Sunday, February 14, 2010

Last Call

Guess who's behind the Greek Fire?
Wall Street tactics akin to the ones that fostered subprime mortgages in America have worsened the financial crisis shaking Greece and undermining the euro by enabling European governments to hide their mounting debts.

As worries over Greece rattle world markets, records and interviews show that with Wall Street’s help, the nation engaged in a decade-long effort to skirt European debt limits. One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from the budget overseers in Brussels.

Even as the crisis was nearing the flashpoint, banks were searching for ways to help Greece forestall the day of reckoning. In early November — three months before Athens became the epicenter of global financial anxiety — a team from Goldman Sachs arrived in the ancient city with a very modern proposition for a government struggling to pay its bills, according to two people who were briefed on the meeting.

The bankers, led by Goldman’s president, Gary D. Cohn, held out a financing instrument that would have pushed debt from Greece’s health care system far into the future, much as when strapped homeowners take out second mortgages to pay off their credit cards.

It had worked before. In 2001, just after Greece was admitted to Europe’s monetary union, Goldman helped the government quietly borrow billions, people familiar with the transaction said. That deal, hidden from public view because it was treated as a currency trade rather than a loan, helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.

Athens did not pursue the latest Goldman proposal, but with Greece groaning under the weight of its debts and with its richer neighbors vowing to come to its aid, the deals over the last decade are raising questions about Wall Street’s role in the world’s latest financial drama.
Where there's smoke, there's Greek Fire.  Where there's financial three-card monte to be played, there's Goldman Sachs at the heart of it all.  They gambled.  Greece lost.  Anyone really surprised at this little secret deal that provided fuel to the flames now raging across Europe?

Not me.  Goldman Sachs is as crooked as they come.  And your tax money continues to pay for their fun.

Colorado Springs (A Leak)

The GOP's future of America is here today in Colorado Springs.
As a cost-saving measure, Colorado Springs is turning off streetlights. Flipping the switch on about 1/3 of the city's 24,512 streetlights is expected to save $1.245 million in electricity. But that's just a down payment on a $28 million budget gap for 2010.

Perhaps the most noticeable change for Colorado Springs' 400,000 residents will be in parks, where budgets have been slashed by nearly 75 percent.

"We've taken all the trash cans out. We're not going to be doing any litter collections in the parks," says Larry Small, vice mayor for Colorado Springs. "We're hoping the citizens will pack it out themselves."
All the restrooms have been closed. There'll be very little watering, and crews will mow just once a month instead of weekly.

The city even trimmed its police and fire budgets and is auctioning three of its police helicopters on the Internet. Still, that's not enough.

"We did have a transit system," Small says. "That's gone almost completely now."
Who's to blame for this budget mess?  Slashed parks services, deep cuts to police and firefighters, the city's bus service has been literally sold off.  The city's turning out the lights to save money, literally. 

The answer shouldn't surprise you if you've been paying attention to the Teabaggers.

(More after the jump...)

Bold New GOP Winter Olympic Events

Like the 50-Meter Throw Moose Lady Under The Bus Toss:
Yesterday, “Joe” the “Plumber” endorsed the Teabagger candidate for governor in Pennsylvania, and made a startling announcement.
Wurzelbacher touched on several different points during his speech, and many of them were surprising. He said he doesn’t support Sarah Palin anymore. Why? Because she’s backing John McCain’s re-election effort. “John McCain is no public servant,” he told the room, calling the 2008 Republican nominee a career politician.
But what about all that campaigning you did for him, Joe?
And the McCainapult Freestyle Event
McCain's ratings from the American Conservative Union have gone progressively down over the years, dipping to an alltime low of just 63 last year. Even liberal-leaning Republican Senators Chuck Hagel, Lamar Alexander and Pete Domenici scored higher ratings than McCain last year. McCain's own pal Lindsey Graham, who has been censored multiple times by Republican Parties in South Carolina due to his liberal voting record, scored significantly higher than McCain with an 82.
But my favorite still has to be Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Don't Get Cheneyed.
CHENEY:  Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of "don't ask/don't tell," when I was secretary of defense.  I think things have changed significantly since then.  I see that Don Mullen -- or Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has indicated his belief that we ought to support a change in the policy. So I think -- my guess is the policy will be changed.
Teabaggers have a lot of work to do clearing out all the apostates like Moose Lady, Johnny Volcano and the Nameless One.  When all you have is an Elephant Gun, everyone looks like a RINO.

The Hoffman Effect continues to rip the GOP apart.

Being A Dick On Teevee

Bobblespeak Translations are up for this week.
Karl: Biden says getting out of Iraq will be Obama’s great success

Cheney: I can’t believe they are trying to take
credit for our lying fake useless destructive war -
that is totally mine

Karl: oh really

Cheney: Biden should get down on his knees
and thank George Bush for attacking the wrong country after 9/11

Karl: so you admit it was a mistake?

Cheney: no Saddam fought the Iran-Iraq war and used chemical weapons in the 1980s

Karl: that was all with American support

Cheney: we got rid of one of the worst dictators
of the 20th century

Karl: we’ll talk about George Bush later

Cheney: Obama thinks Iraq is a triumph!

Karl: I think he means getting out of Iraq

Cheney: hey were going to leave just as soon as
we figured out it was all a huge mistake

Karl: how you would have handled the underoos bomber

Cheney: I would have crushed his testicles

Karl: anything else?

Cheney: it’s clear they were totally confused they didn’t know whether to crush his balls or pull
out his fingernails

Karl: decisions, decisions

Cheney: to be fair it’s hard - what with the Constitution and the laws and all that crazy nonsense
Muah.  It keeps getting better.

Your ODI Update

Rasmussen has Obama at -15,'s average is +1.9%, our ODI is now back down to where it's been for quite some time, in the upper teens. 16.9%.

Meanwhile, Gallup shows Obama at 53%-40%, his best numbers since Turkey Day and six points up from his late January nadir.

Sunday Funnies: Dick, Joe, Rachel and Bobo

Dick Cheney went on ABC's This Week and basically said everybody but him is wrong:  Joe Biden is wrong on Iraq, Sarah Palin is wrong on Iran, the GOP 2012 pack is wrong on everything and everybody's wrong on DADT.
Cheney said he disagrees with Obama administration's decision not to use so-called enhanced interrogation techniques and said he argued for them within the administration during the Bush years.

"I was a big supporter of waterboarding," Cheney said. "I was a big supporter of the enhanced interrogation techniques.

"I think you ought to have all of those capabilities on the table," Cheney said.

Cheney, who said he has not seen former president George W. Bush since they left office over one year ago, may be the previous administration's most outspoken member.

Cheney said he was "deeply offended" by attempts to investigate and prosecute Bush administration and CIA officials who helped construct and justify their counterterrorism policy.

"I thought it was important for some senior person in the administration to stand up and defend those people who'd done what we asked them to do," he said.

When asked about former Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaksa's presidential qualifications, Cheney said, "I haven't made a decision yet on who I'm going to support."

"I think all of the prospective candidates out there have got a lot of work to do if in fact they are going to persuade a majority of Americans that they are ready to take on the world's toughest job," Cheney said. 
So in the end, only Dick Cheney is qualified to run the country.  The rest of you are pikers.
(More Sunday Funnies after the jump...)

What Are They Angry About?

The Teabaggers are pissed off.  We know that much.  But whyAs Steve Benen notes, they went insane a month after President Obama signed the largest tax cut in history for 95% of America. and complained Americans were taxed too much.
National Review published a couple of items recently about President Obama having cut taxes for 95% of working families. This is, in reality, what happened, but the conservative magazine was incredulous. "If the taxes of 95 percent of Americans actully [sic] had been cut, surely somebody other than Obama would have noticed," one NR writer put it.

It was a curious argument. It doesn't matter what President Obama did -- in this case, approval of a tax cut -- it matters what people perceive, even if the perceptions are patently false.

And perhaps no group of people is fueled more intensely by misperceptions of reality than the Tea Party crowd.
Of people who support the grassroots, "Tea Party" movement, only 2 percent think taxes have been decreased, 46 percent say taxes are the same, and a whopping 44 percent say they believe taxes have gone up.
Now, we know that this 44% is wrong. We also know that in nearly every instance, the 46% are wrong, too. Indeed, my challenge to them would be to go look at their most recent paystub, and then dig up their paystub from, say, December 2008, before Obama took office. The math isn't that hard -- did their tax rate go up, down, or stay the same? Opinions and perceptions are nice, but arithmetic can be stubborn.

But as this relates to politics, John Cole noted that these folks "don't even know what they are mad about." Indeed, it's easy to forget this, but the first Tea Party crowds started protesting in March 2009 -- exactly one month after President Obama signed one of the largest tax-cut packages in American history into law. The protestors wanted to make clear that they are "taxed enough already," choosing to pretend that they hadn't just received a tax cut from the president they hate so intensely.
So it's not the taxes they are angry about.  It's not the government spending...that was Bush who spent far more and not a word out of the Tea Party.  If it's taxes and spending the Teabaggers tell you they are against, they are lying.  Period.  It's not government growth.  After 9/11 Bush and the Republicans created the PATRIOT Act, the TSA, a host of federal agencies and new layers of bureaucracy, and of course got us into two wars that cost us thousands of soldiers and trillions of dollars.  Not a peep from the Teabaggers.  So the Tea Party is lying about the size of government too.  Wasn't the bailout.  Bush started that.  Henry Paulson insisted we needed to pay off trillions to the banks to keep America afloat.  They are lying if they are telling you Obama's bailout of the banks is the problem.

Democrats came to power in 2006 in Congress.  No Tea Party movement then.  So it's not "We're mad at the Democrats."  Another lie.  Tea Party movement didn't come until after Obama took office: Feb 19, 2009.  Wasn't health care.  McCain had a health care plan too.  Wasn't the stimulus.  Bush signed into law a stimulus plan too.  Remember your tax rebate check in 2008?

What's different?  What's left that remains?  It's not Obama's political party or leanings.  It's not government spending or taxation or the size of government.  Why the massive populist outrage now?

What's the one thing that's left?

Obama is primarily famous for being the first what, exactly?  What's different about Obama compared to the first 43 Presidents this country has had?

Answer that question and you know why the Teabaggers are really mad.  They are deluding themselves with all these fantasies to cover up the truth about why they hate Obama.

And nobody in the Village dares call them on it.

I will.  Racism is an ugly, ugly thing.

[UPDATE 11:50 AM]  Nope.  Sorry.  Wasn't the Great Recession either or the millions of jobs lost:  That too started on Bush's watch and all throughout 2008.  No Tea Party then, either. 

If McCain were President, we'd not have the stimulus, so unemployment would be higher, and you wouldn't have the tax cut, so your taxes would be higher too.  But there would be no Tea Party Movement.

Again, what's the only reason that's left, folks?

What Better Way To Say I Love You This Valentine's Day

...than with an "Impeach Obama" billboard in Wisconsin?
A controversial billboard along Highway 41 is catching people's attention. It calls for President Obama to be removed from office.

The spot, near the Oshkosh Correctional Institute, is also becoming a popular spot for motorists to pull over and snap a picture.

"The sign kind of struck me as being very forceful. I was driving up to Green Bay this morning and saw it. It just surprised me that a sign like that would be out there, that blatant," said Gary Fox, of Waukesha.

Fox said he agrees with the 'Impeach Obama' billboard. The tagline is: 'America's small businesses are failing, help us spread the message.'

"I just think what Obama is doing and the whole administration and the Democratic Congress is just bad for business when you look at the deficits and everything they're doing," said Fox.

Jones Sign Company said the billboard went up on Thursday.

So, who paid for it?

FOX 11 went looking and it turns out it wasn't a group of small business owners. It was Tom Wroblewski, an attorney in Menasha.

When we stopped at his office, he told us he isn't ready to talk about it. Democrats, on the other hand, are ready to talk.

"I don't know what's impeachable about having a bad opinion about the President. I know a lot of people that would have impeached the last one," said Jef Hall, the chairman of the Winnebago County Democratic Party.
Apparently not cutting business taxes even more is an impeachable offense if you're the Kenyan Usurper in the White House.  Does Wroblewski know that it's the GOP holding up the jobs bill that would give tax credits to small businesses for hiring?  Republicans like his own Republican Congressman, Tom Petri of WI-6?  Every single Republican voted against the stimulus.  Every single Republican voted against the House jobs bill.

You're impeaching the wrong guy, Tom.
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