Saturday, February 28, 2009

Obama Will Nearly Quadruple Deficit This Year

From Gateway Pundit:

USA Today an interactive chart on the the Obama Administration's significant increas in spending this year.

In President Bush's last year in office, 2008, the deficit reached $459 billion:

Read more ....

Who's In Bed With Wall Street -- A Commentary

New York Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton announced today that $18.55 million will be heading Staten Island's way for the construction of an Army Reserve center. (Associated Press)

From Daily Comet:

Smoking is good for you. Eating deep fried spam is even better. And listening to a medical doctor on economic analysis is about as productive as listening to an economist provide expert commentary on medical issues. So maybe the first two sentences are a bit of an exaggeration, but make about as much sense as the economic commentary provided by Dr. Michael Robichaux in a recent column and response.

I have respect for the good doctor. He is an honorable man and loves his community, state and nation. He has a passion for justice and rights for all, and I respect that. He is highly regarded in his medical practice and his patients treat him with high regard and affection. Unfortunately, his passion and loyalty to his personal beliefs often blind his own objectivity and prohibit the sound reasoning that one might expect of a highly educated individual.

Read more .....

Hat Tip: Instapundit

My Comment: This author names the villains involved.

Roland Burris' Attorney Warns Against Special Election

Roland Burris (Photo from The Guardian)

From The Chicago Tribune:

U.S. Sen. Roland Burris' lawyer is warning of a fight if lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn try to dislodge Burris from office by approving a special election for his Senate seat---and the warning includes an indication that Burris could run in 2010.

Burris has rejected calls for his resignation by several leading Democrats concerned about his various explanations of the extent of contacts he had with allies of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Burris was appointed by Blagojevich to the Senate three weeks after Blagojevich was arrested on federal corruption charges that included an allegation he sought to sell the Senate seat vacated by President Barack Obama.

Read more ....

My Comment: Roland Burris' lawyer has a point .... but it is hard to defend Sen. Burris' rights when he was not even elected to the Senate .... but appointed by a "corrupt" Governor.

Porn In The USA: Conservatives Are Biggest Consumers

From ABC News:

8 of Top 10 Porn-Consuming States Voted Republican in 2008 Presidential Election

Americans may paint themselves in increasingly bright shades of red and blue, but new research finds one thing that varies little across the nation: the liking for online pornography.

Read more ....

My Comment: If true, I guess CPAC will be rocking and rolling tonight.

CPAC Conference -- Live Feed

If you have any problems, you can also try Townhall’s version of the CPAC feed here.

Here are some of the highlights from the agenda for Saturday:

Hon. Rick Santorum
Regency Ballroom
Introduction: Tim Goeglein, Focus on the Family

Gov. Tim Pawlenty (MN)
Regency Ballroom*
Introduction: TBD

Phyllis Schlafly
Ambassador Ballroom
Introduction: Sandy Rios, WYLL Chicago

William J. Bennett
Regency Ballroom*
Introduction: TBD

Ann Coulter
Regency Ballroom

Presentation of Conservative Blogger Award
Regency Ballroom
Presenter: David All, David All Group*
Recipient: Steve Gilbert, Sweetness & Light

Moving the Left Coast to the Right: A Call to Action for Conservatives
Regency Ballroom
Robert Davi, actor and director
Roger L. Simon, Pajamas Media
David Horowitz, David Horowitz Freedom Center
Moderator: Andrew Breitbart,’s Big Hollywood

Kirby Wilbur, KVI

Media in the Obama Era: Is Journalism Dead?
Ambassador Ballroom
John Gizzi, Human Events
John Ziegler, How Obama Got Elected
R. Emmett Tyrrell, The American Spectator
Terry Jeffrey,
Moderator: Peter Roff*

Conservatism 2.0 Conference
Diplomat Ballroom
Sponsored by Pajamas Television
The conservative answer to The View hosted by Kellyanne Conway, Mary Anne Marsh, Michelle Malkin and Jeri Thompson

Panelists: John P. Avlon, Alfonzo Rachel, Glenn Reynolds,and Scott Ott

David Horowitz
Ambassador Ballroom
Introduction: TBD

Ward Connerly
Regency Ballroom
Introduction: Tammy Cali, Eberle Associates

Rush Limbaugh
Regency Ballroom
Introduction: Lisa De Pasquale, American Conservative Union

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Obama Revolution: Paid For By The People -- A Commentary

From The Wall Street Journal:

In the closing weeks of last year's election campaign, we wrote that Democrats had in mind the most sweeping expansion of government in decades. Liberals clucked, but it turns out even we've been outbid. With yesterday's fiscal 2010 budget proposal, President Obama is attempting not merely to expand the role of the federal government but to put it in such a dominant position that its power can never be rolled back.

The first point to understand is the sheer magnitude of federal spending built into this proposal. As the nearby chart shows, federal outlays will soar in fiscal 2009 to $4 trillion, or 27.7% of GDP, from $3 trillion or 21% of GDP in 2008, and 20% in 2007. This is higher as a share of the economy than any year since 1945, when the country was still mobilized for World War II. It is more spending by far than during the Vietnam War, or during the recessions of 1974-75 or 1981-82.

Read more

My Comment: The people voted for President Obama and a full Democrat Senate/House. They have a mandate to do what they want .... and they will. Trust me .... they will.

The key for the Republicans is to position themselves to provide alternative viewpoints, philosophies, and policies. But at the moment .... they are providing very little if any alternatives .... and what they are providing are just tweaks to what the Democrats are legislating. If this continues, the Republicans will be toast (again) in 2010.

If you want my opinion .... The Wall Street Journal's commentary is right .... but I know that no one is listening. They will only start to listen when the cost to the American taxpayer starts to be felt .... which I predict will be in 2011-2012.

More Entertaining Sen. Burris News, This Time On Son Burris II

From L.A. Times Blog:

Not an all-around awful day for Democratic Sen. Roland Burris of Illinois.

Just terrible this time.

As you may have heard, the legally embattled junior Illinois senator replacement for Barack Obama, who was maneuvered into that job by the wily but also legally embattled now ex-Democratic governor of Illinois, Rod Blagojevich, has refused to resign after an unfolding series of revelations about his relationship, fundraising and contacts with/for the impeached governor and his staff.

Now comes one more revelation, the kind of news that causes immune Illinois voters to say, "So?"

Read more ....

My Comment: In the next few weeks a movement is going to start from within the Illinois State Legislature to have a special Senate election. They know that everyday Burris remains in the U.S. Senate, he will be just fodder for the Republicans to use against Democrat politicians in Chicago and in the State of Illinois.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

U.S. Senator Feinstein Under Fire For Leaking Of Intelligence Secrets

Senator Feinstein (Photo from Halfway To Concord)

From Newsweek:

House Republicans want an investigation of the Democratic senator's remarks about a secret U.S. military facility inside Pakistan.

In a swipe at their chief Democratic counterpart in the Senate, Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee have asked the Obama administration to conduct an inquiry into recent comments by Sen. Dianne Feinstein that appeared to confirm the existence of a secret U.S. facility inside Pakistan used to stage missile strikes against Al Qaeda targets.

Read more ....

My Comment: When Valerie Plame was outed, we had numerous investigations and countless news reports. In this case .... which is many magnitudes greater than outing a CIA desk clerk .... we have little if any discussion.

Sigh .... bias in the media .... you could have fooled me.

President’s Inner Circle Has Earmarks in Omnibus

From CQ Politics:

Funny how items show up in spending bills without any notice — like an earmark for a president who promised not to seek any.

President Obama, who took a no-earmark pledge on the campaign trail, is listed as one of dozens of cosponsors of a $7.7 million set-aside in the fiscal 2009 omnibus spending bill passed by the House on Wednesday.

But not for long.

On Thursday, Rob Blumenthal, a spokesman for the Senate Appropriations Committee said the one earmark in the bill that carries Obama’s name will be edited. The committee will attribute that earmark to other senators on the list of that provision’s supporters, but not Obama.

Read more ....

My Comment: If President Obama keeps this up .... he will soon be confronted with a very skeptical and cynical public. Too bad .... his commitment to controlling earmarks always sounded sincere in the many speeches that he has given on the subject.

House Kills Effort To Investigate Lobbyist-Lawmaker Ties

From FOX News:

The proposal would have forced the House Ethics Committee to launch a probe into ties between the source and timing of campaign contributions by lobbyists and subsequent legislator requests for special projects or earmarks.

The House voted Wednesday to kill a resolution calling for an ethics investigation into potential quid pro quo between lobbyist campaign donations and lawmakers.

Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., sponsored the proposal that would have forced the House Ethics Committee to launch a probe into ties between the source and timing of campaign contributions by lobbyists and subsequent legislator requests for special projects or earmarks.

Read more ....

My Comment: Kudos to Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., he knows where all of Rep. Murtha's skeletons are hidden.

Burris' Son Got State Job From Blago

Sen. Roland Burris' son, Roland II (inset) is an income-tax deadbeat who got a state job under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich. (AP photos)

From Chicago Sun Times:

SCANDAL MUSHROOMS | He serves as housing authority counsel despite facing foreclosure on his own home.

The son of embattled Sen. Roland Burris is a federal tax deadbeat who landed a $75,000-a-year state job under former Gov. Rod Blagojevich five months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times has learned.

Blagojevich's administration hired Roland W. Burris II as a senior counsel for the state's housing authority Sept. 10 -- about six weeks after the Internal Revenue Service slapped a $34,163 tax lien on Burris II and three weeks after a mortgage company filed a foreclosure suit on his South Side house.

Read more ....

My Comment: If the Democratic leadership was smart .... they would be booting Burris out of the Democrat caucus. But they will not because they still need his vote.

Remember The House Bank Scandal

From The American:

Banks that are owned by governments will be run to benefit politicians.

As the federal government moves closer to nationalizing more of America’s largest financial institutions, including Citigroup, it’s time to recall the history of federal ownership of commercial banks.
Certainly, the record of the Second Bank of the United States (1816–41) should give us pause. The bank was 80 percent privately owned but effectively controlled by the president and Congress. It was riddled with fraud and corruption and eventually went bankrupt.

The most recent admonitory example is the House Bank. I know it well. In September 1991, when I was editor of the newspaper Roll Call, our reporter Timothy Burger, now at Bloomberg News, broke the story that led to the exposure by the Ethics Committee of 269 House members who had abused the bank with significant overdrafts. In the end, many of them, including Rep. Stephen Solarz of New York, were defeated in 1992 re-election bids.

Read more ....

My Comment: I forgot about this scandal. Stephen Solarz was a rising star in the Democratic Party, his loss and others paved the way for the Gingrich revolution in 1994.

Politicians and money is like oil and water .... they do not mix.

How He Did It: A Diagrammatic Analysis of The Obama Campaign

The diagram is colored according to the phases of the campaign, which, like a military campaign, can be divided into the resources provided by the terrain, available forces and weapons, strategy and tactics, and objectives to be taken.

From American Thinker:

"All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia." ---George Orwell.

The audacity and speed with which Obama railroaded the stimulus bill through Congress took Republicans by surprise. It shouldn't have; it was a logical extension of his campaign tactics.

Like the spear-carrying soldiers of Ethiopia, overwhelmed by Mussolini's tanks and poison gas in 1936, the Republicans simply don't know what hit them in last year's election. Some felt that they had conducted an old-fashioned 20th century campaign while Obama mounted the first truly information-age 21st century political blitzkrieg. Others blame the blatant media bias, the race issue, or the unprecedented scale of fund raising and spending.

Read more ....

My Comment: This is a brilliant description of Obama's Presidential race strategy. Save it, look at it repeatedly, and learn.

White House Proposed Budget For 2009

White House Proposed Budget For 2009

Obama released his 2009 budget today.
The pdf is here.

Commentaries and analysis will be provided tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reid To Obama: Let Us Keep Earmarks

Photo: Harry Reid and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairman Charles Schumer had hoped at one point to get as much as $10 million from the Obama campaign. AP/Politico

From Politico:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants the White House to tread lightly on earmarks, saying that any push by the Obama administration to clamp down on pet projects would be met with strong opposition from congressional leaders.

"We cannot let spending be done by a bunch of nameless, faceless bureaucrats," Reid said, arguing that lawmakers are much more in tune with federal money needs for their states than agencies in Washington.

Reid's comments came as he and Democratic leaders vowed swift action on Obama's agenda.

Read more ....

My Comment: This is a critical test for President Obama. It will give us a chance to see if he walks the walk .... and talks the talk.

If history is any indication .... he will not walk the walk.

The Burris Problem -- A Commentary

Senator Roland Burris

From USA Today:

The race card forced the Senate’s hand, then backfired.

If you watched the recent debate on the stimulus bill, you might have been taken aback by the image of Roland Burris presiding over the U.S. Senate. Lest you think that some singular honor was being bestowed on the handpicked choice of Rod Blagojevich, the now impeached governor of Illinois, be reassured that the unenviable job of presiding is typically foisted on the most junior senators.

Read more ....

My Comment: The commentary sums it up in the first sentence .... it is all about race.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Clients Of Raided Lobbyists Rake In Earmarks

The Hill:

Clients of a defense lobby shop under investigation are continuing to score earmarks from their patrons in Congress, despite the firm being on the verge of shutting its doors permanently.

Several clients of The PMA Group, which was raided by the FBI in November, are slated to receive earmarks worth at least $8 million in the omnibus spending bill funding the federal government through the rest of fiscal 2009, according to a list of projects put together by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) .

Read more ....

My Comment: If the company's doors are closed .... would they still be brash enough to cash the check?

Rogue Financier Stanford Linked To Fund Run By Bidens

Hunter and Beau Biden. Source: 25aug2008

From FOX News:

A fund of hedge funds run by two members of Vice President Joe Biden's family was marketed exclusively by companies controlled by Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, who is facing Securities and Exchange Commission accusations of engaging in an $8 billion fraud.

The $50 million fund was jointly branded between the Bidens' Paradigm Global Advisors LLC and a Stanford Financial Group entity and was known as the Paradigm Stanford Capital Management Core Alternative Fund. Stanford-related companies marketed the fund to investors and also invested about $2.7 million of their own money in the fund, according to a lawyer for Paradigm. Paradigm Global Advisors is owned through a holding company by the vice president's son, Hunter, and Joe Biden's brother, James.

Read more ....

My Comment:The monies involved are large. This is not petty cash.

Sen. Burris Not Running In 2010

(L to R) Senator Durbin, Senator Burris, and Senator Reid

Burris And Durbin To Meet Tuesday Afternoon. Scoop: Burris Not Resigning But Signaling Won't Run In 2010 -- Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON--Embattled Sen. Roland Burris (D-Ill.) meets with Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday afternoon. Burris understands that he needs to try to mollify Durbin and he will attempt to do that.

Scoop: Burris will also be sending, directly or indirectly (maybe this is it) two messages: he will not resign in the wake of the controversy surrounding his appointment by the ousted Gov. Blagojevich and he will not run for the seat in 2010. Burris has finally realized that not seeking election next year is the least price he will pay.

Here is the state of play regarding Burris, from the Burris perspective.

*Senate Democratic leadership is going to realize Burris is not going away soon.

*The Senate Ethics panel moves slowly.

*The Sangamon Co. (Ill.) inquiry about Burris' will take some time.

*The Senate Democrats need Burris for his vote, especially with the Minnesota seat still up in the air.

*So they all have to make this work somehow.

Read more ....

My Comment: Sen. Burris has made it very clear that he will not resign his seat. He hopes that his commitment to not run in 2010 will mollify the critics .... but it will not.

This Is How Washington Politics Works

Senator Christopher Dodd and his cosy Irish cottage.

How Politics Works: Senator Christopher Dodd And His Cosy Irish Cottage -- The Telegraph

An intriguing item here from the dogged Kevin Rennie of the Hartford Courant that highlights a classic example of why ordinary citizens become cynical about politicians and the way business in Washington is conducted.

Silver-haired Senator Christopher Dodd, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, has already been getting a lot of heat for his two 2003 VIP mortgage loans from Countrywide, one of the major actors in triggering the current financial crisis.

Seeking Senate re-election in 2010, the 2008 presidential candidate (he dropped out on the first day of voting after finishing seventh in Iowa, where he had moved with his family as a way of courting voters) is now in a bit of a sticky spot with another accommodation- his "cottage" on the lovely Irish island of Inishnee.

Read more ....

My Comment: It takes a British newspaper to get the picture that everyone wants to see. If that is Sen. Dodd's summer home .... it is a very expensive one.

I am just curious to know if this is the only "other house" in Sen. Dodd's property portfolio. Are there more homes out there?

The 10 Most Influential D.C. Twitterers

From Politico:

When you talk about Twitter, you might as well be talking about the Snuggie: People around you swear that it’s actually useful, but you can’t help thinking it silly and declaring, “I just don’t get what all the buzz is about.”

But in Washington, the social networking and microblogging service is quickly becoming part of the daily media diet — and a powerful tool in the hands of those who are adept at making their points in 140 characters or fewer.

Here are the new maestros of the tweet — Washington’s 10 Most Influential Twitterers.

Read more .....

Monday, February 23, 2009

Exclusive Review: Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted

From Big Hollywood:

Big Hollywood was given an exclusive first look at John Ziegler’s latest documentary covering the media coverage of the 2008 presidential election.

In journalistic terms it’s called a “tick-tock.” This is when the media crafts a news story that takes you behind the scenes of an event and breaks down, piece by linear piece, the individual acts which led up to that event. With “Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted,” director John Ziegler (”Blocking the Path to 9/11“) turns the art of the tick-tock around and aims it, with damning effect, squarely at the news media. The result is not a documentary, at least not for anyone who believes in truth, fairness or journalistic integrity - the result is a horror film.

Read more ....

My Comment: Any bets that this documentary will not be reviewed by the New York Times, the major networks, or be submitted for an Oscar. Any takers?

Washington Prospers While We Suffer

While New York Bleeds Washington Thrives - Yahoo! Real Estate -- Daily Pundit

As the nation’s most populous metro area feels Wall Street’s pain, the fourth-largest — Washington — is barely sensing the recession. In fact, Moody’s estimates that metro Washington’s economy will actually grow 2.5% from mid-2008 through mid-2010. New York’s economy is expected to shrink 4.2%.

This is not good news.

Read more ....

My Comment: Washington DC truly exists in a totally different world.

The Obama Administration Auto Team Drive Foreign Cars

Auto Team Drives Imports -- Detroit News

WASHINGTON -- The vehicles owned by the Obama administration's auto team could reflect one reason why Detroit's Big Three automakers are in trouble: The list includes few new American cars.

Among the eight members named Friday to the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry and the 10 senior policy aides who will assist them in their work, two own American models. Add the Treasury Department's special adviser to the task force and the total jumps to three.

The Detroit News reviewed public records to discover what many of the task force and staff members drove, but information was not available on all of the officials, and records for some states were not complete.

Read more

My Comment: This does not look good.

Stimulus Spending Fiascoes Seen As Inevitable

The U.S. Capitol building, where an $838 billion economic stimulus bill backed by the White House survived a key test vote in the Senate. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

From The San Francisco Chronicle:

President Obama's monthlong slog to get his $787 billion stimulus bill through Congress might feel like a cakewalk compared to his next task: spending the money.

Economists say the administration faces a catch-22: It must start shoveling out hundreds of billions of dollars within months if it hopes to slow the economy's free fall. But the rush to spend is also certain to increase the potential for waste, fraud and inefficiency.

Obama knows his critics are waiting to pounce on any sign that taxpayer money is being misused. He warned a group of mayors at the White House Friday that he would "call them out" if they misspent the money. The same standard will apply to his Cabinet officials, he said.

Read more ....

My Comment: The headline is my "understatement of the day"

Dodd's 'Cottage': A Cozy Purchase

Senator Dodd (Photo from The Peace Corps Online)

From The Hartford Courant:

Ireland does not easily give up its secrets. That may have been one attraction it held for Sen. Christopher Dodd in 1994 when he became an owner of a refuge on nearly 10 acres on the Irish west coast. The murky tale includes a felonious inside trader, a Kansas City businessman, a presidential pardon and what appears to be a financial bonanza to Dodd during the Irish property boom.

The saga of Dodd's lucrative Irish odyssey reveals that his two 2003 sweetheart loans from subprime mortgage titan Countrywide Financial were not the first time he enjoyed a financial advantage from a wealthy benefactor. The trail begins at one of New York's most desirable addresses.

Read more ....

My Comment: instead of less .... the more that reporters look at Senator Dodd, the more questions are found.

A Depression President

"The Depression President" -- Dou @ Ross Journal

Read more ....

My Comment: I think this graphical representation is unfair to President Obama. As far as I am concern .... it is the entire political process .... from Congress, the media, special interests, President Bush, and President Obama that is at fault.

Europe's Politicians Don't Pay Their Taxes, Either

In his report, Mr Galvin found that overpayments of parliamentary
allowances were common Photo: GEOFF PUGH

European MPs Earning £1 Million Profits In A Term, Report Finds -- The Telegraph

Members of the European Parliament are earning up to £1 million in profit in just one five-year term in office through expenses and allowances, a leaked report has revealed.

The report sparked calls for a police investigation into the systematic abuse of taxpayers' money.

The internal report into the system of allowances - conducted by Robert Galvin, a European Union internal audit official - was kept secret when it was carried out last year.

But a leaked copy of the 92-page document details the full extent of "corruption, dodgy dealing and poor financial controls" in the European Parliament, according to the Taxpayers' Alliance. It revealed that some MEPs claimed money for assistants that were neither accredited nor registered with the parliament.

Read more ....

My Comment: The financial crisis that is gripping Europe is far worse than what is happening in the United States. The corruption is probably also worse .... it is just not reported as much.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Akaka Bill: A Cash Cow for Democrats -- A Commentary

Image from Coastal Hawaii

From American Thinker:

Eat your heart out Jack Abramoff. President Obama looks forward to a guaranteed supply of Democrat campaign money which will make the imprisoned Republican fundraiser look like the small time operator he was. And better yet, Obama's multi-billion dollar nationwide scheme to circumvent campaign spending laws comes neatly disguised as a Hawaii-only deal for "reconciliation" and "justice". "Campaign finance" isn't even in the bill's description. It is called the Akaka Bill.

Read more .....

My Comment: Indian reservations have been funneling untold amounts of money to politicians for years .... this is just another scenario to get funds. But because of its legal consequences and implications .... this may be a bridge to far.

The Soon To Be "Busiest Man" In Washington

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about relief for Americans facing home foreclosure at Dobson High School in Mesa, Arizona February 18, 2009. (Joshua Lott/Reuters)

Official: Investigator To Lead Stimulus Oversight -- Yahoo News/AP

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama plans to announce Monday a former Secret Service agent who helped expose lobbyists' corruption at the Interior Department as his pick to oversee the $787 billion economic stimulus plan.

Obama is set to name Earl Devaney as chairman of the new Recovery Act Transparency and Accountability Board, an administration official said Sunday. Vice President Joe Biden also will be given a role coordinating oversight of stimulus spending.

Read more ....

My Comment: This is going to be the busiest man in Washington for the next two years. The sad part is that he will be so undermanned .... and the programs that will receive monies are so many .... that aside from a few token indiscretions that will be found, his effectiveness will be minimal.

Vice President Biden's role in such an agency is laughable.

Rick Santelli's Rant On CNBC

Rick Santelli On His CNBC Mortgage Rant: 'We Really, Really Tapped Into A Nerve' -- The Chicago Tribune

According to CNBC’s Rick Santelli, he didn’t launch into his self-described rant on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade against President Barack Obama’s mortgage bailout plan the other day with any other agenda than to vent his belief “the government is promoting bad behavior” through the program.

Santelli said over the weekend it was only just occurring to him how his newly raised profile from his call for a Chicago Tea Party -- which seems to have resonated with many Americans, made him a viral video star and drew a White House rebuke -- might be parlayed into other opportunities, as discussed in my Feb. 22 Chicago Tribune column.

Read more ....

My Comment: He is touching a nerve .... but only a small nerve right now. The anger is still not out there to resurrect the Boston Tea Party of 1773.

Now Obama Wants To Subsidize Hedge Funds?

President Obama speaks to the press before a meeting with bipartisan congressional leadership in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, January 23, 2009. REUTERS/Jason Reed

From The Asia Times:

The New York TImes has just posted a story reporting that the Obama Administration and the Fed plan to subsidize hedge funds and private equity investors’ holdings of securitized assets. If so, they have gone bat screaming crazy, and the appropriate portfolio diversifiers are land in northern Idaho, gold coins, shotgun shells and bottled water. If I were paranoid, I would wonder whether the administration plans to seize the banks, use taxpayer money to segregate their bad assets, and sell the “good” bank to private equity players for a song, while the Federal Reserve subsidizes hedge funds who buy structured product. There is, after all, an opportunity to rearrange wealth in the United States on an unprecedented scale. There are lots of hungry Ivy League university endowments whose private equity investments vaporized during the past year, eager to claw back what they lost. And there are scores of bright professors hungry for consulting fees. It’s hard to believe that anyone could be so reckless and so crazy. But the NYT report is one of the strangest things I’ve read, ever, anytime.

Read more ....

My Comment: It is not a surprise to me that it is the business journalists and pundits outside of the U.S. who are the first to spot what is happening in the U.S. markets today. We are witnessing the greatest transfer and manipulation of wealth in human history. The people and institutions that will have control of this wealth will in turn have the political power and influence that comes with it. President Obama and his allies want to make sure that this occurs favorably to their side.

Sen. Specter Is Losing Support From His Republican Base

Sen. Arlen Specter at a Capitol Hill press conference earlier this month.
Photo: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Salon)

From Pittsburgh Live:

'Benedict Arlen' plots with enemy

Arlen Specter appears spooked.

At a town hall meeting at Point Park University Thursday, the U.S. senator acknowledged his long political career was in jeopardy because of his vote supporting President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package.

Noting that he barely squeaked by former U.S. Rep. Pat Toomey in the 2004 GOP primary, Specter asked for help in the 2010 primary, which is more than a year away.

He suggested Democrat students in the crowd of about 100 temporarily change their registration to Republican so they could vote for him in the primary, then revert to their previous Democrat registration.

Read more ....

My Comment: Sen. Specter has clearly lost the support of his Republican base. If there is a viable Republican candidate for his job in 2010, there is a more than 50-50 chance that Sen. Specter will be voted out in the primary.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Will The Stimulus Bill Start A Crimewave?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi celebrated the start of the 110th Congress Thursday with members' children and grandchildren, including some of her own. Photo from The New York Times.

Handout Sure To Stimulate A Lot Of Scams -- Boston Herald

This so-called economic stimulus act is going to spur more crime than anything Congress has passed since the Volstead Act.

But at least with Prohibition, Americans got needle beer and bathtub gin. This time, it’s just going to be one outrageous ripoff after another. This $827 billion boondoggle is the equivalent of blowing one of those silent whistles, only this time it isn’t dogs that’ll come running, it’s grifters, scammers, double-dealers.

Take the weatherization plan. I’m sure it survived the conference committee; it’s just too ripe a low-hanging fruit not to have been retained in the final version. It’s for the greens, and a lot of green is certainly going to change hands - mostly under the table.

Read more ....

My Comment: The big difference with this stimulus bill when compared to past stimulus bills is the money. This particular stimulus bill runs in the mega billions.

I predict scandal after scandal being publicized before the next Congressional election in 2010. The Democratic Party is poorly positioned being the ones who are now tied to the pork and spending of this bill.

Look At Who Is Going To The Court Of St. James

Mr Obama's campaign promises to change politics as usual had raised hopes that he would not continue the practise of doling out prized ambassadorships to cronies Photo: AP

Barack Obama Under Fire For Picking A Crony Fundraiser As His Ambassador To Britain -- The Telegraph

Barack Obama has been embroiled in a cronyism row after reports that he intends to make Louis Susman, one of his biggest fundraisers, the new US ambassador in London.

The selection of Mr Susman, a lawyer and banker from the president's hometown of Chicago, rather than an experienced diplomat, raises new questions about Mr Obama's commitment to the special relationship with Britain.

American commentators denounced the selection of a rich friend to the plumb post, regarded as one of the most prestigious in the president's gift, as worthy of a "banana republic".

They said it was proof that Mr Obama has turned his back on his campaign pledge to end politics as usual.

Read more ....

My Comment: Chicago style politics on full display at the White House.

The Democratic Brand Is In Trouble — And It Doesn’t Even Know It Yet

U.S. President Barack Obama (C) speaks alongside Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and former Sen. George Mitchell (D-ME) as he delivers remarks about Mitchell's upcoming trip to the Middle East, in the White House January 26, 2009 in Washington, DC. Mitchell, newly appointed as a U.S. envoy to the Middle East, will visit the region to support the fragile truce between Israel and Gaza. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

From FOX News:

Too much pride in oneself or in any accomplishment inevitably leads to a fall and there’s an even bigger fall coming if you are proud for all the wrong reasons — especially when those reasons include mistakenly thinking that someone else’s accomplishments are your own.

This is the biggest problem facing the Democratic brand today: taking credit for President Obama’s success.

Brand Obama’s accomplishments are Brand Obama’s. They are not the Democratic Party’s. If anything, for Candidate Obama to become President Obama, the Democratic Party was as much, or more, of a stumbling block than John McCain. The fact is, when Obama was railing again Washington on the campaign trail, the Democrats were in charge on Capitol Hill and part of that railing was directed at them (and the people loved it).

Read more

My Comment: The Republican brand sucks also. Hell .... Congress's approval rating is around 8%.

The genius of President Obama and his closest aides is that they know this, and they have been brilliant at differentiating themselves from Congress and Congressional Democrats. The Congressional Democrats are being chastised for the pork in the stimulus bill, but President Obama has positioned himself to be against it .... even though he gladly signed this bill when it finally hit his desk this past Tuesday.

But the problem is that while President Obama and his team are protecting themselves from being hit on key issues, they are in turn giving Congress the means to lead on key issues. This cannot continue. When President Obama starts to provide the leadership that is necessary on what is more important to him than what Congress may think .... this is when the problems will start to occur.

Dodd's Senate Seat Up For Grabs?

From WTNH News:

Hartford (WTNH) - Connecticut's senior senator, Chris Dodd (D), is seen as being politically vulnerable right now and it looks like the Republicans are lining up for the opportunity to give him a run.

Dodd spent the part of the day talking about the economy with students at Hartford's Weaver High School. He told Chief Capitol Correspondent Mark Davis that is he planning to run for re-election next year. But if you've been watching television lately, it looks like the campaign is already underway with commercials that are running throughout the state.

"They're not my spots. I never heard about them before," Dodd said.

The commercials are being paid for by the Pharmaceutical Industry, a labor union, the Cancer Society and a non-profit group lobbying for national health care. But why are they doing it?

Read more ....

My Comment: I find it hard to believe that Connecticut voters will vote against Sen. Dodd in the next election. Connecticut is a very liberal and Democratic state, and for them to vote for a Republican candidate will be a difficult thing to do.

What will change the dynamics is if (1) more information and impropriety comes out, (2) Sen. Dodd continues to refuse the release of his mortgage papers, and (3) the tanking and/or no improvement in the economy. If these three variable are in play .... he is then vulnerable.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama To Mayors Getting Stimulus Money: Don't Float Wasteful Ideas Or I Will Call You Out

President Barack Obama addresses mayors in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Feb. 20, 2009. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (Charles Dharapak, AP / February 20, 2009)

From Newsday:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Invoking his own name-and-shame policy, President Barack Obama warned the nation's mayors on Friday that he will "call them out" if they waste the money from his massive economic stimulus plan.

"The American people are watching," Obama told a gathering of mayors at the White House. "They need this plan to work. They expect to see the money that they've earned — they've worked so hard to earn — spent in its intended purposes without waste, without inefficiency, without fraud."

Read more ....

My Comment: This speech is too much. I had too laugh. A room full of Mayors listening to President Obama's threats that they must be responsible with the tax money that they are going to receive. The thieves, crooks, and incompetents who got us into this mess .... are the same thieves, crooks, and incompetents who are going to receive this money.

Shesshhh .... what a system.

Sen. Specter Jeered For Voting For Stimulus Plan

Pennsylvania Senator Arlen Specter (File) CBS

From KDKA:

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) ― U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter was greeted with jeers at a press conference in Cranberry Township.

Conservatives are fuming after Specter cast the deciding vote that led to the passage of President Barack Obama's stimulus plan.

Specter, 79, acknowledges his run for re-election will be tough.

He says he's not completely happy with Obama's plans but he points out that he was able to cut the price tag by over $100 billion and he says he was able to increase the amount of tax cuts.

Read more ....

My Comment: Sen. Specter won 4 years ago because President Bush .... who was popular then .... went out to Pennsylvania and supported him in the primary and in the election.

This is not going to happen this time. He has burned his base, and will suffer the consequences of it.

UBS Pressed For 52,000 Names In 2nd Inquiry

Discussing a move to reveal 250 UBS clients suspected of tax evasion, Hans-Rudolf Merz, the Swiss president and finance minister, said the nation’s secrecy laws remained sacrosanct. Peter Klaunzer/Keystone, via Associated Press

From New York Times:

The UBS memo was blunt: the “Swiss solution” could help affluent Americans.

That message, sent to the bank’s executives in July 2004, referred to a UBS plan to help rich customers evade taxes by hiding money in offshore havens like the Bahamas.

The memo, along with dozens of e-mail messages like it, were disclosed on Thursday in a blistering court document filed by the Justice Department, which sought to compel UBS, based in Switzerland, to divulge the identities of 52,000 Americans whom the authorities suspect of using secret offshore accounts at the bank to dodge taxes.

Read more ....

My Comment: I cannot help but think that on this list is a who's who of people in American politics, business, and high society.

Did Campaign Cash Influence Bailout? Banks Get 258,000 Percent Return From Investments In D.C. Pols.

Senator Christopher Dodd

From KC Tribune:

“We're still in trouble. And it's now in the real economy. This is what is so frustrating. This is not Katrina. This is not a natural disaster. This was a man-made one. This was avoidable. This was preventable. What began with a problem with sub prime mortgages, which could have been corrected with some pain, clearly, but could have been corrected, has now cascaded into a problem that is affecting virtually millions of people's lives, their homes, their jobs, their retirements. So that is the great sadness in all of this, despite the efforts of many, including ourselves. And we're not without culpability.”

--Sen. Christopher Dodd (from Frontline Interview on the Financial Meltdown)

In my weeks of research into understanding how America went from economic lynchpin to a wayward ship drifting on a sea of economic trouble, I find myself baffled and appalled by statements from Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT), Chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.

His anger seems real enough. But the stench of hypocrisy reeks up the room every time he forgets to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars he received in 2008 as campaign donations from these same banks, their management and employees—currently now under receivership of the U.S. taxpayer.

Read more ....

My Comment: Follow the money .... the truth will always be found.

Will Roland Burris Resign? -- A Commentary

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich (L) introduces former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris (R) as his choice to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama during a press conference at the Thompson Center December 30, 2008 in Chicago, Illinois. Blagojevich, who is serving his second term as Illinois Governor, was taken into federal custody December 9 to face corruption charges including trying to sell Obama's Senate seat. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Roland Burris;Rod Blagojevich (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images North America)

From Pajamas Media:

With his support crumbling, Burris grimly hangs on to the Senate seat he so desperately wanted.

The tragicomedy that is Illinois politics has seen many a colorful character dance across the stage, entertaining the hard-bitten and cynical press with the brazenness of their malfeasance and devil-may-care attitude toward who might know it.

But Roland Burris was supposed to be different. He is a man with nearly two decades of unblemished service first as Illinois comptroller and then two terms as Illinois attorney general. He was widely respected as a clean, honest politician with unquestioned integrity.

But despite the respect he had garnered through the years, Burris felt his career was incomplete. Twice he ran for governor and lost. His bid for mayor of Chicago and another try for the Senate were unsuccessful. Friends said these failures ate at him, that he thought himself a lesser light in the political firmament because he had never achieved the high office he so coveted.

Read more ....

My Comment: Roland Burris was brought up in the world of Chicago politics .... as far as he is concern, he has done nothing wrong. This is what makes this ongoing saga so tragic ... in his mind he is innocent, but everyone around him knows that he is not.

Prosecutorial Misconduct In The Ted Stevens Trial

Senator Ted Stevens

Justice For Ted Stevens -- Wall Street Journal

Signs of prosecutorial misconduct.

The headlines are gone, and MSNBC no longer cares. But that's all the more reason to take note of the strange and disturbing turn in the Ted Stevens legal saga.

Prosecutors claimed this senior Senatorial scalp last year, winning an ethics conviction a fortnight before the octogenarian Republican narrowly lost his bid for a seventh term from Alaska. Though media interest stopped there, the story has since become one of ambitious prosecutors who at the very least botched the job and may have miscarried justice.

Read more ....

My Comment: I am not a fan of Sen. Ted Stevens .... but the prosecutors screwed up (big time) on this case.

Senate Not Likely To Oust Sen. Roland Burris Anytime Soon

U.S. Senator Roland Burris (D-IL), walks past the media after speaking at a City Club of Chicago luncheon February 18, in Chicago, Illinois. Scott Olson / Getty Images

From The L.A. Times:

The new senator from Illinois arrived under a cloud that has only grown -- but the Senate rarely expels its own members.

Reporting from Washington -- Though Roland Burris had some trouble being admitted to the U.S. Senate, he will not be easily expelled now that he has arrived.

It takes a vote of two-thirds of the senators to oust a member, and the last senators to be formally expelled were charged with supporting the rebels during the Civil War.

Read more ....

My Comment: The last U.S. Senator that was expelled was during the Civil War. Hmmmm .... I guess Sen. Roland Burris is going to be in the Senate until the next election in 2010.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

How Many Politicans And Their Supporters Are On This List

The logo of Swiss bank UBS is pictured behind a red traffic light in Zurich February 10, 2009. (Christian Hartmann/Reuters)

A Swiss Bank Is Set to Open Its Secret Files -- New York Times

In the hush-hush world of Swiss banking, the unthinkable is happening: secrets are spilling into the open.

UBS, the largest bank in Switzerland, agreed on Wednesday to divulge the names of well-heeled Americans whom the authorities suspect of using offshore accounts at the bank to evade taxes. The bank admitted conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and agreed to pay $780 million to settle a sweeping federal investigation into its activities.

It is unclear how many of its clients’ names UBS will divulge. Federal prosecutors have been examining about 19,000 accounts at the bank, but UBS ultimately may disclose the identities of only a few hundred customers.

Read more ....

Update: Swiss bank secrecy under threat after UBS tax deal -- Yahoo News/Reuters

Update #2
: US files new lawsuit in UBS bank secrets case to find tax cheats -- Newsday

My Comment: I am eagerly waiting for such a list to be released. I am sure that many major donors to the two political parties will be on this list .... maybe even a politician or two.

Firm With Murtha Ties Got Earmarks From Nearly One-Fourth of House

Congressman John P. Murtha (Photo from News Now Network)

From CQ Politics:

More than 100 House members secured earmarks in a major spending bill for clients of a single lobbying firm — The PMA Group — known for its close ties to John P. Murtha , the congressman in charge of Pentagon appropriations.

“It shows you how good they were,” said Keith Ashdown, chief investigator at the watchdog group Taxpayers for Common Sense. “The sheer coordination of that would take an army to finish.”

PMA’s offices have been raided, and the firm closed its political action committee last week amid reports that the FBI is investigating possibly illegal campaign contributions to Murtha and other lawmakers.

Read more ....

My Comment: I am still trying to get around the number of 100 House members submitting earmarks for just 1 company. Talk about connections that go deep.

Dems Abandon Burris

Photo: Sen. Roland Burris is rapidly losing any political support he once had among colleagues, with Democrats from the statehouse to the White House raising questions about his entanglements with ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich. Photo: AP

From Politico:

Sen. Roland Burris is rapidly losing any political support he once had among colleagues, with Democrats from the statehouse to the White House raising questions about his entanglements with ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

In a statement issued Wednesday evening, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said that "the accuracy and completeness of his testimony and affidavits have been called into serious question."

Durbin, who earlier in the day told the Chicago Tribune that "at this point, his future in the Senate seat is in question," said in the statement that "Every day there are more and more revelations about contacts with Blagojevich advisors, efforts at fundraising and omissions from his list of lobbying clients. This was not the full disclosure under oath that we asked for."

Read more ....

My Comment: Sen. Burris is now a serious detraction from President Obama and the Congressional agenda of the Democrats. Expect more pressure to be put on Sen. Burris in the next few days.

Conn. Senator Dodd On Hot Seat Again. Also Texas Sen John Coryn.

From Connecticut Post:

WASHINGTON -- Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd came under renewed attacks Wednesday from Republicans who claim he has been bought off by a "rogues gallery" of financial scofflaws.

Dodd, who is up for re-election in 2010, has been ripped by Republicans for getting favored treatment on two mortgages from Countrywide Financial, which was at the heart of the nation's subprime meltdown.

He's now under the gun for accepting $27,500 in campaign contributions since 2002 from Stanford Financial Group, whose Texas offices were raided Tuesday by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But Dodd's Republican accusers have their own explaining to do.

Stanford treated the chairman of the National Senatorial Campaign Committee to a four-day trip to Antigua back in November 2004. Texas Sen. John Cornyn was joined by his wife on the $7,411 "fact finding trip" hosted by Stanford. Cornyn's campaign has also pocketed $19,700 in contributions from Stanford and his employees since 2003.

Read more ....

Stimulus Watch: A List Of Projects For Each State

CP Editor: Stimulus Watch is a great web site that tracks the many projects that are listed in the stimulus bill.

Its purpose is best summarized by the following: was built to help the new administration keep its pledge to invest stimulus money smartly, and to hold public officials to account for the taxpayer money they spend. We do this by allowing you, citizens around the country with local knowledge about the proposed "shovel-ready" projects in your city, to find, discuss and rate those projects. These projects are not part of the stimulus bill. They are candidates for funding by federal grant programs once the bill passes.

The link to projects by state is HERE.

The home page is HERE.

Analysis: Democrats Self-Destructing Over Ethics

From AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration and the new Congress are quickly handing over to Republicans the same "culture of corruption" issue that Democrats used so effectively against the GOP before coming to power.

Freshman Sen. Roland Burris, D-Ill., is only the latest embarrassment.

Senate Democrats accepted Burris because they believed what he told them: He was clean. Burris now admits he tried to raise money for Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who authorities say sought to sell President Barack Obama's former Senate seat.

"The story seems to be changing day by day," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday.

The political mess for the Democratic Party, however, isn't Burris' conduct alone; it's the pattern that has developed so quickly over the past few months.

Read more ....

My Comment: What is infuriating is that so much of this could have been avoided. Both Parties know who the garbage is in their respective organizations .... but these people are never gotten rid of. And the voters .... much to their shame .... continue to re-elect them.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Accused Financier Under Federal Drug Investigation Was Praised By House Speaker Pelosi And President Clinton At The National Democratic Institute

Allen Stanford

Accused Financier Under Federal Drug Investigation -- ABC News

Authorities: Stanford May Have Laundered Drug Money for Mexican Cartel

The SEC's fraud charges may be the least of accused financial scammer R. Allen Stanford's worries. Federal authorities tell ABC News that the FBI and others have been investigating whether Stanford was involved in laundering drug money for Mexico's notorious Gulf Cartel.

Authorities tell ABC News that as part of the investigation, which has been ongoing since last year, Mexican authorities detained one of Stanford's private planes. According to officials, checks found inside the plane were believed to be connected to the Gulf cartel, reputed to be Mexico's most violent gang. Authorities say Stanford could potentially face criminal charges of money laundering and bribery of foreign officials.

Authorities say the SEC action against Stanford Tuesday may have complicated the federal drug investigation.

Read more ....

My Comment: These politicians may not have known what type of man he is .... but they loved his money.

For Ethics Hawks, Congress Could Be Next

From National Journal Online:

The Obama administration has fielded some tough ethics questions lately, and Congress may be next.

House Democrats have done their best to tamp down smoldering controversies involving Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and John Murtha, D-Pa, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. But the questions dogging the two are not likely to go away soon, particularly given recent Republican efforts to revive the ethics wars.

Democratic leaders beat back a GOP bid to remove Rangel from his Ways and Means chairmanship last week as the chamber voted 242-157 to scuttle a resolution by Republican Conference Secretary John Carter, R-Texas. Carter had called on Rangel to step down as chairman until the House Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics) Committee concludes its probe into his activities. (Sixteen House members, including those investigating Rangel, voted present.)

Read more ....

My Comment: There will be no ethics reform. Why should there be .... as far as the democrats are concern .... they have all the levers of power in their hands right now. Why change a good thing.

Texas Businessman Sought Influence in Corridors of Capitol

The Antigua Sun, controlled by Texas financier R. Allen Stanford, published this photo in a June 2008 article describing an encounter with then-Sen. Barack Obama after a Miami speech by the presidential candidate. A White House spokesman said, "This is one of hundreds of thousands of photos the president took at events during the campaign."

From The Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON -- Texas businessman R. Allen Stanford, whose multibillion-dollar investment empire was ordered seized Monday by a federal judge, has long enjoyed big influence in Washington thanks to a steady supply of campaign contributions, Caribbean trips for lawmakers and fees to lobbying firms.

Mr. Stanford and his affiliated companies have spent more than $5 million on lobbying fees since 2000, federal records show. The businessman and his top executives have also contributed at least $2 million to candidates, including key lawmakers, and additional thousands of dollars on jets and resorts.

Read more ....

My Comment: I thought McCain - Feingold would not make this possible. Sigh .... let's face it, the lobby industry is now too powerful .... and unless radical changes occur (which I doubt) .... lobbying and the corruption that it ferments will always be a part of Washington.

Update: Manhunt: Accused Financier Scammer Stanford Missing -- ABC News