The Rascals, 1968:
“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.”
“Politics is not about ideology – it’s little more than an over dramatic stage play . After the first year of the Obama administration the change he talked about has not occurred. The reason is simple, policy is not made in the White House or the halls of congress – it’s made in the boardrooms of a few large corporations and those boardrooms are occupied by sociopaths who don’t care about anything but their own power and wealth.”
“Rahm Emanuel ventured to the Capitol Friday evening to hash out health care strategy with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), a White House aide confirmed.
Senior Hill aides speculated to HuffPost that Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, would bring the message that the House must move first, with a pledge from Senate Democrats that they would follow.”
The meeting comes as Democrats are searching for a way to get to the health care finish line, though neither chamber wants to move first. Senate leaders want the House to pass the Senate bill first, after which the Senate would use reconciliation to fix the legislation to the liking of the Senate. House leaders contend that the votes aren’t there for the Senate bill if the upper chamber doesn’t move. The House, after two centuries of watching the Senate lag behind, doesn’t trust that it’ll act.
Dear Speaker Pelosi,
You’re being conned. The Senate wants the Senate bill without the modifications. President Obama wants the Senate bill without the modifications. He only proposed them as bait, next come the switch. And trust me, President Obama is the master of the bait and switch. Just ask those who voted for him in November of ‘08. Ask me, I fell for it. If you go first and pass the Senate bill the promised reconciliation fixes will NEVER happen. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
A victim of OBSS (Obama Bait and Switch Syndrome)
From the Washington Independent (emphasis added):
“One year after the Obama administration launched its $75 billion anti-foreclosure program the housing market remains volatile, loan modifications have been scant, foreclosures are still sky-high — and more and more lawmakers are wondering why the White House hasn’t been more aggressive in tackling the crisis.”
White House? Aggressive? Surely you jest.
“Administration efforts to stabilize the troubled housing market have prioritized lenders above struggling homeowners, a number of House Democrats charged Thursday, leading to thousands of foreclosures that might otherwise have been prevented — and threatening thousands more in the months to come.
Although the Obama White House has offered billions of dollars to banks that successfully alter loans to make them more affordable, only 116,00 of those modifications have been made permanent, the Treasury Department reported The reason for the discrepancy, some Democrats contend, is clear: The decision to modify loans, under Obama’s programs, has been left in the hands of the same mortgage servicing companies that often stand to profit more from foreclosures. That conflict of interest, critics say, all but ensures that the administration’s voluntary modification program will fail.”
But why would the administration want to see the program fail?
“Despite the fact that the free-falling housing market was at the root of the global economic collapse, Washington policymakers have dedicated more attention — not to mention dollars — to the bankers of Wall Street than the homeowners of Main Street.”
Yep, that explains it. The Golden Rule: Those who have the gold buy those who make the rules.
The legacy of Rose Mary Woods is alive and well at the Justice Department:
“Large batches of e-mail records from the Justice Department lawyers who worked on the 2002 legal opinions justifying the Bush administration’s brutal interrogation techniques are missing, and the Justice Department told lawmakers Friday that it would try to trace the disappearance.”
And in a stroke of what I’m sure is pure coincidence, what’s missing just happens to be from a crucial time period:
“The Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility…pushed to get access to a range of e-mail records and other internal documents from the Justice Department to aid in its investigation.
But it discovered that many e-mail messages to and from John Yoo, who wrote the bulk of the legal opinions for the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, were missing…Also deleted were a month’s worth of e-mail files from the summer of 2002 for Patrick Philbin, another Justice Department lawyer who worked on the interrogation opinions. Those missing e-mail messages came during a period when two of the critical interrogation memos were being prepared.”
But never fear, the Obama DoJ is on the case. Kinda, sorta, maybe:
“Gary Grindler, the acting deputy attorney general who represented the Justice Department at Friday’s hearing, said he did not think there was “anything nefarious” about the deletion of the e-mail messages, but he could not explain what happened to them.
He said he had directed administrative personnel at the Justice Department to review the situation and determine whether there were problems in the department’s system for automatically archiving internal documents. He said the review would also seek to recover the missing e-mail messages if possible.”
Why do I get the feeling that in the spirit of the cover-up looking forward, not back, recovering the missing messages will be found impossible. Just a hunch.
One of the architects of the financial meltdown, and the Godfather of the Obama economic team, might have some ‘splainin’ to do. From Bloomberg:
“Robert Rubin, the former U.S. Treasury secretary who later advised Citigroup Inc. as the bank piled up subprime-mortgage losses, may soon face his first public grilling on the 2008 financial crisis.
The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission investigating the worst economic slump since the Great Depression, plans to ask Rubin to testify in April, said two people with knowledge of the commission’s decisions.
Ask? How about subpoena?
“Rubin’s reputation dimmed after the U.S. bailed out New York-based Citigroup with $45 billion and AIG had to be propped up because of losses on derivatives. When Rubin was President Bill Clinton’s Treasury secretary, he fought efforts to regulate derivatives.”
His reputation dimmed? Barack Obama didn’t get that memo:
“[Obama] named Rubin to be an economic adviser during the 2008 presidential campaign, and two Treasury protégés, Lawrence Summers and Timothy Geithner are top officials in the White House. Summers, 55, is chief economic adviser and Geithner, 48, is Treasury secretary.”
“Just below Summers is Jason Furman, who worked for Rubin in the Clinton White House and was one of the first directors of Rubin’s Hamilton Project.
And as head of the powerful Office of Management and Budget, Obama named Peter Orszag, who served as the first director of Rubin’s Hamilton Project.”
…to serve alongside Furman at the NEC [Obama hired] management consultant Diana Farrell, who worked under Rubin at Goldman Sachs. In 2003, Farrell was the author of an infamous paper in which she argued that sending American jobs overseas might be “as beneficial to the U.S. as to the destination country, probably more so.”
…Over at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which is supposed to regulate derivatives trading, Obama appointed Gary Gensler, a former Goldman banker who worked under Rubin in the Clinton White House. Gensler had been instrumental in helping to pass the infamous Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which prevented regulation of derivative instruments like CDOs and credit-default swaps that played such a big role in cratering the economy last year.
Karl Denninger at Market Ticker on Freddie Mac’s announcement that they are finally going to stop buying and securitizing interest only mortgages:
“Freddie (and Fannie) had no business getting involved in these toxic self-immolation devices in the first place as they are intended to do exactly one thing – asset-strip the borrower by forcing him or her to come back after the interest-only period and refinancing.
In an environment where home prices are not advancing, however, such refinancing is of course impossible, which leads immediately to foreclosure…Say thanks to the government – both past and present administrations – for conspiring with our banks to literally fleece the American Citizen for the benefit of Wall Street.”
And the fleecing will continue, thanks to the Christmas Eve blank check from the Treasury Department.
2010 Intelligence Authorization Act, amendment, Article VI, Atlantic, Convention Against Torture, Cruel Inhuman and Degrading Interrogation Prohibition Act of 2010, keeping us safe, Liz Cheney, Marc Ambinder, Sylvestre Reyes, veto, White House
While all the attention in Washington yesterday was focused on the posturing and pontificating over health care reform, there was something else going on. Democratic Congressman Sylvestre Reyes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, proposed an amendment to the 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act. The amendment is called the Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Interrogation Prohibition Act of 2010 which, in essence, does nothing more than codify what already exists in Articles 1 and 16 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture. You know that treaty which under Article VI of the Constitution is supposed to be the “supreme Law of the Land,” but was signed and ratified pre-9/11 so is no longer applicable, apparently.
The amendment prohibits such acts as waterboarding, beatings, sleep deprivation, and mock executions among others. In other words, pretty much the chart toppers on the Cheney/Ashcroft/Rumsfeld/Yoo/Bybee hit parade. It applies to any “U.S. national, or any officer, employee, contractor, or subcontractor of the Federal government,” with punishment for violation being “fine or imprisonment for not more than 15 years, or both,” unless death results. Then the imprisonment is “any term of years or for life.”
And right on cue, here came the torture defenders, led by Liz Cheney, playing the predictable “keeping us safe” card:
“Late last night, Democrats in the House of Representatives inserted a provision dubbed “The Cruel, Inhuman, and Degrading Interrogation Act of 2010” into the intelligence authorization bill. This new language targets the US intelligence community with criminal penalties for using methods they have deemed necessary for keeping America safe. These methods have further been found by the Department of Justice to be both legal and in keeping with our international obligations.”
Sorry Liz, but just because they were found legal by the pretzel logic of Daddy’s Justice Department (and sadly, found to be merely “poor judgment” by the current Justice Department) doesn’t mean they are legal. It just means that laws and treaties have become an a la carte menu in post 9/11 America. We now pick and choose which ones to enforce and which ones to ignore. Again, sadly.
According to Marc Ambinder at the Atlantic, the amendment is also not popular at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue (sigh):
“The White House isn’t happy; they’ve already threatened to veto the bill because it, in their mind, it infringes upon the rights of the executive branch by forcing the administration to disclose more about intelligence operations to more members of Congress.”
That sounds a lot like a previous administration to me. (Double sigh).
And speaking of right on cue, all House Republicans had to do was give the insinuation that they would accuse Democrats of being ‘soft on terror’ and ‘coddling terrorists’ and the gutless, spineless, Democratic leadership pulled the bill.
Despite the fact that between 400 and 1,000 insurgents have 15,000 NATO and Afghan troops bogged down in Marjah, an operation in which the overwhelming numbers were supposed to make short work of those insurgents but which the Pentagon now admits is “moving more slowly than expected,” a “similar operation planned in Canadian-led Kandahar province will largely use the same tactic, its commander says.” Kandahar has a population 6 times that of Marjah. The quagmire deepens.
I’m reminded of the old George Carlin line about oxymorons, “jumbo shrimp and military intelligence.”
The Marjah offensive was also to be the first test of “a new NATO strategy focusing on protecting civilians.” How’s that working out so far? Not too good:
“The Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission said in a statement Wednesday that it had confirmed 28 civilians deaths in the Marjah fighting, based on witness reports. Thirteen children were among the dead.”
A number Canadian Brigadier General Daniel Menard referred to as “not bad.”
I think the parents of those 13 children and the families of the people who Brig. Gen. Menard called “collateral damage” might have a different perspective.