuster the Secretary of Health and Human Services anyway.
McConnell spokesperson Stewart says that the Senate agreement last week has “locked in” the 60 vote threshold. “She’ll have her confirmation vote tomorrow,” he says, adding that “every single Democrat” agreed to that threshold.

But Jim Manley, a spokesperson for Dem Senate leader Harry Reid, says that Senate GOPers could waive the 60 vote threshold if they wanted to. “With consent it could be changed if they agreed, but as of right now I don’t see any willingness to do so on their part,” he said.

Bottom line: The threat of a filibuster over an abortion controversy is still throwing a hurdle in the way of this nomination, despite the flu epidemic.

You stay classy Republican Party and keep protecting those Americans instead of playing politics!

And they wonder why they keep losing.

Timmy's Sensei

I don't like Tim Geithner. But Tim Geithner learned everything at the feet of the master, Larry Summers. It is important to know this, as while Timmy is the front man, Larry Summers is the power behind the throne printing press.

If you're still wondering where Timmy got his marching orders from, there you are.

Majority Votes Are Bad

Only in America would having legislation pass with a simple majority vote be considered undemocratic fascism.

Only in the Wall Street Journal would a Senator be allowed to dispense such clearly partisan hogwash.

I Give It 24 Hours

24 hours before the Wingnut calls for impeachment of Keith Ellison and Donna Edwards begin.
Eight activists protesting the expulsion of aid groups in Darfur have been arrested in front of the Sudanese Embassy in Washington.

Humanitarian leaders and U.S. lawmakers, including Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison and Maryland Rep. Donna Edwards, were led away from the embassy in handcuffs Monday after crossing a police line.

The activists are urging world leaders to take a stand against Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir's decision to expel 16 aid agencies from Darfur.

The Winger hatred for Keith Ellison, the only Muslim in Congress, is especially acute. They may not bite on this one, but then again, the GOP is insane.

South Of The Border

Drug cartel violence, Swine Flu, now earthquakes.

If the Gulf of Mexico turns into blood or cherry Jell-O or red tide algae or something, I'm leaving.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

This stupidity right here? (and here and here?)
Action Alert from the Sarah Palin List:
“Rahm Emanuel & Co. seizing an opportunity with the supposed swine flu crisis?”
Called it yesterday.

Of course Secret Muslim President would use Swine Flu on America to seize power!

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Possibly the Village wouldn't have so much influence and ability to distort Obama's message of accomplishment if the administration wasn't so eager to play the Village's made up first 100 days game.

Just sayin'.

Not Now, Jimmy

Jimmy Carter asks where Obama's efforts to restore the assault weapon ban are. I'm thinking that from a political standpoint, that's one fight the President really doesn't want to pick right now. The Wingers are crazy enough already.

Anything Obama does to regulate guns will pretty much assure that's all the GOP fixates on. Once again, let's worry about enforcing weapons laws we already have on the books.

The Geithner Club

Once again, your crack aces at the NY Times have just figured out Timmy miiiight be a little too close to the banks he's supposedly watching over.

Even as banks complain that the government has attached too many intrusive strings to its financial assistance, a range of critics — lawmakers, economists and even former Federal Reserve colleagues — say that the bailout Mr. Geithner has played such a central role in fashioning is overly generous to the financial industry at taxpayer expense.

An examination of Mr. Geithner’s five years as president of the New York Fed, an era of unbridled and ultimately disastrous risk-taking by the financial industry, shows that he forged unusually close relationships with executives of Wall Street’s giant financial institutions.

His actions, as a regulator and later a bailout king, often aligned with the industry’s interests and desires, according to interviews with financiers, regulators and analysts and a review of Federal Reserve records.

In a pair of recent interviews and an exchange of e-mail messages, Mr. Geithner defended his record, saying that from very early on, he was “a consistently dark voice about the potential risks ahead, and a principal source of initiatives designed to make the system stronger” before the markets started to collapse.

Mr. Geithner said his actions in the bailout were motivated solely by a desire to help businesses and consumers. But in a financial crisis, he added, “the government has to take risk, and we are going to be doing things which ultimately — in order to get the credit flowing again — are going to benefit the institutions that are at the core of the problem.”

The New York Fed is, by custom and design, clubby and opaque. It is charged with curbing banks’ risky impulses, yet its president is selected by and reports to a board dominated by the chief executives of some of those same banks. Traditionally, the New York Fed president’s intelligence-gathering role has involved routine consultation with financiers, though Mr. Geithner’s recent predecessors generally did not meet with them unless senior aides were also present, according to the bank’s former general counsel.

By those standards, Mr. Geithner’s reliance on bankers, hedge fund managers and others to assess the market’s health — and provide guidance once it faltered — stood out.
Of course I've been saying this for months now that Geithner was the wrong man for the job for a number of reasons.

But at least people are beginning to figure out that the fox is in charge of the foxes already in charge of the henhouse now.

Look At That Ex-Car Go

As expected, GM is announcing the death of Pontiac and 23,000 jobs with it, plus hundreds of dealers.
General Motors announced plans to cut 23,000 U.S. jobs by 2011, drop its storied Pontiac brand and slash 40% of its dealer network in its latest bid to stay out of bankruptcy.

GM also announced an offer to its bondholders to swap $27 billion of the company's unsecured debt for stock. GM is offering bondholders 225 shares of its stock for every $1,000 it owes the bondholders in principal. The move will greatly dilute the value of GM shares held by current stockholders.

Still, shares of GM (GM, Fortune 500), a component of the Dow Jones industrial average, gained nearly 10% in pre-market trading following the announcement due to hopes that the company will now be able to avoid bankruptcy.
Still, 40% of GM dealers will be some serious job losses. We'll see how this shakes out. It's a big step towards solvency.

If only Obama was as tough on the banks.

[UPDATE] Almost overlooked this part.
GM said that it will ask the government to take more than 50 percent of its common stock in exchange for canceling half the government loans to the company as of June 1. The swap would cancel about $10 billion in government debt.

In addition, GM is offering stock to the United Auto Workers for at least 50 percent of the $20 billion the company must pay into a union run trust that will take over retiree health care expenses starting next year.

If both are successful, the government and UAW health care trust would own 89 percent of GM stock, with the government holding more than a 50 percent stake, CEO Fritz Henderson said in a news conference at GM's Detroit headquarters.

Oh sure, we'll Plan N the freakin car companies, but not the banks.

Bulls, Bears, Swines, Elephants, Donkeys And Shrubs, Oh My!

Wall Street futures have contracted Swine Flu this morning, and are off nearly 2 percent. On top of everything else, a major global flu pandemic would certainly wreck any chance of recovery in 2009 and could in fact make things significantly worse.
The World Health Organization said the outbreak was a "public health emergency of international concern" that could become a pandemic, or global outbreak of serious disease.

The World Bank estimated in 2008 that a flu pandemic could cost $3 trillion and result in a nearly 5 percent drop in world gross domestic product, damaging prospects of recovery in a world economy deep in financial crisis.

The SARS outbreak, which disrupted travel, trade and the workplace in 2003, cost the Asia Pacific region an estimated $40 billion.

It lasted six months and killed 775 of the 8,000 people it infected in 25 countries.

"A nasty chill will run through the market with swine flu as people think back to the SARS virus," said Justin Urquhart Stewart, investment director at Seven Investment Management.

"The threat of the pandemic will add further weakness to global trade — we saw with SARS tangible percentage points knocked off the index and that was in a buoyant time. Put that in a weaker time and it is likely to be more unpleasant."

Airline stocks were hit by fears the outbreak would hurt travel but drugmakers were higher on vaccine hopes against the virus.

Shares in Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding rose. The company said it was working on increasing production of Tamiflu, a drug shown to work against the new flu strain.

But a company spokeswoman said the production lead time for the drug from synthesis of the product to packaging was eight months.

"We've always made it clear that this cannot happen overnight which is why it is so important that countries are prepared before the pandemic breaks out," she said.

I honestly can't think of a worse time for a major global pandemic to hit the world, especially the US. Right now the country is reeling, but if a big flu scare keeps Americans at home and away from work, school, and other public places, it could be a disaster for tourism and retail that will only accelerate the problem. It could be good for internet retailers like Amazon, but it will be bad, bad news for the already crippled commercial real estate sector and the shops, offices, and hotels that sector represents.

But there's a political angle here on that preparedness front. Remember, President Bush repeatedly slashed the budget of the CDC despite the warnings that a major epidemic or pandemic was long overdue. And when House Democrats led by David Obey tried to get hundreds of millions in funding for pandemic preparation put in the stimulus bill, it was the Senate Republicans, led by Susan Collins, who stripped the funding out, calling it (ironically) wasteful pork. Doesn't seem like preparing for Swine Flu is "pork" anymore, does it?

It was only the Omnibus Spending Bill passed a few months ago and Obama's new budget that restored some of the cuts Bush made, and even then Republicans continue to complain about science funding increases.

So yes, should Swine Flu knock America's economy for a loop and should you judge the administration's response to the possible pandemic as slow, you can thank Dubya's science funding slashing and Republican obstructionism for that. We still have no HHS Secretary, Surgeon General, or permanent CDC director to coordinate our response and inform the public thanks to the GOP. Our response could have been better with more resources, and should the outbreak reach the pandemic stage when it could have been contained better and earlier, consider it another lesson learned for the anti-science crowd.

Now there will most likely be an economic damage component to the Swine Flu story too. The only question is how much this bug will sicken the global economy and how long it will take to pass. It might end up costing the US billions in lost productivity, sales, and additional health care costs that could have been prevented with additional preparedness funding.

Thanks again, GOP! Glad to see you're looking out for America.

[UPDATE] It's been pointed out to me that Democrats in the Senate agreed with Collins and stripped these measures out of the stimulus bill as well, starting with Chuck Schumer.

So apparently once again we have a bi-partisan stupidity problem.


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