Archive for the ‘Bush’ Category

The Democratic Congress’s Cover-Up; Our Biggest Danger

March 28, 2009

With a bit of bookkeeping legerdemain borrowed from the Bush administration, the Democratic Congress is about to perform a cover-up on the most serious threat to America’s economic future.

David S. Broder
The Washington Post

That threat is not the severe recession, tough as that is for the families and businesses struggling to make ends meet. In time, the recession will end, and last week’s stock market performance hinted that we may not have to wait years for the recovery to begin.

The real threat is the monstrous debt resulting from the slump in revenue and the staggering sums being committed by Washington to rescuing embattled banks and homeowners — and the absence of any serious strategy for paying it all back.

The Congressional Budget Office sketched the dimensions of the problem on March 20, and Congress reacted with shock. The CBO said that over the next 10 years, current policies would add a staggering $9.3 trillion to the national debt — one-third more than President Obama had estimated by using much more optimistic assumptions about future economic growth.

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Obama, Geithner Toxic Asset Plan is Old Hash That Won’t Work

March 23, 2009

Over the weekend The Times and other newspapers reported leaked details about the Obama administration’s bank rescue plan, which is to be officially released this week. If the reports are correct, Tim Geithner, the Treasury secretary, has persuaded President Obama to recycle Bush administration policy — specifically, the “cash for trash” plan proposed, then abandoned, six months ago by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

By Paul Krugman
The New York Times
This is more than disappointing. In fact, it fills me with a sense of despair.

After all, we’ve just been through the firestorm over the A.I.G. bonuses, during which administration officials claimed that they knew nothing, couldn’t do anything, and anyway it was someone else’s fault. Meanwhile, the administration has failed to quell the public’s doubts about what banks are doing with taxpayer money.

And now Mr. Obama has apparently settled on a financial plan that, in essence, assumes that banks are fundamentally sound and that bankers know what they’re doing.

It’s as if the president were determined to confirm the growing perception that he and his economic team are out of touch, that their economic vision is clouded by excessively close ties to Wall Street. And by the time Mr. Obama realizes that he needs to change course, his political capital may be gone.

Let’s talk for a moment about the economics of the situation.

Right now, our economy is being dragged down by our dysfunctional financial system, which has been crippled by huge losses on mortgage-backed securities and other assets.

As economic historians can tell you, this is an old story, not that different from dozens of similar crises over the centuries. And there’s a time-honored procedure for dealing with the aftermath of widespread financial failure. It goes like this: the government secures confidence in the system by guaranteeing many (though not necessarily all) bank debts. At the same time, it takes temporary control of truly insolvent banks, in order to clean up their books.

That’s what Sweden did in the early 1990s. It’s also what we ourselves did after the savings and loan debacle of the Reagan years. And there’s no reason we can’t do the same thing now.

But the Obama administration, like the Bush administration, apparently wants an easier way out. The common element to the Paulson and Geithner plans is the insistence that the bad assets on banks’ books are really worth much, much more than anyone is currently willing to pay for them. In fact, their true value is so high that if they were properly priced, banks wouldn’t be in trouble.

And so the plan is to use taxpayer funds to drive the prices of bad assets up to “fair” levels. Mr. Paulson proposed having the government buy the assets directly. Mr. Geithner instead proposes a complicated scheme in which the government lends money to private investors, who then use the money to buy the stuff. The idea, says Mr. Obama’s top economic adviser, is to use “the expertise of the market” to set the value of toxic assets.

But the Geithner scheme would offer a one-way bet: if asset values go up, the investors profit, but if they go down, the investors can walk away from their debt. So this isn’t really about letting markets work. It’s just an indirect, disguised way to subsidize purchases of bad assets.

The likely cost to taxpayers aside, there’s something strange going on here. By my count, this is the third time Obama administration officials have floated a scheme that is essentially a rehash of the Paulson plan, each time adding a new set of bells and whistles and claiming that they’re doing something completely different. This is starting to look obsessive.

But the real problem with this plan is that it won’t work.

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Obama using recession to justify largest expansion of federal authority ever; U.S. less safe

March 15, 2009

Good for Politico and CNN for going after and getting this interview and story…..

John Harris of Politico said today on Fox News, “Even people of his own party are wondering how we can advance the Obama agenda.”


Vice President Cheney charged Sunday morning on CNN that President Obama is using the recession “to try to justify” what is probably the largest expansion of federal authority “in the history of the Republic.”

By Mike Allen

“I worry a lot that that they’re using the current set of economic difficulties to try to justify a massive expansion in the government, and much more authority for the government over the private sector,” Cheney said in his first television interview since leaving office. “I don’t think that’s good. I don’t think that’s going to solve the problem.”

Speaking to host John King on “State of the Union,” Cheney said he think the programs Obama has proposed “in health care, in energy and so forth constitute probably the biggest – or one of the biggest – expansions of federal authority over the private economy in the history of the Republic.”

“I worry very much that what is being done here is saying, ‘We’ve got an economic crisis, there’s we’re fundamentally the health program in America,’” Cheney said. “I don’t think that’s right.”

Cheney has been largely out of sight for the past two months, as he and his wife, Lynne, set up their new home in Northern Virginia. But as he was in a recent interview with POLITICO, Cheney is still free with his opinions and much more aggressive in defending the administration’s legacy than President Bush has been so far.

Cheney pushed back against effort by Democrats to blame President Bush for the current economic valley, saying the Bush administration is not responsible “for the creation of those circumstances.”

“I think there’s no question but what the economic circumstances that he inherited are difficult ones,” Cheney said. We said that before we left. I don’t think you can blame the Bush administration for the creation of those circumstances. It’s a global financial problem.

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"We've accomplished nearly everything we set out to do," ex-Vice President Dick Cheney says Sunday about Iraq.

“We’ve accomplished nearly everything we set out to do,” ex-Vice President Dick Cheney says Sunday about Iraq.

Cheney also worried about “terrorism” and “terrorists,” words Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano can’t even say….


Obama wants to ‘discuss’ with Taliban? Taliban threatens to kill aid workers

 Rosy Talk From Obama and Gang is BS

 Obama, Biden Chat Up Economy; Congress Talking “Stimulus II”

Obama: Fire Geithner

 Obama: Stop Thinking About What Might Be Gained; Think What May Certainly Be Lost

Sun Setting On American Superpower?

March 15, 2009

In February, 1979, when religious extremists overthrew and ousted the Shah of Iran, an immediate search began for “who lost Iran.”

For many Americans living in wealth at home, this may be of little concern.  But some would say, once the Shah was out of Iran we started on the road to today: an Iran on the brink of having a nuclear bomb and Isreal fearing for its very existance — a situation that has involved the U.S. for three or four decades and could ruin our whole day for years to come; unless a nuclear war comes first.

North Korea also has nuclear weapons and long range missiles and is making noise about starting trouble yet again.

Barack Obama needs to look himself in the mirror now and say, “Things are happening on my watch” and get rid of the notion that “We inherited a mess.”

Obama using recession to justify largest expansion of federal authority ever; U.S. less safe

Last week China’s Premier Wen Jiabao wondered aloud and very publically if the U.S. could be trusted to get its economic house in order.  He didn’t say this while George W. Bush was president: he said it two days ago.U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon even called the U.S. a “deadbeat” this last week.

Wen Jiabao wondered about the credibility of the U.S. after Obama failed to respond convincingly to an incident at sea between Chinese ships and an unarmed American naval vessel — and after Obama borrowed over $740 billion for the stimulus and another $410 billion for the omnibus, thus doubling the U..S. debt.

Wen Jiabao and Ban Ki-moon didn’t say, “I don’t have confidence in Bush; I do have confidence in Obama because he inherited this mess.”

When Russia maneuvered to eliminate the U.S. air base at Manas, Kyrgyzstan  recently, did anyone hear from Mr. Medvedev and Putin in Russia, “We did this because of Bush.  We are just peachy with Obama”?

When North Korea thumbed its nose at the United States last week, and threatened war, the White House indicated that it probably would not shoot down the long-range missile North Korea threatens to launch.

Japan had to step in and say, “We’ll take a shot because that North Korean missile is a threat.”

When Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez offered “a whole island with an airdrome, which we can use as a temporary base for strategic bombers,” to Russia yesterday, he didn’t say, “because of Bush.”

And when the Russians failed to say, “That’s a crazy idea,” it wasn’t because of Bush but it was because of Obama.

So we all need to think now that Barack Obama promises a lot of things that might, maybe, possibly could lead to a better America: health care, improved schools, a new energy system, the curing of cancer, the elimination of global warming, and etc. — all great stuff.

But will there be people asking: “Who lost Japan?  Who lost Korea?  Who lost Afghanistan, Pakistan and other nations?”

And will the certain losses matter, juxtaposed to the maybe gains?

And if American debt is so great that China stops buying U.S. Treasuries, or China “calls the shots” with America, will that matter?

And if our border with Mexico becomes overrun with Mexican drug cartels, I mean, just suppose, while we are looking the other way and fixing health care and spending our limited treasury on everything else, will that matter?  I am just dreaming here, I know.

That could never happen.  But just suppose…..

John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia

PS:  I am starting to hate this “inherited” BS.  Obama ran to get into the White House, along with all the goodies and problems that came with that.

Nobody “inherits” the White House unless death is involved….

Obama, Israel Split On Iran?

Obama Maybe Doesn’t Know: Nice guys get finished first

Obama Has Failed To Spell Out His Vision

Analysts: Russia outmaneuvered U.S. over air base

 Obama Could Lose Afghanistan, Pakistan

 Obama bans term “enemy combatant,” joins “terrorist” in unusable list

Obama Policy On Gitmo, Taliban, Afghanistan, Intel: As Stupid as It Gets

 Obama Backs Off, Japan Ready To Shoot Down North Korean Missile

Obama: Troop move to Mexican border under consideration

Obama Could Lose Afghanistan, Pakistan

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

 Barack, Hillary: Moronic “Reset” Idea for Relations With Russia

China’s Love/Hate Relationship With The U.S

Obama Wasting America’s Strategic World Power; China Surges Despite Economy
Era of Obama, American Weakness Emboldens Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Terrorists

 Global Economy Weakness Leading To Social Unrest

Stimulus: China Will Fund U.S. Debt But “We Hate You Guys”

Behind the U.S. and China At Sea Incident

Pelosi’s Stimulus II? Lawmakers Propose No Cost, High Employment Energy Package

China Buying Oil, Uranium, Gold, Other Products At Bargain Prices

Russia, “Desperate For Cash,” Sells Oil to China In “Very Bad Deal”

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

American adversaries are thumbing their noses, while this man wanted to run the census and now will supervize the writing of a measure to federalize schools. Incoming White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel gestures prior to the inauguration ceremony of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States, in Washington, January 20, 2009.(Jim Young – UNITED STATES/Reuters)

Analysts: Russia outmaneuvered U.S. over air base

March 14, 2009

When Kyrgyzstan announced in February that it was expelling a U.S. air base after Russia promised it $2 billion-plus in aid and loans, American officials said the decision wasn’t final and a U.S. presence was still under discussion.

After the Kyrgyz parliament ratified the accord with near unanimity and the country’s Foreign Ministry issued a notice to vacate in 180 days, however, Russia’s apparent advance at U.S. expense is almost certain.


The aid package that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s government crafted was grounded in a hard-knuckled, realpolitik approach to this impoverished, landlocked Central Asian country.

It appears to be an offer the Kyrgyz government couldn’t refuse. All the elements, starting with what had seemed to be its most modest component — a $150 million strings-free grant to Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev — filled needs that the U.S. either didn’t see or wouldn’t match.

While the Bush administration championed democratic reform in Central Asia, a policy that deeply alienates strongman rulers in the corruption-plagued region, Putin has focused on putting cash on the table and making deals.

The Manas Air Base — which is at the main airport outside the Kyrgyz capital and is used mainly to ferry troops in and out of Afghanistan — became a sore spot for the Kremlin in the years after the U.S. set it up in late 2001, Russian and Kyrgyz officials acknowledge.

Putin had smoothed the way for U.S. military installations to be built across Central Asia in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but he felt that the Bush White House barely acknowledged the gesture.

“What Bush offered Putin was a hat and a barbecue in Crawford, and that was it,” said Alexei Pushkov, a prominent Russian TV commentator with extensive contacts in Moscow political circles.

Anger turned to suspicion as the White House backed a series of pro-democracy revolutions in what Russia calls its “near abroad”: Georgia in 2003, Ukraine the following year and Kyrgyzstan in 2005. Plans for a U.S. missile-defense shield on Russia’s borders followed those political upheavals.

While the U.S. government said those developments had nothing to do with Moscow, there was deep suspicion in the Kremlin that the Americans had begun a strategy of encircling Russia. Putin and his government began to push back against U.S. interests in Central Asia, wanting to be sure that they and not Washington were the ones calling the shots.

“Russia enjoys the role of a gatekeeper. It’s trying to defend this. It’s eager to spend huge money in order to keep its geopolitical and geostrategic role,” said Nikolai Petrov, scholar in residence at the Carnegie Moscow Center and a critic of Putin.

The Kyrgyz, meanwhile, came to see advantage in the U.S.-Russia competition.

“It’s a political game,” said Erik Arsaliyev, the chairman of the Kyrgyz parliament’s foreign-affairs committee. “No one is saying it, but everyone knows that’s what’s happening. We have become a puppet in the hands of these two countries.”

The small nation of just 5.3 million people, wedged between China and Kazakhstan, has long been a crossroads for great powers. Bishkek today is home to both faded Soviet monuments and the American University of Central Asia.

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Obama’s Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth

March 13, 2009

It is simply wrong for commentators to continue to focus on President Barack Obama’s high levels of popularity, and to conclude that these are indicative of high levels of public confidence in the work of his administration. Indeed, a detailed look at recent survey data shows that the opposite is most likely true. The American people are coming to express increasingly significant doubts about his initiatives, and most likely support a different agenda and different policies from those that the Obama administration has advanced.

Polling data show that Mr. Obama’s approval rating is dropping and is below where George W. Bush was in an analogous period in 2001. Rasmussen Reports data shows that Mr. Obama’s net presidential approval rating — which is calculated by subtracting the number who strongly disapprove from the number who strongly approve — is just six, his lowest rating to date.

Read the rest from The Wall Street Journal

[Obama's Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth] M.E. Cohen, WSJ

Russia, U.S. Missile Defense Dispute

March 8, 2009
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday that the United States and Russia have the opportunity to cooperate on missile defense.

“We believe that Russia and the United States have the opportunity to do joint research and joint development. And even eventually assumingly we can reach such an agreement (on) joint deployment,” Clinton said in Brussels.

From The People’s Daily, China

Clinton’s remarks were the latest in years of argument between Russia and the United States on the latter’s ambition to deploy a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe.

Former U.S. President George W. Bush and his administration planned to deploy 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a radar system in the Czech Republic which it claimed to protect its European allies from missile threat by “rouge state.”

In 2002, the United States started negotiations with Poland on the missile shield issue, without making any significant progress due to their difference.

In January 2007, Washington resumed negotiations with Warsaw and Prague and finalized agreements with the two countries before Bush’s departure from the White House.

The U.S. plan has met strong opposition from Moscow, which insists that the missile shield, if deployed, will undermine Russia’s national security.

In November 2008, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced plans to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad, to counter the U.S. defense shield plan.

On March 3, 2009, Medvedev said that “We have to work together and create a common shield against all threats. The U.S. and Europe would negotiate on that, but it would have to be global and not fragmented around the Russian frontier.”

Barack Obama’s administration has already decided to review the effectiveness of the missile shield and its cost.


Russian Relations With U.S., Europe Improve: But Putin, Medvedev Understand Strength, Power More than Diplomacy

 Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”
Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia HaggleRussia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

Mr. Obama and Russia
NYT Editorial: Russia only understands strength….

 Chutzpah: Admire Russia’s Arrogance

Russia, Obama and the Strategic Chess Tournament

Putin Medvedev
Above: Russia’s “power couple.” Vladimir Putin speaks with his presidential successor, Dmitry Medvedev.

George W. Obama?

March 7, 2009

Washington has spent the past couple of weeks debating whether Barack Obama’s ambitious agenda and political strategy are more comparable to those of Franklin Roosevelt or Ronald Reagan. Oddly, hardly anyone is talking about the ways in which Obama is beginning to resemble the man who just vacated the White House.

By Jackson Deihl
The Washington Post
Most Americans are eager to forget about George W. Bush. But just over seven years ago, Bush found himself in much the same position as the new president today — leading the country through what was universally considered a national emergency. In the weeks after Sept. 11, 2001, Bush’s approval rating soared above 80 percent at home. London, Berlin and even Moscow rallied behind him. A front-page analysis in The Post in late November said that “President Bush [has] a dominance over American government . . . rivaling even Franklin D. Roosevelt’s command.”

U.S. President Barack Obama attends the Columbus Police graduation ... 
Then, according to today’s established wisdom, Bush squandered his chance to lead. Three cardinal errors are commonly cited: The president failed to ask a willing nation for sacrifice, instead inviting consumers to shop and heaping on more tax cuts. Rather than forge a bipartisan response to the crisis, he used it to ram through big, polarizing pieces of the Republican Party’s ideological agenda — from asserting presidential powers to breach treaties to eliminating protections for federal workers. Worst, he chose to launch a war of choice in Iraq, thereby shredding what remained of post-Sept. 11 national unity and diverting attention and resources from the fight against al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

That brings us to the first weeks of the Obama administration, set against the background of a scary and steadily deepening global economic crisis. Last month, in his first address to Congress, Obama warned the country that fixing the huge problems in the financial markets and housing and auto industries would require a historic effort. “None of this will come without cost, nor will it be easy,” he said. “But this is America. We don’t do what’s easy. We do what is necessary to move this country forward.”

Minutes later, Obama spelled out what he proposes this to mean for 98 percent of Americans: “You will not see your taxes increased a single dime. I repeat: not one single dime. In fact, the recovery plan provides a tax cut . . . and these checks are on the way.”

So much for summoning the country to sacrifice. Obama has been no more willing to ask average Americans to pitch in, even once the recession is over, than Bush.

What about bipartisanship? Like Bush, Obama offered a few early gestures. And like Bush, he has been unapologetic about using emergency measures like the stimulus bill to press polarizing Democratic priorities, such as the expansion of Medicaid benefits to the unemployed and union-friendly contracting provisions.

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Israel Ponders War on Iran; Obama, Russia Haggle

March 5, 2009

Israel is seriously considering taking unilateral military action to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, according to a report by top US political figures and experts released Wednesday.

Jerusalem Post
The report also says Israel’s time frame for action is growing shorter, not only because of Iranian advances, but because Teheran might soon acquire upgraded air defenses and disperse its nuclear program to additional locations.

The report, “Preventing a Cascade of Instability,” was put out by the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). It also argues that international sanctions against Iran need to be intensified urgently for the engagement the Obama administration is planning with Teheran to be effective.

An early draft of the report was endorsed by Dennis Ross before he withdrew upon joining the Obama administration, in which he is serving as a special adviser dealing with various countries in the region, including Iran. Senator Evan Bayh of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, and Congressman Gary Ackerman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on the Middle East, were among the signatories.

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 Russia Testing Obama: Just as Biden Predicted
Russia building anti-satellite weapons

 Russia: Medvedev Pushing Putin Out?

Russia Verifies “American, Western Weakness”

Russia Sees Obama, U.S., Others As “Weak,” “Naive”

From the Washington Post:

Iranian leaders said Wednesday that President Obama follows the “crooked ways” of his predecessor, repeated earlier warnings that Iranian missiles could reach Israel and reiterated that the Holocaust was “a lie.”

Iran’s president and other officials have at times appeared to welcome Obama’s proposal for greater dialogue, but the remarks Wednesday suggested that Iranian positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and other issues would pose obstacles. The comments were also a reminder that Iran’s complex leadership structure brings together clerics and political leaders with views that sometimes differ sharply.

In his first public comments on the new U.S. administration, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who is Iran’s supreme leader and has the final say over foreign policy, said Obama had adopted former president George W. Bush’s support for Israel, which Khamenei called a “cancerous tumor.”

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Michael Moore Turns Against Obama, Geithner, Bank Bailout

February 13, 2009

Filmmaker Michael Moore, who says the Wall Street bailout is “the biggest swindle in American history,” is asking bankers to help him make a movie proving it.

The 55-year-old Michigan native posted an open letter on his Web site yesterday seeking volunteers to “step up as an American and do your duty of shedding some light” on the almost $1.1 trillion in losses and writedowns globally. Moore also sent the letter to people on his e-mail list.

While some bankers may be tempted to get involved with the filmmaker who pilloried former President George W. Bush’s response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attack on the U.S., they should think before they contact Moore, said Davia Temin, chief executive officer of crisis-management firm Temin & Co.

By Pat Wechsler

“When you’re in a firestorm, you don’t stand up,” she said. “You duck. I’m sure Moore will keep names confidential, but these things have a way of boomeranging when you tell a friend because you’re excited about being on a movie set.”

Moore declined to comment, according to a spokesman for Overture Films LLC, who asked to remain unidentified because he doesn’t represent the filmmaker directly. The company is owned by Starz LLC, part of cable billionaire John Malone’s holdings, and is the movie’s distributor for North America. A release date hasn’t been announced.

The filmmaker, whose documentaries skewered General Motors Corp. and the U.S. health-care industry, is in the middle of shooting the movie, according to his Web site, He made his name with the 1989 release of “Roger & Me,” documenting Moore’s unsuccessful efforts to confront former GM CEO Roger Smith about his management of what then was the world’s biggest automaker.

Moore’s Reputation

“Moore’s reputation is locked in,” said Howard Rubenstein, president of Rubenstein Associates Inc. a New York- based public-relations firms that advises hedge funds, private- equity firms and banks. “Whatever he touches gets gored. Wall Street better gird itself. The Huns are invading.”

Bankers should counter potential fallout from Moore’s venture by assembling a rescue program to buy houses going into foreclosure and give them back to their owners, Temin said.

“Popular culture has always had a love-hate relationship with Wall Street,” she said in a phone interview from her New York office. “Now that we see that much of what people were paid was based on vapor, that needle has moved to hate. Wall Street needs to figure that out and respond to it.”

While the Overture spokesman wouldn’t comment on the title of Moore’s movie, the filmmaker asked in his e-mail for responses to be sent to

Moore claimed on his Web site to have heard from a “few brave people” already.

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