Mmmm, this smells like bull poop.
This looks like bull poop.
It even sounds like bull poop.
But if Obama is saying it, it must be true.
Sunday reflection: John 10:11–18
27 minutes ago
Did the Federal Reserve’s Ben Bernanke lie about pressuring the Bank of America not to back out of the Merrill Lynch merger? BofA CEO Ken Lewis made this charge to New York AG Andrew Cuomo, and basically repeated it with a bit of sugar-coating in a House hearing today on Capitol Hill.
The central issue was whether Lewis would invoke the material-adverse-change clause (the MAC clause) to back out of the Merrill deal last December, when Merrill’s books showed far greater losses than were first recognized. Of course, the deal is now succeeding profitably, with the whole financial world having changed for the better since late last year.
But a bunch of e-mails and documents clearly show that Bernanke was hammering Lewis, as was former Treasury man Henry Paulson. So far as I know Paulson has never denied this. But Bernanke did, and therein lies the Fed head’s problem.
Last May 5, in front of the Joint Economic Committee, when asked if he pressured Lewis, Bernanke responded: “Absolutely not, that I absolutely did not in any way ask Mr. Lewis to obscure any disclosures or to fail to report any information that he should be reporting.”
However, an e-mail reveals that Richmond Fed president Jeffrey Lacker spoke at length with Bernanke about all this: “Just had a long talk with Ben . . . says they think the MAC threat is irrelevant because it’s not credible. Also intends to make it even more clear that if they play that card and they need assistance, management is gone.”
In other words, Bernanke acknowledged to Lacker that if BofA management disclosed to shareholders the terrible state of Merrill, even in considering a withdrawal from the deal, Bernanke would fire them. This directly contradicts the Fed head’s public statement before Congress’s JEC.
At that time, Lewis was strongly considering a material-adverse-change clause to stop the Merrill deal. So Bernanke put a gun to Lewis’s head, but he won’t fess up about it. A House investigative committee will probably call Bernanke to testify on this subject. If so, the whole world will be watching. As former Reagan prosecutor Joe diGenova told me last night on CNBC, the Justice Department won’t prosecute Bernanke. But his political and monetary credibility may suffer enormously.
Now the question is whether the Obama White House will issue a statement strongly supporting Bernanke, as they have in the past, or whether they will let the Fed head twist slowly in the wind. Perhaps my Larry Summers/King Dollar preference over Bernanke for Fed head next year is not so far fetched.
Barack Obama says he has lost confidence in the inspector general who investigates AmeriCorps and other national service programs and has told Congress he is removing him from the position.Buried in the article is this tidbit of information.
Obama's move follows an investigation by IG Gerald Walpin finding misuse of federal grants by a nonprofit education group led by Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is an Obama supporter and former NBA basketball star.
The U.S. attorney's office reached a settlement in the matter. Brown cited press accounts that said Johnson and the nonprofit would repay half of nearly $850,000 in grants it received.If Mr. Walpin's statements were so "meritless" why'd they have to pay the money back.
Kevin Hiestand, chairman of the board of St. HOPE Academy, said in a statement it was "about time" Walpin was removed. "Mr. Walpin's allegations were meritless and clearly motivated by matters beyond an honest assessment of our program," he said.
To stop this dangerous course of action, I have introduced the Government Ownership Exit Plan Act. This legislation would put an immediate end to government purchases of additional direct ownership interests of private companies. It would also prohibit government officials from making or influencing business decisions when it comes to the companies in which the government already has an ownership interest.
It is equally important to set an exit strategy for this unprecedented government intrusion. The Government Ownership Exit Plan sets a hard deadline for the final termination of government ownership interests in private companies and puts our economy back on the path to competitiveness and private ownership, not governmental control. The legislation would require the Treasury to sell any ownership stake in a private entity by July 1, 2010. Revenue from the sale of these assets would be used for debt reduction.
If we do not act now, government ownership of these private entities could persist for decades. If we want to once again promote free market principles and the private ownership of business, it is time to act.
"We killed ourselves on the assembly lines for years, many of us have injuries from repetitive motion," said Bohemia Agustiano, 38, a mother of four from Huntington Park. "Now we're worth nothing. We're out on the streets. This is unjust, no one should be treated this way."Look, you knew the risks of entering this country illegally and now they've caught up with you. America isn't a free ride. Get legal or get out.
Overhill says it gave the workers 30 days to correct the problem with the IRS and provide the company with verification, but none did so.
"This is not something the company planned to do, it's not something the company initiated and it's not something that benefited the company," said Alexander Auerbach, a spokesman for Overhill, which dismissed about a quarter of its 1,000-plus workforce. "Quite the contrary. We lost very good, very loyal employees."
Overhill, whose workforce is largely Latino, says it has no idea of the legal status of the fired employees. No one has formally accused them of being illegal immigrants. Still, the company argues that it risked potential criminal liability under tax and immigration laws if it continued to employ them after the IRS audit.
But even if you think Barack Obama or George W. Bush or Bill Clinton or Sarah Palin are the biggest doofuses to walk the face of the earth, you're not supposed to take it out on their kids. Because they're kids. If you really can't instinctively grasp why it's wrong for a grown man to make a child a butt of jokes, I don't know whether it can be explained to you.
Crimes against Future Generations need to become tabooBut what I really want to know is if these jokers are serious, does that mean they'll also be anti-abortion?
Montreal/Hamburg, 29. Mai 2009. How can we prevent and prosecute activities today that severely threaten the living conditions and health of those living in the future? This was the theme at the symposium of 120 international law experts in Montréal on May 28-29, where the World Future Council (WFC) presented its pioneering work on Crimes against Future generations for discussion.
“We are today using international law in a heartless fashion, for we think only of those who are alive here and now and shut our eyes to the rest of the vast family of humanity who are yet to come. This forecloses to future generations their rights to the basic fundamentals of civilized existence: acknowledging them as holders of rights in the eyes of our law” says Judge C.G. Weeramantry, former Vice-President of the International Court of Justice and WFC Councillor.
The economic outlook is certainly much better than it was just a few months ago, which brings me to The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) and its role in creating economic recovery. Given the rapid improvement in the economic outlook, and the slow rate of stimulus spending under the act thus far, most of the spending under ARRA will likely occur well after recovery is under way. A new CBO study shows that through late May only about $37 billion has been spent, which is just under 10% of authorized spending under the ARRA. In fact, the Departments of Education, Transportation and Energy all have spent 2% or less of their allocations. Recovery is on the way, without massive government spending.The above quote is from a forbes.com article by Lee Ohanian titled "The $787 Billion Mistake".
But wasn't the whole idea for fiscal stimulus that there was no way we would recover without it? And didn't Vice President Biden indicate that virtually all economists agreed with this view? Given the improving economic outlook, ARRA now represents a significant and very expensive public policy mistake. And in contrast to the vice president's view about economists' support for the program, it is well known that many of them who specialize in macroeconomic policy significantly criticized the need for substantial fiscal stimulus before ARRA was passed.
The economic arguments for ARRA were badly dated and erroneous. The stimulus bill was promoted under the old-fashioned Keynesian view that only the federal government is big enough to dig us out of the hole that we had gotten ourselves into, and digging us out of that hole required massive federal spending. But there was significant opposition to this premise by many economists who not only predicted that spending would be significantly delayed--with the bulk of spending not taking place until after recovery was well under way--but who also sharply disagreed with the premise that enormous increases in government spending were required to restore economic prosperity.
So the question is, why does Obama advocate a policy that so flies in the face of everything that economists have learned? How could Obama possibly say, as he did last month, that he wants “to see our companies remain the most competitive in the world. But the way to make sure that happens is not to reward our companies for moving jobs off our shores or transferring profits to overseas tax havens?” Further, how could Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner call a practice that top scholarship has shown increases wages and employment in the U.S. “indefensible?”
I have to admit I am at a loss. Maybe it is good politics to bash American corporations, and Obama isn’t really serious about making this change happen. But if the change is enacted, and domestic corporate taxes aren’t reduced to offset the big tax hike, the result will be a flight from the U.S. that rivals in scale the greatest avian arctic migrations.
If that occurs, the firms that stay in the U.S. will be at such a huge tax disadvantage that they will absolutely need a “rescue.”
You can't blame powerful people for wanting to play the press to peddle self-perpetuating mythology. But you can blame the press, already suffocating under a massive pile of blame, guilt, heavy debt and sinking fortunes, for being played. Some of the time, it seems we're even enthusiastically jumping into the pond without even being pushed. Is there an actual limit to the number of instances you can be the cover of Newsweek?
When Eric Holder became U.S. attorney general, he promised to administer the law in an objective, nonpolitical manner. So it's disappointing that the Justice Department had spent the last several months misinterpreting key voting rights laws for nakedly political reasons.There's more.
Exhibit A: Justice's inexplicable dismissal of a civil lawsuit for voter intimidation against the New Black Panther Party. The Black Panthers weren't content to endorse Barack Obama. They sent their members to the polls last November to "patrol election sites." Fox News aired a video of two Black Panthers in military-style uniforms in a Philadelphia precinct. One of them was carrying a nightstick.
The complaint the Justice Department filed in January (before Messrs. Obama and Holder took over) says the Panthers made "racial threats and racial insults" to voters and "menacing and intimidating, gestures, statements and movements directed at individuals who were present to aid voters." One witness, Bartle Bull, a civil-rights lawyer who worked with Charles Evers in Mississippi in the 1960s, called it the worst voter intimidation he had ever seen.
HANNITY: You know but it goes back - It does go back a little to the campaign. I mean, ‘spread the wealth, patriotic duty…’
PALIN: Kind of a ‘we told ya so’.
HANNITY: Well, is that how you feel?
PALIN: That’s how I feel! I feel like… and I think that more and more constituents are going to open their eyes now and open their ears to hear what is really going on and realize ok… Maybe we didn’t have a good way of expressing that, or articulating that message of ‘here is what America could potentially become if we grow government to such a degree that we cannot pay for it and we have to borrow money from other countries, some countries that don’t necessarily like America.
And this many months into the new administration, quite disappointed, quite frustrated with not seeing those actions to rein in spending, slow down the growth of government. Instead Sean it is the complete opposite. It’s expanding at such a large degree that if Americans aren’t paying attention, unfortunately our country could evolve into something that we do not even recognize.
PALIN: Well, that is where we are headed. That is where we have to be blunt enough and candid enough and honest enough with Americans to let them know that if we keep going down these roads… nationalizing many of our services, our projects, our businesses, yes that is where we would head. And that is why Americans have to be paying attention. And we have to have our voices heard. And ultimately it need to be our will, the American people’s will imposed on Washington, instead of the other way around.
The interview is set to air tonight on FOXNEWS, 9 PM ET.
PHNOM PENH, Cambodia – Khmer Rouge guards killed babies by battering them against trees under an official policy to ensure the children of the brutal Cambodian regime's victims could never take revenge for their parents' deaths, the group's chief jailer testified Monday.The above is the opening to an article from the Associated Press about the Khmer Rouge of Cambodia.
Kaing Guek Eav, alias Duch (pronounced Doik), said he was to blame for the brutal killing of infants as the commander of the Khmer Rouge's notorious S-21 prison in Phnom Penh during the 1970s. As many as 16,000 men, women and children are believed to have been tortured there before being sent to their deaths.
Watching Fox News Sunday, I caught a panel on which Obama economic advisor Austin Goolsbee conceded that the administration had previously predicted unemployment would top out at around 8%, that it was now up to 9.4%, and that double-digit unemployment was a distinct possibility in the near future. Goolsbee didn't resort to the administrations's blather about "saving or creating jobs," but he did repeat its fustian about how last month's loss of 345,000 jobs (resulting in a half percentage point jump in the jobless rate) is somehow good news because it beat predictions (I don't recall him saying whose) of even more dire loss numbers. It made me wonder why, if those predictions either existed or were serious, the Obama administration would have previously predicted that unemployment would top out at 8%?
Goolsbee then laughably intimated that the steep jump in the jobless rate could be attributable to hopeful signs that the economy is improving. Huh? See if you can follow this: he says flashes of hope that we are on the verge of a revival have purportedly caused previously uncounted jobless people to seek (but not find) work — that is, they waited out prosperous times, deciding to leap into the job hunt only when hundreds of thousands of heretofore gainfully employed people got pink-slipped and began competing for a declining pool of jobs. Of course, why shouldn't Goolsbee think he can get away with these fables when the Obamedia has taken to repeating them verbatim? Witness the headline on page one of yesterday's Wall Street Journal: "Slower Job Losses Lift Hopes" — I'm sure that's exactly the headline Bush would have gotten after a half-point jump in an already sky-rocketing jobless rate.
If that weren't enough to make your head spin, Goolsbee also blamed Obama's handling (i.e., nationalizing) of the auto industry on ... President Bush. Obama, you see, was saddled with this mess because Bush — over the objections of his own party — decided back in December to raid billions in public money intended for bailing out the financial sector in order to bail out the automakers.
Again, how stupid does he think we are? Bush's move came after then President-elect Obama implored him to take action to stave off the collapse of the auto-industry. This was one of the major topics of their meeting in the White House on November 11, covered here by the Wall Street Journal. Back then, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid were already urging Bush to study whether — regardless of how Democrat sponsored auto bail-out legislation fared — the president already had the authority to divert financial sector bail-out funds for Detroit. So it was that when Republicans defeated the auto bail-out bill December, Bush, at the urging of Obama and the Democrats, made one of the worst gaffes of his presidency by extending over $17B in government "loans" to GM and Chysler. For the Obama/Democrat line to now be that Bush foisted this mess on the new administration, and that Bush is to blame for Obama's geometric exacerbation of the problem, is breathtaking.
Finally, Goolsbee explained that it was unfair to accuse Pres. Obama of a flip-flop just because he is now amenable to taxing employer-provided health benefits despite arguing during the campaign that it was shameful for Sen. McCain to suggest taxing employer-provided health benefits. After all, Goolsbee elaborated, the initiative to tax the benefits is not Obama's idea; it is an idea of top Democrats (with whom the White House closely coordinates) to which Obama is listening because he's just that kinda open-minded guy. Uh-huh.
Bonnie Richardson, from tiny Rochelle, Texas (population 600), has accomplished what no other Texas high school track and field athlete has ever achieved: back-to-back team state championships – by herself.WOW!