Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bend: Doomed To Tear Itself To Pieces... Again.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, Bend.

I guess I've figured it out: Bend is a town doomed to tear itself apart.

Look at Buster; Here's a Bend Lifer who wants nothing more than The Good Olde Days to return in force. Guns, depression, liquor, downtown vacancies, flatbacking renters. Cowboy Capitalism at its finest.

Just about the polar opposite of today.

Now hbm; Surely there couldn't be someone more Buster's Polar Opposite, right? No.

HBM said:


"What I want to know is why is Bend considered the land of paradise?"

Bend isn't "paradise" and never was. When my family and I moved here in the mid-1980s it was a nice, pretty small town. Now, thanks to 20 years of uncontrolled, poorly planned (or unplanned) growth, it's just a sprawling ugly mess with a shitty climate.

IMHO.

Bend was fine for me at a certain stage in my and my family's life. It isn't anymore. I've changed, my family circumstances have changed (daughter has grown up and moved away), and Bend has changed -- a lot, and mostly not for the better IMO. Why not move on?

How about Dunc? Surely as a downtown business man, he wants things to somehow right themselves and continue his 3 decade upturn?

Laying out the odds

Scenario Three.

Things really crash, dropping 50% or even 60%. Storefronts empty and aren't refilled. People leave town. I start playing cribbage on the sidewalk with my neighbors, waiting for customers. Ironically, after the worst has hit, probably no more vulnerable than the above scenario, because concessions would be forthcoming, one would think. And I would just cut to the bone.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


A series of
restaurants went into the space the Toomies is now in. Nothing like the haunted look in waiter's eyes, as they stood, tuxedo ed in the window waiting for customers. My neighbor, Jerry from the Sole Shop, and I used to sit out on the sidewalk and play cribbage for hours.

See the common thread? It's that way with everybody.

No one is happy with Bend, because it is never quite what they want. Hell, I got here in '01, and Bend has already become a horrible perversion of what it was then.

Full of Cali-Bangers. Hot & Cold running Hummers. Sprawling STD's going everywhere. Locals gone wild with greed (Breeze, DuBois, Bauhumper, Kuratek, et al). Prices just out of control. Mindless idiotic developments. Rude fucks. Liberal elitist dicks. Fake titties.

And I'm a fairly conservative, Olde School rePug. But even hard-core flaming liberals, like hbm, are fed up with the place. Why?

Full of Cali-Bangers. Hot & Cold running Hummers. Sprawling STD's going everywhere. Locals gone wild with greed (Breeze, DuBois, Bauhumper, Kuratek, et al). Prices just out of control. Mindless idiotic developments. Rude fucks. Liberal elitist dicks. Fake titties. Well, maybe not the liberal elitist dicks.

And Bend's anti-Christ, Buster... what's his fucking beef?

Full of Cali-Bangers. Hot & Cold running Hummers. Sprawling STD's going everywhere. Locals gone wild with greed (Breeze, DuBois, Bauhumper, Kuratek, et al). Prices just out of control. Mindless idiotic developments. Rude fucks. Liberal elitist dicks. Fake titties.

Right? Right.

That's what I see as Bend's main problem: No one will ever be happy with the place.

Papa Bear Buster: TOO HOT (liberal)

Mama Bear hbm: Too cold (conservative) (and too many Busters)

Brother Bear Dunc: Barely supports one store, and yet it always attracts locusts anyway.

No one ever seems to be happy in Bend. When it's growing, it's growing wayyyyyy too fast, at a pace that cannot last, and is doomed to implode at the end

When it implodes, it drives out everyone, and the whole place is economically gutted.

Dunc is a perfect encapsulization of Bend:
  • Buys first store at True Rock Bottom Price.
  • Does surprisingly well. Thinks it is personal genius, not cresting wave of fad.
  • Expands in short order. 4-5 stores
  • Fad implodes.
  • Stores implode.
  • Hanging by fingernails. For 20 years.
This is the nature of capitalism in the USA. And the nature of Oregon is the nature of the USA squared. And the nature of Bend is the nature of Oregon squared.

When the USA catches cold, Oregon gets the flu, and Bend gets the fucking AIDS.

And I can tell you EXACTLY WHY THIS HAPPENS. This is it. Are you ready, because this IS IT:

We never diversify.

Think of the US economy as a portfolio of business, because that is essentially what it is. All are, to some extent, interdependent. With some, the correlation is low, like aircraft & BBQ sauce. With some, the correlation is high, like furniture and housing.

OK, here's a graph of the fundamental nature of bonds vs stocks:
Risk/Return space for stocks, bonds, and riskless T-bills.

You want low risk & high reward, right? That's the upper left of this graph, and the maximum return per unit of risk lies on that brown line. It assumes there is some "optimal" mix of stocks, bonds, gold, and everything else, that lies right where that brown line touches it. What's that brown line? It's where the Ultimate Uncorrelated Asset (T-bills) intersects the Y-axis.

Strangely, you'll note that if T-bill rates go UP, that modern portfolio theory indicates you should buy more stocks. Imagine grabbing that brown line by it's left side & pushing it up... it "rolls up" that curve towards 100% stocks. Conversely, pulling T-bill yields down indicates more bonds should be bought. This is where we are now, extraordinarily low short yields.

I have to say, I spent a fortune on higher education, and this was about all I got out of it.

But maybe it was enough. Because while this graph illustrates that you can ALWAYS do better by buying a mix of stocks & bonds for maximizing your risk-adjusted return, it illustrates this fundamental truth for many assets classes in a huge variety of situations.

It's why there are Swim & Ski shops in town. Hiking shoes & snowboards.

When one is up, the other might be down, and vice versa.

But, by and large, there is a general ebb & flow to the economy as a whole, and everything either is doing OK, or everything is sort of doing crappy.

But the good thing about diversification, is that IF YOU PROPERLY REBALANCE, you can weather almost any storm.

Cuz think about it: What if you buy, say 70% stocks and 30% bonds. In 1933. Well, by about 1966, your stock portion is wildly overweighted. And on that graph above, you'll be off the optimal investment weighting, which is always that straight line that is resting on the risk/reward curve.

You can see on that curve, that the optimal mix is somewhere around 30% stocks, and 70% bonds. And it gets better when you can mix it with T-bills. The ability to buy T-bills, as well as sell them (buy optimal stock/bond mix on margin) is what constitutes this brown line. The brown line is ALWAYS the best investment. ALWAYS.

Same goes with a Swim/Ski store. What if your "Ski" section starts to overwhelm your "Swim" section? What if there is a Big Upswell in skiing for some reason?

Or closer to home: What if your Breakout Comic Section seems to justify opening a new comic store? And another. And another. And another.

What happens when you're "All Comics" (ie stocks, timber or ski's), and no "Games" (ie bonds, tech, or swimsuits)?

Your portfolio becomes unbalanced.

You become too tied to the whim & weft of One Thing. Too many comics, so when comics crash, you crash harder. Especially if you "averaged in". ie: You "bought" 4 stores at the top, borrowing to do so.

Solely Buying Buffett, while sensical from almost any rational backward looking perspective, NEVER makes sense from this perspective.

Diversify OR DIE.

Now, this doesn't mean Start An Aircraft Parts & BBQ Sauce store.

It means start with comics. Add games. Add used books. Add new books. Add things that "add value" to the other things.

So diversify intelligently. But also realize your Inherent Lack of Diversification. Realize you are in Bend. Realize you are selling a very targeted set of goods. Realize your customer base may have a high correlation to some sector of the economy (ie construction).

How to fix? Internet? I don't know. That space is already saturated. Start an "Awe Shucks" blog, and see where it goes? Maybe.

I guess that's my point: Success BREEDS it's own failure. Comics, Dunc's bread & butter, almost begat his collapse. Timber, once Bend's economic mainstay, very nearly put this place in a 20 year depression.

Then we made the jump to Real Estate. Ahhhhhhhh, yes. Surely Real Estate will be our savior. It never Goes Down!

And so it came to pass that RE, via a series of well-designed, planned & executed strategies using local government & media as puppets, has come to completely dominate this little towns economics.

Once again, Bend is a completely unbalanced business portfolio, ripe for a fall. We have almost nothing else to rely on to soften the blow.

This is why, and maybe you'll remember, I've said ad nauseum, that we should have taken our RE lottery winnings and Put Them Somewhere Else. NOT RE.

We should have charges $60K SDC's, and slowly but surely diversified into a number of POORLY CORRELATED investments: A 4 year college, tech, aerospace, medical, I-97 4 lanes, whatever.

Get us the fuck out of RETAIL, RESTAURANTS & REAL ESTATE. OK, we have MORE THAN ENOUGH OF ALL 3.

We have more than enough "life style" bullshit to last us a lifetime.

But no. We doubled down on REd. Just like a lot of my friends doubled down on tech around March 2000. Borrowed to buy, borrowed as much as they possibly could.

Should have taken their early winnings, and bought something Very Poorly Correlated.

"You mean IHTBYB, they should have bought Losers? Cuz they were winning up to that point, and boring stuff like BRK was going down the drain! Why diversify into a Loser?"

Cuz, as Dunc illustrates, as Bend timber illustrates, as Japan RE illustrates, as dot-com-2000 illustrates: It is the nature of things to undo themselves. It is the nature of booms to bust.

Success begets more investment. More investment begets concentration. Concentration begets lack of balance. Lack of balance always fails.

Far worse than a bad investment, is ALL IN as an investment ethos.

When comics perform well, buy more games (or books, or pogs, or...)

When stocks perform too well... buy bonds, NOT MORE STOCKS.

When RE explodes, get tech, a 4 year college, medical, a 4 lane highway... NOT MORE RE.

But that is, in fact, what we've done. From all timber to all RE.

And it's NOT that RE is itself inherently bad, it's the timing. We went ALL IN so late in the game, we're DOOMED.

"ALL IN" as an investment theme has a 100% FAILURE RATE.

Dunc went ALL IN on comics late in the game. But really, that's the nature of the game. ALL IN AT THE END is almost ubiquitous, whereas ALL IN AT THE START is essentially unheard of.

How many failed comic stores did you say there were Dunc? Something like 80-90% have failed in the past 20 years?

It's not so much a bad Industry, as it was Bad Portfolio Management. ALL IN AT THE END. Again, ALL IN has a 100% FAILURE RATE.

So Dunc went ALL IN AT THE END 20 years ago in comics, just as Bend went ALL IN AT THE END 2 years ago in RE. Expect similar results.

Where are we now? Funny, but we are exactly where all my friends were about 90 days after the NASDAQ bubble topped. They'd mindlessly bought some Swedish telecom something for $220/sh, watched it literally go to $280/sh overnight, but then mysteriously fall to a harrowing $125/sh.

They were shaken, but Very Hopeful. Very HOPEFUL. VERY, VERY HOPEFUL.

"It's going to bounce back. I know it. It'll be back at $300/sh before you know it."

And this keeps up, as it seesaws its way to $2/sh, where it flatlines for a decade.

That's where we are. Very hopefully sitting on something at $125/sh that we averaged in at $220/sh. It'll NEVER get there again, but we don't know that. We're HOPEFUL.

So it is too late to change things. RE runs the show via City Council & COBA, COAR, and God knows what other acronyms. It's not like we can call a stock broker & bailout. It took us years (decades) to get here, it'll take decades to get out.

So what should we do, once this thing has played out, and The Hope Is Gone (15-20 years) sufficiently that people in unison shriek "NEVER AGAIN!"?

Easy, diversify. Start building a Real Economy With Real People And Real Businesses. Does it mean BEM's "5 Things Bendites Should Do Now"?

Yes, that's a start. But it should be diversification within some rational bounds.

Realize that untrammeled growth into natural areas is shooting the Golden Goose. I don't see eye to eye with hbm on a variety of topics, but even I understand that mindless growth into places like the Metolius is pathological.

Realize that people come here to LEAVE THE URBANE. They are trying to ESCAPE. Making this place more like your favorite Frisco hood is just idiotic.

I guess there should be some rational guidelines, and hope that minds greater than mine can figure out what that means, and implement it. I can only say it IS NOT BEING DONE NOW.

But the primary objective should be to DIVERSIFY our economy to the extent that is achievable. Not only is this NOT BEING DONE NOW, all measure of force, time, money and effort is going into EXACTLY THE OPPOSITE.

Our local government is 100% made up of RE stool pigeons. Bought & paid for for 5 cents on the dollar. Doing all in their power to keep the gears of RE grinding along. Wiping out SDC's, building "affordable housing" and God knows what else.

This is why I said there is "nothing to be done" to save Bend. It is owned. And it'll be owned until the local RE interests are 100% wiped out. And that'll take decades.

Then, AND ONLY THEN, will Bend be ready for a rebirth. people will have had it with RE, even RE, and they will start to rebuild. When they do, unlike after the timber bust, they should NOT let one industry come to completely dominate this town. If they do, it'll simply happen again.

Diversify. It's the only free ride out there. And it is the key to Bend's future.

Geez! 9:00AM! Geez, this time change stuff is death. Time to look for the boobies....
I diversified into both jugs!

285 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   1 – 200 of 285   Newer›   Newest»
hbm said...

Let's stop beating up on Dunc. I think I offended him yesterday by saying I'd find it "stifling" to spend 30 years working in the same shop in the same small town. That wasn't meant to be judgmental and I'm sorry if it came across that way. I was just saying that kind of life wouldn't have worked for me. But I have no right to tell Dunc or anybody else how to live his/her life. In some ways I can even ENVY somebody who can do what Dunc did.

BTW those titties are really beach balls.

Anonymous said...

THE REAL LEADER OF THE PUG PARTY IS A 14YR OLD CHILD, WITH A SPECIAL PLACE UP HIS FOR RUSH-LIMBAUGH

From William F. Buckley to Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, Savage and this 14-year-old kid:

SITTING in the back seat of his mother’s van as she drives through Atlanta suburbs, Jonathan Krohn is about to sign off with a conservative radio talk show host in Florida. In the 40 minutes he’s been on the air, with the help of his mother’s cellphone, this hyper-articulate Georgia eighth grader has attacked the stimulus bill, identified leaders he thinks will salvage the Republican Party’s image, and assessed the legitimacy of Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

The show’s host chuckles and asks whether President Obama has called Jonathan “a little fascist.”

“The president hasn’t come after me yet,” Jonathan says chummily, “but we’ve had other people come after me!”

“Jonathan!” his mother hisses from the driver’s seat.

The interview concluded, Jonathan wistfully handed his mother her cellphone. His parents still won’t let him have one, even though he turned 14 last Sunday, right after he became an instant news media darling and the conservative movement’s underage graybeard at last weekend’s Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington.

The annual convention brings in the movement’s grand old lions, like Rush Limbaugh, as well as cubs to rally 8,500 of the faithful, who were shaken by the election of Barack Obama. Jonathan, a slight, home-schooled only child whose teeth are in braces, is so passionate about his beliefs that he spent his summer writing “Define Conservatism,” an 86-page book outlining what he says are its core values. In January, he contacted CPAC organizers, asking to speak there.

With some skepticism, they gave him a spot on a Friday panel of grassroots activists. But Jonathan, an experienced child actor, rocked the house with a three-minute speech, which was remarkable not so much for what he said, but his electrifying delivery. The speech was part pep talk, part book promotion. By Saturday morning, an archdeacon of the movement was saying, “I’m Bill Bennett: I used to work for Ronald Reagan and now I’m a colleague of Jonathan Krohn’s!”

As video of the speech coursed through the Internet, radio talk show hosts and television reporters at the conference sought him eagerly.

In less than a week, Jonathan appeared on “Fox and Friends” and CNN, and broadcast network anchors requested interviews. He has lost count of the number of radio shows he has spoken on. Though his family has received hate mail, accusing them of brainwashing their son, a Jonathan Krohn fan club has sprung up on Facebook. High honors: Jon Stewart has already poked fun at him.

And the invitations have only snowballed since the family returned to their modest house in a subdivision here.

Why just that morning, his mother, Marla Krohn, marveled, a staff member for a potential candidate for Georgia governor asked for a meeting with Jonathan. In her gentle drawl, Mrs. Krohn said cautiously, “I’m not sure I’m a supporter of his.”

“Neither am I,” Jonathan piped in.

“But I’m a voter,” Mrs. Krohn reminded him firmly.

Jonathan retorted, “Now that I’m a political pundit, I have the ability to influence people. I have to think about it!”

But first, his mother reminded him, he had some homework to finish.

He’s an unusual kid with an unusual background. Jonathan’s parents, Doug, a computer systems integrator, and Marla, a sales representative and former actress who teaches drama and speech to middle-school students, have been home-schooling their bright, curious son since the sixth grade. On Fridays, Jonathan joins 10 middle-school students at the Classical School in Woodstock, where classes are taught from a Christian perspective, for five hours of study, including Latin. They have two 10-minute recesses for tag, said Jonathan’s teacher, Stephen P. Gilchrist. Lunch is eaten at their desks while they work.

“Other children his age are not quite sure how to take him,” Mr. Gilchrist said. “Jonathan is so intense, so verbal and a strong personality. But as they get to know him, they respect him for what he is. And he is tons of fun.”

Jonathan’s father oversees his math; he studies Arabic with a tutor.

“Before I got into politics,” Jonathan said as he sat with his parents in the study of their home, “I wanted to be a missionary to people in the Middle East. I thought it would be better to speak with them in their own language.” The family are active members of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church in Norcross, Ga.

That was several careers ago. But he is sticking with Arabic, because, “it’s important to talk with our allies in their language.”

Although the Krohns are conservative, they say Jonathan’s passion for politics is largely his. “Politics bore me,” his mother said flatly. “I’ve learned a lot from Jonathan about the candidates I’ve voted for.” Doug Krohn said he listened to talk radio, but with his Iowa-born soft-sell manner, he’s hardly the pontificating firebrand his son is.

Jonathan said he became a political enthusiast at 8, after hearing about a Democratic filibuster on judicial nominations. “I thought, ‘Who goes to work saying, ‘I’m going to filibuster today?’ ” he said.

Mr. Krohn, looking bleary-eyed by recent events, muttered, “And now he can filibuster with the best of them.”

Jonathan would wake up at 6 a.m. to listen to Bill Bennett’s “Morning in America” show and became riveted by politics and American history. Soon, Mr. Bennett, whom Jonathan now describes as, “my mentor and very good friend,” was taking Jonathan’s calls.

“Jonathan was an extraordinary boy, very special,” Mr. Bennett said, in a phone interview. “He wowed my audience, he wowed me. He’s very engaging and learned. He’s got staying power.” -- NY Times today

Has it struck anybody else that the Republican Party has turned into a freak show ... or anyway, a vaudeville act?

But it makes sense that a 14-year-old is a rising right-wing star; right-wing doctrines can't be taken seriously by any intelligent human being with much more than a 14-year-old's experience of the world.

I was a Buckley-style conservative myself until I graduated from college. Then I quickly found out that the real world simply did not correspond to conservatives' ideas about it. I concluded that Buckley had to be either (a) uninformed or (b) lying. Since Buckley obviously was not uninformed, I went with "b."

...

Buckley was hilarious, what else matters?

In the beginning, say in the early 1980's Limbaugh was hilarious.

The 14yr old is scary.

Today we have joe-the-plumber, john-14-bible-thumper, and mcPalin,... Take your pic, or buy them all with one purchase of limbaugh.

March 8, 2009 8:37 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Other children his age are not quite sure how to take him,” Mr. Gilchrist said. “Jonathan is so intense, so verbal and a strong personality. But as they get to know him, they respect him for what he is. And he is tons of fun.”

[ Isn't this what they would call a BULLY now-a-days?? ]


Jonathan’s father oversees his math; he studies Arabic with a tutor.

“Before I got into politics,” Jonathan said as he sat with his parents in the study of their home, “I wanted to be a missionary to people in the Middle East. I thought it would be better to speak with them in their own language.” The family are active members of Peachtree Corners Baptist Church in Norcross, Ga.

[ Great I know tons of these jeebus-freaks that go to the middle-east and try to shove baby-jeebus up the ass of MUSLIMS, ... perhaps lil Jonathon can get a job with the CIA if he goes to college, they need 'believers' who know arabic. If lil john traveled much in the Muslim world he would quickly learn that they have an express ticket for those who want to go to heaven. ]

My favorite part was lil-john saying that he was learning Arabic to work with our 'partners', he must have already made some connections with US oil.

Behind every successful adult there was a 'child prodigy', but either than making frequent call-in's to talk radio, I'm not sure what makes this child into a prodigy? You used to have to do something like solve in-solvable math problems at 10, or write a Bach concerto at 12, now if you just call Limbaugh and talk shit at 14, your a child prodigy.

The age of the buffoon is begun.

I can see it now vast hoards of ameriKKKans parking infants in front of talk-radio, all the well knowing that they're creating a little gravy-train for the future.

...

This is really Michael-Jackson, I mean Rush is going to surround himself with children, who only know Right-Wing Think, and he'll have sleep over's, I wonder what he'll call his homestead, can't use Neverland, how about CryptoNaziVille??

Hitler, & Goebbels are well documented to like little boyz also, they recruited children as young as possible. Call in today and report your parents. Then when then parents go off to jail, the State (Limbaugh) gets to 'supervise' the child.

Life is good in CNV.

hbm said...

RepubliCAN'TS latest bright idea for fixing the Depression: A federal spending freeze.

Brilliant. Take money out of circulation and make more people unemployed. EXACTLY what you want to do in times like these.

RepubliCAN'TS: Stuck on Stupid Since 1980.

Anonymous said...

yes, lets stop beating dunc's dick, let's finger bang bp? or sodomize hbm,... sorry hbm bb2 mean bendbash2

ned flanders is a tough dude, and besides and he brings it all on my the stupid shit he posts, ... he wants and loves the attention

Anonymous said...

Yes, Yes HBM, the PUG's suck dick,

But two years ago I was bashing BUSH, and everybody said 'quit bashing bush', and my reply was, "BUSH is PREZ", he's fair game, and I reminded all when we had a DEM pluto-crat in power, I would bash him,...

It's easy to pick on the loser out of power, but let's not forget that its the OREO that has his fingers today on our ball's, and that LIMBAUGH is a big zero, and that the PUG's have been neutered.

Keep your eye on the OREO folks.

Anonymous said...

Locals gone wild with greed (Breeze, DuBois, Bauhumper, Kuratek, et al).

*

Kuratek didn't actually move here until 2004.

He was running his Bayview down in San Mateo, and had a second home in Sunriver.

Bayview was a 100 yr old horse-racing track that KURATEK tried to steal from SanMateo, and turn into 'condos'.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

RV makers' implosion leaves Coburg quiet
by Amy Hsuan, The Oregonian
Saturday March 07, 2009, 7:00 PM

Little towns on I-5 doubled down on RV's, and are biting the big one:

COBURG -- In prosperous times, the shiny new motor coaches parked along Interstate 5 were a beacon of hope for those in search of the open road, and for those just looking for a decent living in small-town America.

Monaco, Marathon and Country Coach produced some of the nation's nicest homes on wheels, and they lured young couples, baby boomers and wanderers alike looking for luxury at 60 miles per hour.

Tiny towns such as Coburg, Junction City and Harrisburg blossomed by becoming the recreational vehicle capital of the West. Their factories fed families, their donations kept children in school, and their tax dollars promised modern comforts, such as Coburg's first sewer line.

But today, the RVs parked along Lane County's dealer lots and country roads are a reminder of the economic storm howling through the Willamette Valley. Americans too scared to spend and banks too frightened to lend could doom Oregon's RV industry -- and the slice of Americana that it supports in this thumbprint of Oregon farmland.

Monaco Coach's layoff of 2,000 workers last week further damaged Lane County, already faced with one of the state's highest seasonally adjusted unemployment rates, at 10.8 percent. Since August 2008, the county has lost 10,000 jobs. Add workers who've been furloughed and the number of people out of work rises to 25,000 in a county of 345,000.

Over the past half-century, economic cyclones have cut a well-worn path through this swath of Oregon, its people grown accustomed to seeing industries and employers come and go.

"We tend to fall harder and stay down longer," says Leah Claypool, 37, who grew up in Coburg, population 1,075, and moved back to raise her children here. "You just get used to it at some point."

Layoffs sweep the landscape of farmland and rolling hills, echoing hard times not distant enough in memory. Mills and wood products factories stand idle, with timber jobs felled by the housing crisis. Warehouses and workshops for making semiconductors, vestiges of a more recent economic boom, remain shuttered after high-tech manufacturers also closed up for good.

This recession is different from those in the past, local officials say. There are no emerging industries on the horizon to promise steady wages, even with state and federal dollars ready to retrain workers.

"It's hard to pick industries that are growing right now," says Mike McKenzie-Bahr, Lane County community and economic development coordinator. "We're just looking for the next half decade. We can't look farther than that.

"Five years ago, the RV guys were saying 'We're growing.'"
Road to Coburg quiet

Today, the road is quiet leading into Coburg, once jammed with commuters from Eugene and surrounding areas clocking in at Monaco Coach when it was the nation's largest builder of big diesel motorcoaches. In December, the company furloughed 2,000 workers. They were terminated last week, just days before a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

Twelve miles away in Junction City, a handful of cars sit in the sprawling parking lot of Country Coach, another one-time anchor of the local economy. Country Coach furloughed nearly 500 workers in December and has yet to call them back. Along the main drag in a town of nearly 5,000 residents, empty buildings display "For Lease" signs.

It's a scene eerily similar to the one Bob Lee found 41 years ago, when he and three friends drove up from California in search of a place to build campers. They pulled off the freeway at Springfield and ended up in Junction City, where they found enough big warehouses abandoned by the timber industry to entice them to stay.

"The lumber yards were all gone and there were a lot of empty buildings," says Lee, an Oregon native. "We were a bunch of young guys looking to get into a big property."

They found one in an abandoned Lumber Land. In 1968, they opened Caribou Manufacturing and gave birth to a local RV industry that grew into the state's three big manufacturers.

In 1971, Caribou changed its name to Monaco, which eventually moved to Coburg and became one of Lane County's largest employers. In 1973, to focus on high-end motorcoaches, Lee started Country Coach, which spun off into Marathon about five years later. Marathon, which converts buses into luxury touring coaches, still fills custom orders in its Coburg headquarters.

The companies cornered a special niche in the RV world, making the most luxurious motorcoaches money can buy, costing from $100,000 to $1 million.
Painful farewell

Swift and steep, the industry's fall leaves tens of thousands of creditors in line for hundreds of millions of dollars -- and one tight-knit community spread out over several towns hanging in the balance.

For the residents of Coburg, Junction City and Harrisburg, it's a painful farewell to good neighbors who never asked for much but always gave more than expected: Monaco's countless donations to save tiny Coburg Community School, chronically threatened with closure. Country Coach's gifts that filled local food pantries, needed now more than ever. The workers from across the region, whose paychecks kept small business districts alive.

There are no answers, little relief and a lot of resilience. In the shadow of empty factories, small businesses keep opening their doors, for now. Coburg residents keep fighting for their school. Even without Monaco's dollars, they'll forge ahead with building a sewer system that could attract businesses in the future.

They thank their lucky stars they rode the wave as long as they did. And hope that the motorcoaches might come roaring back to life.

They pray.

"We're facing a lot right now," says Joane Butler, principal at Coburg's school. "This is going to make this community pull in that much tighter."

hbm said...

"yes, lets stop beating dunc's dick, let's finger bang bp? or sodomize hbm,... sorry hbm bb2 mean bendbash2"

=======

Fuck you and all you Republicans!@!

Fuck all of you, including dunc, you single store loser stuck in a rut you will never leave in a boring shithole town.

Anonymous said...

graph of the fundamental nature of bonds vs stocks:

###

Stock's & Bond's are only as good as the company's. ... yes, ... school lets see there are the schools, ..

1.) Buy & Hold - Buffet, do as I say, not as a I do.

2.) Follow the Fed: If the Fed lowers rate buy stock, of the fed raises rate sell stock.

Those have been the two major schools, since the 1970's.

Today we're in a different scenario, where almost ALL USA corporations ( GE, GM, ... ) are insolvent, that all their assets are toxic shit, that they're in DEBT.

The STOCK & BONDS of these companys is ZILCH.

Even Soros, or Rogers, or even Faber aren't sure what is a safe currency, some that Iceland was safe, ...

I agree with HOMER, that there will be some kind of UP-TICK in the market, but it will be a trap, the underlying problems are far from fixed, we'll have to wait until we see GE diversify from all the toxic shit.

Like I said last week, GE makes nuke-power plants, they make nuke-bombs, they make missiles, they make gattling-guns for for F16's, GE is the MIL-INDUST-COMPLEX, and the OWN NBC and all xNBC affiliates.

The US empire cannot allow GE to go down the drain.

Bailouts for GE? I think so, will OREO buy their toxic shit? Why not? Given that the 'talking heads' of xNBC are all pimping for NO 'people-bailouts' but silent on CORP-USA bailouts, this has to be the agenda.

Homer, missed another point, what is HOT today?? Chasing dead people for collections! HOT

Doing foreclosure FOR RE @banks, helping banks offload STD's and NOD's to 'investors', is HOT!!!!

Let's focus on what's HOT, and what NOT-HOT!!

Homer seems to focus on repeat, and the stock market, and BEND fucking itself.

Yes, homer is right, it took HOLLERN 20+ years to create the modern BEND machine, and its NOT going away even in ten years.

Most the fuck-heads who moved here post 1998, MUST LEAVE, they have to leave, for no other reason than their 401k is 'bend-gone', and there are NO fucking jobs here, for nobody.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I tried to write about Coburg two weeks ago, and nobody cared.

Well homer Bend ain't no Coburg, we never had the fucking 'AAA' retirement hearse on wheels to begin with, given we're NOT close to I-5.

My point with MONACO, is that everyday, you'll see LEGACY names, just over-night FAIL and go to zero, these are the times, and NO stock or bond is safe.

All these zombie companys were kept alive by debt, and overbuilt during the BUSH easy-money BOOM, and NOW they have a cash-flow squeeze.

It's all going DOWN, ...

The best we can HOPE for is the return to the ma&pa downtown Bend hardware store.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Vegas is another place that is just so overly-concentrated, that it's starting to disintegrate.

I think we'll see a wave of Big Vegas bankruptcies. Soon.

Anonymous said...

They thank their lucky stars they rode the wave as long as they did. And hope that the motorcoaches might come roaring back to life.

*

DEJA-VU like HOMER said this AM, yeh they pray that GIANT $1M hearses will come back, just like they PRAY that QUALCOMM or NOKIA will go to $1000.

Re-INVENT your self people, and QUICK.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

My point with MONACO, is that everyday, you'll see LEGACY names, just over-night FAIL and go to zero, these are the times, and NO stock or bond is safe.

Broke my own rule & bought these pieces of fucking crap. Paying the price. DOWN 90% is just a waystation, NOT A BARGAIN, when something is going to $0.

Every single motherfucking time I think I am outsmarting the crowd, I get my ass stomped into the dust.

When I GIVE UP, and diversify & forget it... that's when I do best... at least in stocks & bonds.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

I guess I am just lucky that my income is (for now) far outweighing any investments I have in stocks/bonds.

I can't imagine what a lot of these 1 company 401K types are doing with a lifetime of work sitting at pennies per share. Even MossCo: Down 97%.

DIVERSIFY OR DIE.

Anonymous said...

HOMER,

I have to comment since you brought up the concept of 'flat backing renter',

Yeh, I have known lots of land-lords that do that shit, but you MUST realize I'll NOT pay for pussy, and that is LOST rent, once you accept 'said pussy' the rent stops.

Besides a renter is just a biz, and a 'smart boss' doesn't FUCK his employees, for the same reason, once you fuck them, they don't work.

All this is in the book "What ever happened to the woolly mammoth", written by a CPA in the 1960's,

In times like today FOLKS, you invest in yourself, and start your own business.

Anonymous said...

Broke my own rule & bought these pieces of fucking crap. Paying the price. DOWN 90% is just a waystation, NOT A BARGAIN, when something is going to $0.

*

But I'm NOT even talking buying down 90%, I'm talking COMPLETE fucking surprise.

Watch the market everyday, and there is something going down 50%, that was still high, NOTHING is SACRED now nothing,

Blockbuster, Monaco, ... hell even SMITH-FROZEN foods could implode any day, ...

Yes, statistically catching a falling knife is NEVER good, no matter how smart you think you are.

BUT today, ALL CORP-USA is a den-of-PONZI made-offs, everybody @monaco was drinking the kool-aide, and thinking that folks would be back tomorrow and BUY $1M hearses with 800HP diesel engines. ...

ALL stock&bond today in the USA is toilet-paper, the END??

We all know its a fucking depression, and its going down and flat, 'L shaped' recovery.

Today every fucking STOCK&BOND is a 'black-swan' ready to implode.

Everyday a new 'made-off' will announce that their FUND-of-FUNDS is a ponzi.

Such is the times.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Retail slowly disintegrating...

Portland-area retailers paring hours, prices, people to survive
Posted by Laura Gunderson, The Oregonian March 07, 2009 19:00PM
Brent Wojahn/The Oregonian

John Whisler laid off about one-fourth of his Kitchen Kaboodle staff, eliminated nearly all benefits and moved distribution into a smaller, cheaper warehouse.

On Thursday, he made an even more drastic move.

Whisler, a co-owner, dropped three days from his Portland-based chain's seven-day schedule, electing to open only Thursday through Sunday. Whisler also abandoned a longtime business model of selling top-shelf goods, priced somewhat accordingly, to a lineup featuring the same home and kitchen must-haves at permanently discounted prices.

The retailer isn't alone in the risky about-face, as companies ranging from coffeehouses to international mall chains roll out major changes to save money -- or more accurately, stay alive -- in a recession that's devastating businesses almost daily.

"The risk is just doing something different, especially in retail where over the last two or three decades the trend always has been adding more days, more hours," said Whisler, admitting that each time someone yanked on the locked door early last week, his first reaction was to drop everything and run to the storefront.

"By doing something that looks to be in the opposite direction, it's unsettling to people," he said.

Yet it's a risk -- formulated just two weeks ago -- that the retailer is willing to take, even as he knows loyal customers have been lost for much less.

Take Wilsonville-based retailer Joe's Sports & Outdoor. A California private equity firm bought G.I. Joe's in 2007 and slightly shifted its inventory and name.

Though industry watchers call it a minor tweak, dropping "G.I." from the name incensed many longtime customers and drastically altered their perceptions about the company's lineup and prices. After Joe's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection this past week, customers blasted the local icon.

"I used to shop G.I. Joe's but have not stepped foot into Joe's," one reader wrote on OregonLive.com.

And another: "Everyone can blame bad economy, but bad economy is bad news for bad merchandise decisions and bad strategy."

Similar blow back came two years ago when Portland pioneer Meier & Frank became Macy's.

"Perception is extraordinarily important," said Tom Gillpatrick, a retail marketing professor at Portland State University and executive director of the Food Industry Leadership Center.

"It's a relationship between a customer and a store," he said. "To some extent, it's like having a good friend and something comes up about her personality. You have to relook at that relationship."

Ultimately, he said, such re-evaluation can be a good thing, especially in Kitchen Kaboodle's decision to offer the same goods at lower prices.

"In this economy, especially," Gillpatrick said, "that's good for most folks if they believe it and if, in fact, it's delivered."
Changing the recipe

Barbara Dawson, owner of In Good Taste, a chain of two cooking schools with attached retail stores in Lake Oswego and the Pearl District, made a similar switch to her schedule after surveying customers.

On Tuesday, Dawson announced that her Lake Oswego store -- once open twice a week for five hours -- would open by appointment-only and during classes. She also shaved two hours off five of the seven days at the Pearl District store.

"The other day, we had one person in the first couple hours -- we just decided that this was one way we could save money without impacting customers directly," she said.

The decision was tough, she said, a juggle of customers' convenience, employees' need for hours and increasing food costs.

"Really, the economy was forcing us to make a decision," said Dawson, who managed to hold on to all her employees.

Aiming to help its retailers, Australia-based Westfield Group announced recently it would cut hours at most of its malls, including its Vancouver location. The company said the switch reflected changing consumer demand and traffic. Other mall operators -- including Macerich Co., which owns Washington Square in Tigard and Valley River Center in Eugene -- have said they are researching similar moves.

Facing both a weak economy and the usual seasonal slump in Newport, Saffron Salmon restaurant owner Michael Waliser started offering Tuesday night community tables -- i.e., the chef makes the call on what's served. Though Waliser said he'll take requests and sometimes must buy extra ingredients, the plan has helped him use up his fresh offerings near the end of the week to reduce waste.

Waliser also began offering lower-priced, a la carte lunch items on the dinner menu, a practice he said probably won't continue through the bustling summer months.
The "New Normal"

At Kitchen Kaboodle, the change is permanent -- as Whisler said he was sick of simply reacting to the economy by tossing out sale after sale.

"We were looking to respond to what we call the 'New Normal,'" he said. "I was getting really frustrated with people talking about, 'When things get back to normal.' A lot of businesses won't be around if they think things will get back to normal sometime soon."

Whisler said his fears have subsided as he gets used to giving customers what he says is a more positive message. He'll also have more knowledgeable people delivering that message at his five stores as office staff, including himself and buyers, now serve customers.

As business owners take stock, some zero in on more concrete changes -- as in square footage.

Cellar Door Coffee Roasting owner Jeremy Adams figured he could get more out of the Southeast 11th Avenue building, which his shop needs only through the afternoon. The idea melded perfectly with that of his chef brother, Aaron Adams, who wanted to open a vegan restaurant but was too nervous to go it alone in this economy.

A couple of months ago, Aaron Adams opened Portobello Vegan Trattoria, which operates four days a week, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Brother Jeremy takes over again in the morning, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekends.

Ultimately, he said, it's good for marketing. Diners who don't know about Cellar Door discover it, and the morning crowd hears about the great meals served at their hangout after-hours.

"It's all about, 'OK, let's rethink this: How can we work with other people and help everybody get through this?'" said Jeremy Adams, who runs the coffee shop while his partner, Andrea Pastor, roasts beans.

"We were motivated by the fact that you can see and feel in your numbers that business is down," he said. "People are paring back, so you have to be a little more creative in trying to scrape more rent money together."

Anonymous said...

I think we'll see a wave of Big Vegas bankruptcies. Soon.

*

Well construction has already stopped.

But there are SO MANY people, and the infrastructure is already there to provide free food for those who gamble&drink,...

I hate to be a contrarian, but ... On the other hand we're hearing story's about dance-girls lap-dancing now in child friendly casino's, the bad old vegas is coming back, ...

Even in BAD times folks want pussy and a cheap drunk, and little free buffet food, ... If vegas can support CHEAP flights, and return the days of weekend packages of $99 for flight&hotel, ...

I hate VEGAS, but I sometimes have to drive through there, like on turkey-day, the traffic backs up from LA all the way to VEGAS, all 200+ miles, ... why? $3 turkey dinners in the casinos, and people spend unlimited hours in desert traffic jams, ...

I'm bullish on VEGAS, I think they'll just re-invent themselves, more bawdy casinos, like they used to have on main-street, pre-strip days.

Anonymous said...

DIVERSIFY OR DIE.

*

But today 'diversify' means to hold your cash in a foreign currency, perhaps own some 'cheap' RE in the next boom, I still say that NewOrleans is still historically cheap, some smart MOFU must be running a good REIT down there, ...

Diversification may mean mean gold, but to me bullets&guns may be more liquid, I mean how fucking liquid is $4k chunk of gold? Make change? Thanks, but I would prefer to trade a box of 30-06 black-tip armor-piercing ammo for a tank of fuel. Well this come? Probably not, but its just insurance, ammo, canned food, ...

Diversification? Foreign Currency, but even Rogers now say's "WHERE", everybody is now following the US trend of endless printing and dilution. Your safe haven today, could be Iceland tomorrow.

Stock&Bonds? Sure solid South-American companys 'might' have a non-ponzi, but you would have to live & work their to 'really' know.

There are always good investments, even in bad times, hell start up a franchise that sells collection service training to dead people, ... or here in BEND offer services for anything having to do with NOD's & Foreclosure, ... like I have said since day-one here, my Real-Estate buddy's who made the most money in their life, all made it 1982-1986 doing 'foreclosure' deals with the banks, its counter-intuitive that the BEST money on the cycle can usually be made during the 'bust'.

THINK folks THINK.

'Diversification' is homer's favorite word, but then when you PIN the PUG down to the MAT he squak's 'bonds & stock', the last fucking place you want to be in a 'L shaped' depression.

Remember that during the GREAT-DEPRESSION 25% were FUCKED, but that means that 70% were just fucking fine.

rotorman said...

Pelosi, Reed, Obama, Timmy Geithner (aka tax cheat.) Now there is a group that inspires confidence. If I were getting ready to fall off a cliff, this is the group who's rope I would grab. This rope, anchored, by Carville, Begala, et al, although somewhat worn, is what is out there to save society as we know it. Massive new projects having nothing to do with stimulating the economy in the short term are clearly what we need now. Good for the country and good for Bend. Thank the Lord God Almighty we have individuals with such huge talent who are willing to go unselifishly into PUBLIC SERVICE. These are our saviors from that idiotic President Bush who single handedly got us into this mess. Thank the Lord God Almighty that Barny Frank (aka butt fucker of a Fanny ex) and Chris Dodd (aka friend of Angelo) were there to keep him in check. Just think of the destruction that would have rained down up us if those two PUBLIC SERVANTS had not been watching over things.
In every period of crisis, somehow the right people emerge to set things staight. This crisis is no exception. These PUBLIC SEVANTS, the ones riding the jets and voting themselves raises, will save our country. God bless all of the above mentioned PUBLIC SERVANTS and God bless America.

Anonymous said...

Never waste a good economic revolution. - Rahmbo

No fucking fear, this 'New Deal' will fucking be and already is the 'robbery' of all history.

Just like I said above, its counter-intuititive folks, but the real money is made during the bust.

With Geithner shoveling out $$$ USD @ $100B/day, and all this money going to 'TEAM NY BANKERS', you just know that these boyz will be bottom-feeding on good-shit for penny's on the dollar.

When this bust is over in ten+ years, the 'trillionaire' will be a common TV icon, and people will be calling them 'smart', but the truth is/was they were simply friends of Geithner.

Anonymous said...

Like today, lets see ...

Sell toxic shit to government. CHECK!

Given unlimited cash to 'bankers' to buy non-toxic shit for cheap! CHECK!

Did I miss anything?

It's how the status-quo ( riche ) stay riche, and the poor stay poor.

HBM's plutocrats, my Kleptocracy ( government by criminals ), nothing NEW under the SUN.

Then the OREO "TEAM DIVERSION".

KEEP your thoughs and dicks pointed towards the OREO, pay NO attention to the FED-RES or bankers looting the USD.

LavaBear said...

>>>Remember that during the GREAT-DEPRESSION 25% were FUCKED, but that means that 70% were just fucking fine.


And that's what I love about this blog. Nothing ever adds up to 100. FACT.

Duncan McGeary said...

I think Kitchen Kaboodle is a big PBS supporter.

That's just 'ego' spending, as far as I can see.

And never let them see you retreat. Cutting hours and services in a noticeable way is dangerous.

When I closed the Redmond and Sisters store, I doubled the size of the Bend store at the same time.

See, I'm doubling in size. (Pay no attention to the other stores....)

Drastic moves just means you overreached.

hbm said...

I think Kitchen Kaboodle is a big PBS supporter. That's just 'ego' spending, as far as I can see.

I'm not sure. OPB/PBS reach a lot of people who don't watch/listen to anything else. And they tend to be pretty upmarket.

And never let them see you retreat. Cutting hours and services in a noticeable way is dangerous.

I don't know shit about retail, Dunc, but ... what else are you supposed to do when you're losing money three or four days out of the seven? You can't afford to keep employees standing around with their thumbs up their butts indefinitely. Didn't you yourself recently lay off your only employee?

If you have no payroll it might make sense to keep the store open every day on the off-chance that somebody might walk in and buy something. But Kitchen Kaboodle has a big payroll to cover. (I always thought, in fact, that they were a little over-staffed the times I went in there.)

Duncan McGeary said...

As I said, "in a noticeable way". You can accomplish a lot by small changes here and there. Cutting an hour out of the day. Cutting staff. Working more hours yourself.

Not really noticeable to the customer.

Bewert said...

Some Obama pushback on the Zionist lobby, with his pick to lead the NIC:


Charles W. "Chas" Freeman


Current Position: Head of the National Intelligence Council (since February 2009)

Why He Matters

No one can argue that Freeman isn't credentialed on national security issues. He has worked with more than 100 foreign governments during his 30-year diplomatic career. He can speak Chinese, French, Spanish, Taiwanese, Portuguese, Italian, and is working on his Arabic.

But Freeman’s expansive experience isn’t enough to protect him from criticism over his latest job offer. The Obama administration’s selection of Freeman as head of the National Intelligence Council (NIC), a job which does not require Senate confirmation, sparked a firestorm of criticism by observers who call him an Israel-hater, a China appeaser and a Saudi Arabia sympathizer.

He has been critical of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, arguing America is too pro-Israel to take on a mediation role. He has also been attacked because his think tank accepted a "generous" donation from Saudi Arabia - some argue that he is too sympathetic to the country's priorities. And in a private internet chat, he wrote that China didn't act quickly enough to stop the Tianeman protestors.

The reason for the the controversy is that Freeman tends to speak his mind, and his opinions are divergent from the U.S. line. But, according to journalist David Rothkopf, that’s what makes him a strong pick for the NIC job. The former Treasury department official and writer for Foreign Policy wrote that while he disagrees with Freeman on most issues, a top intelligence officer must have “strong intellect, knowledge of the entire world, real creativity, and the willingness to rigorously question assumptions and speak truth to power. That describes Chas Freeman to a T.”(1)

Path to Power

Freeman was born in Rhode Island but grew up in the Bahamas, where his father was a businessman. He began studying languages early with his mother, who required her children to speak a foreign tongue at the dinner table a couple of nights a week. Sims attended a school where “one of my teachers was an avowed communist, a World War II Royal Air Force flying ace taught me Greek and Latin, and another of my teachers was arrested as a Nazi war criminal while I was present in his classroom,” he recalled in a 1991 interview.(2)

Freeman moved back to the U.S. when he was 13. He tested into the 12th grade of an American high school, but chose to stay with students his own age. He graduated from Yale University and Harvard Law School, and also spent a year at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.(3)

Freeman entered the Foreign Service in 1965, where he was considered one of the “whiz kids” of the State Department. He served in India and Taiwan before being moved to China, where he worked as President Richard Nixon’s interpreter and became America’s principal translator in that country. Freeman directed the State Department’s Chinese Affairs efforts from 1979 to 1981 before moving to Beijing, where he served as deputy chief of mission and chargé d'affaires at the American embassy. He accepted the same position in Bangkok in 1984.(4)

He was named deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs under Chet Crocker in 1986, a position he held until 1989. He served as ambassador to Saudi Arabia under the first President Bush during Operation Desert Storm.

Freeman was named assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs from 1993 to 1994. In that job, he helped design a NATO-centered European security system and re-established U.S. military relations with China. In 1994, he accepted a year-long fellowship at the United States Institute of Peace. In 1995, Freeman became chairman of the board of Projects International, a D.C. based firm that specializes in developing international business deals and acquisitions.

Middle East Policy Council

Freeman was named president of the Middle East Policy Council in 1997. In an interview, Freeman described the organization’s mission as “devoted to making the case to Americans that U.S. interests dictate a strong and positive relationship with the Arab world and with Islam generally.”(5) During his tenure as president, his organization published “The Israel Lobby,” a controversial report that suggested pro-Israel lobbyists have hijacked Washington’s Middle East foreign policy debate and “divert[ed] U.S. foreign policy as far from what the American national interest would otherwise suggest.”(6)

In February 2009, Freeman was chosen to head the National Intelligence Council, a U.S. intelligence think tank that reports to the Director of National Intelligence and prepares the president’s daily intelligence briefings.(7) The appointment has been hotly contested since word leaked out in February 2009. “It would be inappropriate to appoint an official of AIPAC to run the National Intelligence Council,” writes blogger Jeffrey Goldberg. “It seems inappropriate to give the job to a Saudi sympathizer as well.”(8) Nine members of the House of Representatives, including Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) have called on the Inspector General to investigate Freeman’s ties to Saudi Arabia.(9) Their concerns stem from a “generous” donation Freeman’s think tank received from the country.(10) According to blogger Greg Sargent, Sen. Charles E. Schumer has privately expressed concerns about the appointment to Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

But Freeman has his defenders too. “I would trust that Mr. Freeman would exhibit integrity in addressing issues on the Middle East,” said former NIC official Paul Pillar. A foreign affairs professional “can do his job in the best and most objective way he thinks is possible and isn't necessarily going to be working one policy slant vs. another policy slant.”

The Issues

Freeman says the relationship between the United States and the Arab and Muslim worlds has deteriorated dramatically. He imagines a U.S. foreign policy that promotes stability in the Persian Gulf region; pushes for a secure state of Israel that is accepted by Israelis and Palestinians; emphasizes containment of problems; and advocates for a respectful inter-faith dialogue between Muslims and Christians.(11)

Freeman has proposed creating a collective for countries who purchase a lot of oil. “Both sides could benefit from exchanging planning information and views, like unions and management … [and avoid] unpleasant surprises,” he said in a 2008 speech. He has also called for ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan quickly.(12)

Freeman has also criticized the American government system, which he says has “broken down.” Instead of debate, he says Americans have become silent. “Patriotism is confused with silent acquiescence” he said. “This is not just a political problem, it is a systemic breakdown in American democracy.”(13)

China

As a member of ChinaSec, a confidential Internet discussion group, Freeman wrote that “the truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the [Tiananmen Square] demonstrations in the bud.” He argued that the [Chinese] government acted correctly in stopping the protest and asserted that “I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be.”(14)

These statements have been widely criticized.

Iraq

Freeman was an opponent of the Iraq war from the start. In a 2005 speech to the U.S.-Arab Policymakers Conference, Freeman said that America “forfeited the international esteem that once undergirded our global influence” for a “tragically misguided lurch into militarism.” The war, he said, destabilized the state and the only solution is ending the American occupation.(15)

Freeman said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are breeding terrorists and “multiplying our enemies tenfold.”

Israel

Freeman has long criticized America’s role in the Middle East peace process. The U.S., Freeman says, compromised its ability to mediate the problems because it is seen by much of the Muslim world as unabashedly pro-Israel.(16) “The blank check we currently offer Israel enables it to adopt policies that serve parochial and short-term interests at the expense of long-term interests,” he said in 2008. “Our unconditional support deprives Israelis of the need to make choices they must make in their own interest, and it aids and abets the adoption of policies that are unilateralist, militarist, counterproductive, and inevitably self-defeating.”(17)

Freeman has also called Israel an occupier, though he says blame for the current state of violence in the country lies on both sides. Palestinians have created fear, he argues, by attacking civilians. Israel, on the other hand, has seized land in ways that are “incompatible with mutual respect and reconciliation.” Neither side can live sustainably for much longer, he contends.(18)

Some of the major opposition to Freeman’s current appointment comes from hard-line Zionists like Steve Rosen, a former AIPAC policy director, who says that Freeman’s attacks on the “Israel Lobby” and on Israel’s “lack of talent for peace” are incompatible with America’s current foreign policy.(19) “Freeman is a strident critic of Israel,” Rosen wrote. “His views of the region are what you would expect in the Saudi foreign ministry.”(20) But many critics of Freeman are unwilling to slam him publicly because Obama has appointed so many advocates of Israel.(21)

The Network

Freeman is a longtime friend of Adm. Dennis Blair, Obama’s director of National Intelligence. According to NPR, Blair requested that his friend chair the council, and Freeman only reluctantly accepted.(22)

Freeman took over his position at MEPC from former Sen. George McGovern, who is still a member of the board.

###


Not that Steve Rosen is one of the two AIPAC officials charged with spying on the US in the Franklin case. Here is the actual indictment. He now blogs for neocon Zionist Daniel Pipes website Middle East Forum, home of that wonderful service Campus Watch, dedicated to making sure US institutions of higher learning are sufficiently pro-Israel.

Is having someone the neocons believe is not pro-Israel enough helping prepare the daily intelligence brief really all that bad? Considering the push to "Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!"

###

On a totally unrelated note, every small retailer I know in town that is a survivor is down to working his own store, with P/T staff when necessary. It's fucking February/March in Bend--simply not much going on. Getting your best staff back in a month or so is going to be the challenge.

I did meet a guy who is hiring for his startup mychai.com the other day. And actually saw someone who just moved here in Ray's earlier.

Anonymous said...

And that's what I love about this blog. Nothing ever adds up to 100. FACT.

*

What the 5% lava? Those folks committed suicide, ... glad you caught that, sure the 25% un-employment during the depression is a solid historical number, ergo 75% had jobs!!! Not so, about 5% lived near rail-road tracks and weren't even counted, ... now of course the un-counted is more like 25%.

Would you rather have everything add up too 100% lava?? Just like in school?? It's not that way in the real world.

Bewert said...

Take this graph and turn it 90 degrees clockwise to see the future...directly related to the graph itself.

Anonymous said...

12000 US troops to pull out in 1st phase of Iraq withdrawal

Los Angeles Times - ‎26 minutes ago‎

The initial phase in OREO's plan to end combat operations will take place over the next 6 months, military officials say. The announcement comes as a suicide bomber kills 33 police recruits in Baghdad.

###

So what this mean?

12k US poops sent to Afghan last month! OK OREO. Net zero coming home to ameriKKKa,... yeah nigger.

12k mercenary's hired last week in UGANDA by USA for $600/mo, which is a king's ransom for Ugandan's., these merc's will replace 'black-water'.

Anonymous said...

He has also called for ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan quickly.(12)

##

Ah grasshopper, we have just the bio-encapsulated aerial sprayed zyklon-B Suterra Bend Technology.

(12) Bend, Orygun: Make note world genocide.

Bewert said...

That graph leaves me wondering--deflation or inflation, which will it be. First de-, the in-?

To realize that the money supply has doubled in less that twelve months is stunning. Major changes happening.

Trying to figure out what they are is much more difficult. I'm starting to become a gold bug again, something I haven't since the late 70's.

Anonymous said...

Can't we just talk about Limbaugh recruiting 14 yr old boys for the RePUGlican army??

Anonymous said...

Yeh, PUSSY bring us the good shit, ...

Trouble is your graph shows 800B to 1.8T, but the fact is the FED-RES has released almost 10T in the past six months, if your going to DUMP shit pussy, try to have it in the right order of magnitude.

Thus rather than getting your KUNT wet over 2X in 12 months, why not focus on 10X in 3-6 months??

Anonymous said...

First of all kitchen-kaboodle is PDX, .. but as someone who cooks, ...

About 20 years ago PDX had the same, it was called KOBO's and went the way of the BEND dinosaur.

Who gives a fuck if KK ad's in OPB? So fucking what?

Ok, who buys shit in KK, I mean its 10X more than what you pay on amazon.com, pleeeeeeeeeze,

OH, yeh and if you go up stairs they got FURNITURE, we'll we all know furniture is just where you want to be, come on ... kitchen kaboodle will be BEND gone in a year.

Yeh 20+ years ago I would shop @kobo's when in PDX, and 10+ I would shop at KK, but in the past 5+ amazon.com is where shop for kitchen shit, ... and hell PDX has 2 dozen restaurant supply wholesale places, open to public, Bend has two, but BEND's is 2X over-priced to PDX, ... next time KUNTS in PDX check-out Boxers NW, or Rose-City Restaurant supply, ...

Bewert said...

Find me the graph--don't just rant :)

That's the official graph. Smoke and mirrors...

What I can't figure out right now is the obvious deflationary pressure occurring during a time of such a huge increase in the money supply, which should result in incredible inflation.

Puzzling...or maybe just a short prelude to a huge inflation rate. Economic trends don't happen overnight and all. Plus my ongoing feeling that the only way out of the debt mess being imposed upon us is through an inflationary period.

Anonymous said...

I was thinking about this on my long ski this AM, ...


Stock's & Bond's are only as good as the company's. ... yes, ... school lets see there are the schools, ..

1.) Buy & Hold - Buffet, do as I say, not as a I do.

2.) Follow the Fed: If the Fed lowers rate buy stock, of the fed raises rate sell stock.

But then there is also the (0.0) which was ...

0.) Watch your eggs like a hawk, back in the 1920's and earlier you always just bought what you believed in and 'watched it like a hawk'

This MODERN theory, that if you BOUGHT enough SHIT that you were 'diversified' would have made the people in the 1920's laugh their fucking ass off. Great for stock brokers though, to get KUNTS to buy tons of shit.

I mean 'dollar cost averaging', dumb-down averaging, ... First of all buying STOCK has always been a fools game, but if your going to gamble, at least play so that if you win, you win big, but the school of post 1930's was to just maximize the HOUSE take.

HOMER has a hard-on for stocks & bonds, but remember they're both toilet-paper from the SAME company.

In today's climate all toilet-paper that is soiled has no value, to anybody not even lava.

Anonymous said...

This is great,...

A Bend Massage therapist, moves to Corvallis, OR, and borrows over $30M to build a six floor 'tower of babel', and with one year of complete walks from project. The 'elements building' like our own PLAZA except 10X.


Reversal of fortune

Elements Building up for sale after less than a year

By Bennett Hall
Corvallis Gazette-Times

Deanna Carr’s dream is up for sale.

The Elements Building — six stories of brick and mortar, glass and steel — stands locked and empty near the south end of Second Street in downtown Corvallis, abandoned less than a year after it was unveiled with a flourish last April.

“The finished project is a model of sustainability, architectural beauty and a commitment to the environment,” Carr said in a news release at the time. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share this vision with others.”

When it opened, the building created instant buzz with its bold design and big city cachet, and downtown boosters predicted it would attract additional investment to the district.

But when the end came, it came quickly. The first stirrings of trouble came in a January e-mail to patrons of 7Stones, the luxury day spa that occupied the first three floors, and Strega, the stylish restaurant on the top two levels.

“As you know, the current economic conditions have made sustaining businesses a financial challenge,” the

e-mail said. “We are faced with a difficult decision in whether or not to keep these businesses running.”

By Jan. 17, 7Stones was closed. It reopened briefly to allow holders of gift certificates to redeem them for spa treatments or beauty products, then shut down for good. On Feb. 15, the day after Valentine’s Day, Strega followed suit.

A review of property records in the Benton County Clerk’s Office revealed that the building had been foreclosed by the lender on Dec. 15.

It was a stunning reversal of fortune, made all the more mysterious by Carr’s refusal to respond to questions from the newspaper. On Friday, though, she broke her silence in a brief interview.

“It’s really very simple. When the stock market started going down in September, business started going down (at the spa),” Carr said. “I just couldn’t keep up with the overhead. Something had to give.”

About 70 people lost their jobs when Carr’s two businesses failed. And although she says she and her spa staff redeemed $86,000 worth of outstanding gift certificates after the initial shutdown, the state Department of Justice still has 10 unresolved complaints on file regarding 7Stones.

Costs

Almost from the beginning, there were questions about the project’s costs. Shortly after breaking ground in June 2005, Carr said her budget for the building was $4 million. But as construction dragged out well past the target completion date of fall 2006, the costs climbed steadily higher, with the final price tag in the neighborhood of $20 million.

In part, the added expense came from a spike in the price of construction materials such as concrete and steel. But there were other major cost drivers, as well.

One was Carr’s ambitious goal of achieving high-level sustainability certification from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program of the U.S. Green Building Council. To meet LEED requirements, the project incorporated recycled materials, high-efficiency energy systems and a “living roof,” with vegetation plantings designed to soak up rainwater.

Add to that the countless custom design elements that went into the project. The list included glass tiles, terrazzo and cork flooring, imported stone countertops, “aged” iron paneling, lots of custom millwork, interior water features and a custom-designed fireplace.

The spa had its own Chinese herbal medicinary and was outfitted with therapeutic bathtubs, multi-head Vichy showers, steam rooms and custom variable-control LED lighting for color therapy.

The two-story restaurant had a wood-fired grill, a high-tech Cruvinet wine-dispensing system and a one-of-a-kind ceiling with thousands of fiber-optic lights that twinkled like stars through artfully placed madrone branches to simulate outdoor dining. Full-length accordion-fold glass doors opened onto expansive balconies that offered some of the most dramatic views in the city.

All things considered, the sum of all these parts was undeniably impressive — and undeniably pricy.

Last August, the Southwest Oregon chapter of the American Institute of Architects toured the Elements Building and heard a presentation on the project from Bill Ryals of Modern Organic Architecture, who designed the building.

Eugene architect Randy Nishimura, the chapter’s president, wrote about the tour in a blog post afterward.

“The development is somewhat notorious for its extravagance: with a price tag of $20 million ... opulence is expected and it is delivered in spades,” Nishimura wrote.

“Bill Ryals commented upon the challenges posed when cost is not an issue,” he added. “For owner Deanna Carr, the expectation was perfection: everything right down to the smallest of details of design and execution had to be perfect. For example, MOA prepared multiple, full-sized mockups for the custom-designed furniture in an effort to ensure that everything worked out just right.”

Construction

As construction costs for the Elements Building soared, many observers wondered why Carr didn’t take steps to rein them in. Part of the explanation seems to be that 7Stones was her dream spa.

In a 2005 interview, Carr told the Gazette-Times that she was a licensed massage therapist who had worked in spas in California and Bend before moving to Corvallis in 2000. She said she wanted to create something special at the Elements Building, something both she and all of Corvallis could be proud of.

On Friday, she repeated that claim.

“It was my dream, for sure,” Carr said. “But it was never about me. It was about what we could do for the community. It was about producing something extraordinarily out of the ordinary.”

Another reason Carr kept throwing money at the project, however, may simply have been the fact that she could.

Property records on file with the county make it clear that, during construction of the Elements Building, Carr had access to a steady stream of funds from a company called Eagleflight Capital LLC.

On Feb. 1, 2007, Eagleflight Capital granted Carr’s company, Ravenscall Capital, a line of credit for up to $15 million, with the Elements Building property as security for the loan.

On July 27, 2007, the line of credit was extended to $19.8 million.

On July 10, 2008, it was extended once again, this time to $27 million.

Funding

Eagleflight Capital is owned by Bill Lanfri, a former operating partner with the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Accel Partners who now lives in the Portland area.

In a telephone interview Friday, he said he decided to bankroll Carr’s real estate venture — and keep on bankrolling it as the costs continued to mount — because he believed in the project.

“It was a different time and a different environment,” Lanfri said. “It was a terrific thing for the town and a terrific opportunity for there to be a meaningful new building and to bring pieces of Pearl District style into Corvallis.”

In the end, however, he decided to pull the plug when Carr was no longer able to keep up the payments on her loan.

“She just couldn’t service the debt,” Lanfri said.

The business relationship between Lanfri and Carr dates back to at least 2003.

On Sept. 2 of that year, county property records show, Carr bought a house in the Park at Timberhill subdivision for $379,000. One week later, she sold it to Lanfri for a $24,000 profit.

Two months later, Carr paid $225,000 for an old coffee warehouse at 517 S.W. Second St. that would become the site of the Elements building.

Lanfri also backed another real estate venture by Carr, this one under the name of River Myst Concepts LLC. Starting in 2005, that company bought three adjacent houses on Southwest Second Street, a block south of the Elements Building. Eagleflight Capital holds mortgages on two of them for a total of $575,000.

From 2005 to 2007, while the Elements project was under construction, Carr leased space for Ravenscall Capital in a building on Northwest Third Street owned by local architect James Michael Edwards. For at least part of that time, another office in the same building was occupied by Lanfri’s Eagleflight Capital.

Edwards said he never met Carr personally, but she always seemed to have plenty of cash.

“She’s kind of a mystery woman,” Edwards said. “She rented the front space for two years and I never laid eyes on her. My rent was paid for an entire year up front.”

The future

Apparently, Carr’s cash flow dried up on Dec. 15, when Lanfri called in her note on the Elements Building. The same day, records show, he transferred the title to another company he owns called Bear Track 7 LLC.

Now he’s put the property on the market, listing it for sale or lease with the Portland office of Cushman & Wakefield.

Lanfri says he’s confident he can find a taker, but some observers think Corvallis may find itself stuck with a $20 million white elephant.

At that price, local commercial broker Gary Pond calculates a buyer would need to charge monthly rents of $3.85 per square foot to net a modest 6 percent return on investment. But that’s around twice the going lease rate for the area.

“There is nothing renting near that rate in the downtown, and even the new projects on Ninth Street haven’t broken $3,” Pond said in an e-mail.

Assuming the building was fully leased at an average monthly rate of $2 per square foot, Pond said, a buyer could make the deal pencil out at a sale price of around $8.5 million.

The county assessor’s office puts the property’s real market value at $9.5 million, and detractors argue the building’s highly specialized design could narrow the field of possible buyers.

Tom Usher, senior director for Cushman & Wakefield in Portland, said the asking price has not yet been determined. But he argued that the Elements Building’s green design and custom touches will be big draws — for the right buyer.

“It’s a unique building and it’s a very attractive building, and it will be an attractive building for somebody,” Usher said. “I think it definitely will sell, and I would suspect we will have it sold within the next six months.”

For her part, Carr said, she just wants to see her beautiful dream fulfilled — even if it’s for somebody else’s benefit.

“I really hope someone can come and use the building,” Carr said.

“I love it so much. I hate to see it sitting empty.”

Bennett Hall can be reached at 758-9529 or bennett.hall

Bewert said...

Re: In today's climate all toilet-paper that is soiled has no value, to anybody not even lava.

###

It's soiled, all right. And nobody knows what quality of shit the others have. Total distrust.

Unfortunately the void is being filled with taxpayer dollars, rather than simply letting the dumb greedy fucks go broke. As Rogers rants. Like the WSJ sitting next to me says-"Merrill's $10 Million Men-Top 10 Earners Make $200 Million in 2008 as Firm Floundered" And then Merrill gets bailed out, so it can survive through a sale to B of A, making a firm even more "to big to fail".

Does someone who gets a $34M bonus have the right to bitch about a high tax rate? Does an investment banker or hedge fund trader actually create wealth for others, for society as a whole, so large as to be forgiven a high level of taxation on his earnings?

I think not. And that is the theme of an eroding "evolved" society--private gain, public loss. Writ larger than ever in this last cycle.

Anonymous said...

Does someone who gets a $34M bonus have the right to bitch about a high tax rate?

*

Well yes they do pussy, under a 50% tax-rate the gov could tax 1/2, and thus its imperative that they bitch, they worked hard to steal the money, and its pointless for government to give the 'chosen' the money, and to simply take back what it has given.

Anonymous said...

Can't we just talk about Limbaugh recruiting 14 yr old boys for the RePUGlican army??

Why 14yr? Why not 4? or 10yr, why 14yr?? What is so special about 14? Pubic hair??

Bewert said...

Re: “She just couldn’t service the debt,” Lanfri said.

###

The end of a lot of stories.

Bewert said...

Re: Well yes they do pussy, under a 50% tax-rate the gov could tax 1/2, and thus its imperative that they bitch, they worked hard to steal the money, and its pointless for government to give the 'chosen' the money, and to simply take back what it has given.

###

So let's say the gov has given the "chosen" a large enough amount to pay nose-bleed taxes to make things look good.

I mean it is possible to survive well on $5M a year, even in Manhattan.

Bewert said...

I remember seeing that building on Corvallis along the river, way back in the fall of 2004 when we were looking around Oregon for a place to move. It seemed ostentatious even them, when it was just a hull.

Anonymous said...

http://www.gazettetimes.com/content/articles/2007/04/05/news/community/5aaa01_downtown.jpg

Here's a picture of Bend's $50M woman that took some cali VC to the cleaner in Corvallis, she's not much, unless you like him in size large.

PopGoesBend said...

>What I can't figure out right now is the obvious deflationary pressure occurring during a time of such a huge increase in the money supply, which should result in incredible inflation.

I'm not convinced there is a huge increase in the money supply. Yes, the feds are creating a shit ton of money that in normal times would create inflation, BUT....

My question is, how much of that is balanced out by money being destroyed? Money is debt. Money is created every time a loan is given, a mortgage taken out, a credit card transaction occurs, etc... Now that we are having massive foreclosures, peoples credit limits being pulled back, and massive losses in the stock market there is a huge amount of money that is disappearing every day. FACT. I'm not convinced that the government has printed as much money as has disappeared.

Anonymous said...

Bend girlz gone wild!!!

It could be a movie, or a video.

First there was Kathy Eckman, then Patricia Moss, a bank teller in the early 90's that catapulted her move to being the 'banker of bend' aka CACB, and now mrs-MDU aka mother of the earth. Eckman is still 100% money-momma's, the most successful 'investment club' in the northern hemisphere.

Then there is Deanna Carr a Bend massage therapist, who moves in 2002 to Corvallis to build a building that even Huey Long would have coveted.

How do these Bend women do it? Breeze, Eckman, Carr, Moss, what makes that so god damn good??

hbm said...

Jon Stewart rips the living, bleeding guts out of CNBC and its "analysts" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/05/jon-stewart-eviscerates-c_n_172057.html

You gotta watch this -- it's fucking BRUTAL.

Anonymous said...

I'm not convinced that the government has printed as much money as has disappeared.

###

Something like that, that's why I keep posting Giethners $100B/day, since August 2008.

That accounts for the $10T he has released since then.

Why? Where did it go? Largely covering Lehman, AIG, Berkshire CDS's, e.g. bad insurance bet's gone wrong. All US paper ( toilet-paper ) is graded 'AAA' cuz of the CDS insurance. If the GOV lets the INSURANCE-FAIL the entire system un-winds.

So we have $10Trillion in less than six months pushed in, trouble is some $500T worldwide and $80T domestic was written.

PP is essentially correct the money isn't like were printing money, we're simply covering insurance bet's gone bad, a $10B insurance company say BERK should have never been allowed to write $10T in insurance, but they did, and so did AIG, Lehman, and many others.

All these BET's are now being called, and there is NO money to cover the bet, rather than let our entire system collapse, in secret the FED-RES cover's the BET, and then get's an IOU from said company, trouble is the IOU is only as good as the company, and that is only as good as Monaco, or Blockbuster, ... or AIG, ...

Not much really to SAY, Banks have OWNED the FED-RES since 1916. Banks own OREO, its not like they're going to let their way of life collapse.

What happens now?? UN-HEARD of debt remains on these toxic company's, they all have a negative net-worth.

Which is WHY the FED-RES wants to keep all this shit secret, cuz whats the BOND or stock worth on a company with $10B in assets, but $10T in debt?? I would say ZERO.

Maybe the good government will forgive the debt, and they'll forgive it long before it ever goes public.

hbm said...

Bend girlz gone wild!!!

Hey, you left out one of the wildest -- Tamara "Tami" Sawyer!

Anonymous said...

Jon Stewart rips the living, bleeding guts out of CNBC and its "analysts" http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/05/jon-stewart-eviscerates-c_n_172057.html

*

I published one of those last night.

Yes, Jon Stewart ( comedy channel ) is a riot, want to know how to turn $100M into $1M?? Watch Cramer, or msnbc.... too fucking funny.

It's sad that the ONLY truth in ameriKKKa is on a comedy-channel.

Anonymous said...

Tamara "Tami" Sawyer!

*

Yep, and she had the BEND POLICE to cover her ass.

Too fucking puuurrrrrrrrrfect.

Anonymous said...

Stewart aped Santelli's newsgrabbing shouty-faced blubber from the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, coyly admitting, "I have to say, I find cheap populism very arousing." And then, for eight minutes, Stewart at his arch best (with the help of the crackerjack Daily Show research team) went on an absolute tear and burned CNBC right down to the doorframes. "If only I'd followed CNBC's advice, I'd have a million dollars, provided I'd started with a hundred million dollars." Brutal, but utterly hilarious.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/03/05/jon-stewart-eviscerates-c_n_172057.html

Anonymous said...

For her part, Carr said, she just wants to see her beautiful dream fulfilled — even if it’s for somebody else’s benefit.

“I really hope someone can come and use the building,” Carr said.

“I love it so much. I hate to see it sitting empty.”

*

I kind of like having the VOLO building sit empty, and the Franklin-XC building, and the Plaza, ... I like plywood, much more than glass.

Anonymous said...

"I have to say, I find cheap populism very arousing." - jon stewart

*

BINGO - DITTO ...

This is WHY 14yr old boyz world-wide now masturbate while listening to rush limbaugh.

Anonymous said...

"Then there is Deanna Carr a Bend massage therapist, who moves in 2002 to Corvallis to build a building that even Huey Long would have coveted."

If you know Corvallis, then you know that the Elements building sticks out like a sore thumb.

It's Beverly Hills level glitter and glam in a laid-back college town, where no one ever dresses up.

There are people with money here, but they drive Subarus and Hondas.

And here comes a Salon offering a $200 session for men getting ready for a night on the town. You know, like a trip to McMennamins and then the mens' basketball game.

It's sad to think of what relatively productive things could have been done with that $20 million.

But if there's a bright side, it's like Dunc always says: There's a beautiful corpse left behind.

Unfortunatley, the building is custom designed to be a spa, with a restaurant on the top floors, and there's NOTHING else that you can do with it. Unless you start tearing $50,000 fixtures out of it.

Such an incredible waste.

hbm said...

It's sad that the ONLY truth in ameriKKKa is on a comedy-channel.

Yep.

But the success of Stewart and Colbert proves there IS a huge market for truth out there ... if only the MSM had the BALLS to go after it.

Anonymous said...

Yes, but how come RIGHT-WING radio lives, and left-wing radio sucks dick?

I think it has something to do with the fact that not everyone is wired to listen to 45min of commercials per hour, like on RUSHBO.

The problem is commercial radio, but hell even NPR/OPB sucks, ...

Know anything about PDX HBM? Ever heard of KBOO radio, back in the 1960's it was a black radio indy station, and then in the 1980's a bunch of jewish-dykes with beards took over the station, and now 24/7 its bullshit.

The problem is that right-wing by defn, can force monotony, and its members relish in monotony, while the left fights one another for their agenda.

Behind all the OBAMA rhetoric in the DEM party is still 'issues' like gay-marriage, and abortion, issues that really matter to each group, like gun-control.

I find that the left are far more single-issue than the right, I mean limbaugh, and hannity, and o'reilly essentially all talk the same shit, that if you suck the corporate dick you'll get rich, its a lie, but its HOPE.

On the other hand the left, its all 24/7 one of ten top topics, whether it rights for the queers, or rights for dog-fuckers, ... like Ron Paul say's this is ALL about 'LIBERTY'.

The problem is that the RIGHT, understands radio and media, and advertising, but the LEFT doesn't understand liberty.

Most of funny of all with BUSH they lost lots of liberty, but that is another problem.

BUT GOD-DAMN HBM, every fucking liberal talk-show sucks, like you, it would be bash-gordo 24/7, or the pussy it would be his issue of the week.

Yes, limbaugh sucks, but he does stay on track, and he pleases his advertisers, and he entertains his listeners.

The DEM's have failed every fucking radio show they have had, they're boring, and they fail the advertiser.

Anonymous said...

The comedy channel works, cuz they have NO advertisers to please, e.g. people PAY to listen.

Ron Stewart is an exceptional man, with an open-mind, and makes fun of all dumb-fucks, left & right.

Nobody is going to pay to listen to jane fonda, or hightower.

The DEM strategy is OPB, goverment airwaves, but even OPB has been co-opted by JEWISH issues, hell ORYGUN is 2% Jewish, but over 1/2 of OPB content ( on radio ) is jewish issues, come-on, ... this is the fucking problem I have about DEM's is the loudest BULLY takes over the playground, with the PUG's the richest guy just buys his own playground, and other kids pay to play.

Nobody in the DEM party or near the DEM party is worth listening to,

Well except reverend wright, and he's got lots of new material, and he could be a MLK if they just let him be broadcasted live, but for now OREO wants him invisible, but WRIGHT is one powerful MOFU speaker.

Anonymous said...

It's sad to think of what relatively productive things could have been done with that $20 million.

%

It wouldn't even buy a humidor for Limbaughs cigar collection.

hbm said...

Ron Stewart is an exceptional man

I agree, but I think you meant Jon Stewart.

hbm said...

Nobody is going to pay to listen to jane fonda, or hightower.

Hightower is pretty damn funny.

Liberals are at a disadvantage in the radio competition, though -- they feel this strange urge to be rational.

hbm said...

BUT GOD-DAMN HBM, every fucking liberal talk-show sucks, like you, it would be bash-gordo 24/7

And with you it's Jew-baiting 24/7. BORRRRRRrrrrrr-ing!

Anonymous said...

Jew-baiting 24/7. BORRRRRRrrrrrr-ing!

*

I don't bait jews, ... but shit, they run ORYGUN (AIPAC) Summit-1031 zionism, CACB, ...

They run the FED-RES, ...

Sure jews are only 2% of USA, and 90% of real jews are as poor as HBM jew, or switzer, ...

But there are still 10's of thousands of jews that run TV, and all our media, and have done so since 1920's, like Gibson said, jews run hollywood, and his tirade got him get kicked out, ...

Don't worry HBM, I'll never have a fucking radio-show, years ago they asked me and I said "FUCK YOU", I have no respect for the listeners.

Anonymous said...

Buster would just as soon never mention 'jew',

But sadly how can a person 'debate the bend economy' and not mention jew,

Its fucking impossible.

The lawyers are all jews, the bankers, the media, the news, ...

ADL, JDL, AIPAC, ... its fucking endless control.

Yes, there is NOTHING worse than a bearded jewish-dyke, and I still respect Emma Goldman.

Folks in Bend think a Jew-Dyke is new, maybe BeNd is the first place where one paid for SEA-MEN, but jew dykes with beards have been around since the time of Noah.

Let's see, debate the 'bubble' but don't mention 'jew'.

OMERTA.

Anonymous said...

Jon Stewart is an exceptional man, with an open-mind, and makes fun of all dumb-fucks, left & right.

*

Yes, Jon Stewart is no HBM.

Anonymous said...

Believe me HBM, I would want nothing more than to NEVER fucking mention a Jew.

But fucking eh, Geithner, Rahm Emmanuel, ... Greenspan, Bernanke, ... its like its god-damn fucking impossible to talk about government or politics without 'Jew'.

How come there's no niggers, or irish, or albanians running the world?

Why does the jewish masterminds outlaw the fact they control all??

Even the FUCKING OREO ain't no nigger, he's a Jew, by virtue of his Jewish grandmother, and Jewish mother.

But you got me going, let's say who started the Jew thing today?? HBM

Who started the 14yr boy thread & limbaugh? HBM, ...

There's a pattern here hbm.

Anonymous said...

HBM win's.

BB2 is now the SORE-EYE 24/7, without moderation.

Anonymous said...

Bewert said...
I remember seeing that building on Corvallis along the river, way back in the fall of 2004 when we were looking around Oregon for a place to move.


Oh my God, had we only been so lucky. We were that close to one less prick from Jewtah to put up with.

Bewert said...

142 Corvallis, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area 6.2%

346 Bend, OR Metropolitan Statistical Area 11.3%

###

Yeah, you've got brilliant fucking leadership here.

Anonymous said...

HOPE&CHANGE

OBAMA’S STIMULUS PLAN IS A SCHEME hatched by Jewish financial insiders.

Representing the interests of Wall Street’s Jewish financial institutions, a group of Zionist Jews, (loyal to Jewish interests before those of America), have been appointed by Obama as his economic advisors:

Timothy Geithner: Treasury Secretary - Jewish.

Steven Rattner: Treasury Advisor For Auto Sector - Jewish.

Larry Summers: Economic Advisor to the President - Jewish.

Robert Rubin: Economic Advisor to the President - Jewish.

Alan Blinder: Economic Advisor to the President - Jewish.

Jason Furman: Director Of Economic Policy - Jewish.

Peter Orszag: Head of Budget - Jewish.

Jon Leibowitz: Chairman Of FTC - Jewish.
See Even More Jewish Advisors Here.

Adding to this list of Jewish-Zionists on Obama’s economic advisors team, is his administrative staff of Zionist Jews:

Rahm Emanuel: Chief of Staff - Jewish.

David Axelrod: Senior Advisor to the President - Jewish.

Ronald Klain: Chief of Staff to the Vice President - Jewish.
See Even More Jewish Administrative Staff Here

Anonymous said...

OBAMA SIGNED HIS $787 BILLION STIMULUS PLAN into law on February 17, 2009. But the question is, will it work? Will Obama’s stimulus bill actually stimulate the economy? Many economic experts, such as Scott Walker, say that Obama’s stimulus “looks more like 25 years of government expansion jammed into one bill than it does an effective stimulus plan.”

Obama’s stimulus plan is short on creating sustainable jobs & long on social goals that will not impact positively on economic activity. Obama’s stimulus is unfocused & spreads a lot of money around on social programs that will have no lasting impact on the American economy. The thrust of tax-payers’ money will be used to fund not only social programs, but government-financed health care, education programs for the poor, digging ditches & rebuilding bridges, (how long can these jobs last?), and so-called green initiatives.

Obama’s stimulus bill also includes allocating billions in newly printed money by the Fed for food stamps, child care services, homeless shelters & soup kitchens, computerization of personal medical records, unemployment insurance, community-based outreach programs, and job-training for jobs that do not & will not exist due to intensified outsourcing to China & India of both labour and hi-tech jobs. (Try calling United Airlines, McAfee Computer Services, and Western Union, and someone named Omar or Harshad will answer.)

AND MOST ALARMING OF ALL - Obama’s Stimulus bill gives a whopping $1 billion to Jewish social service providers who already are oozing in Jewish wealth.

In short, Obama’s stimulus plan will only delay the inevitable day of reckoning for the American people. View Entire Story Here & Here.

THE SHYSTER BANKERS WIN - TAXPAYERS LOSE

“OBAMA’S STIMULUS & BAILOUT PLAN,” according to former Treasury Secretary, Paul Craig Roberts, “will redistribute wealth from American taxpayers to the shyster banksters who have destroyed American jobs, ruined the retirement plans of tens of millions of Americans, and worsened the situation of millions of people worldwide who naively trusted American financial institutions.”

“The ongoing theft has simply been recast,” Roberts continues, “instead of using fraudulent financial instruments, the banksters are using government policy.”

Obama’s stimulus is a classic bait-and-switch. Once the highways are built and social-service case loads have increased, American tax payers, (what’s left of them who will have any income to pay taxes from), will be stuck with the bill to pay for and maintain the new roads and services.

Obama’s stimulus is also a bait-and-switch on employment. While the stimulus package creates federal and construction jobs, once the money runs out, those workers will lose their jobs. Even worse, most of the money is actually allocated for bailing out failed state and local governments. Then, after $135 billion in the federal aid gets spent, many states will be staring down budgetary black holes unless they initiate dramatic spending cuts by which many jobs will be eliminated. Read Scott Walker’s Analysis Here.

AND WHO ARE THE WINNERS? The Jewish loan-sharks who own the private banking consortium known as the Federal Reserve System and who enter billions of dollars out of thin air in their books and CHARGE INTEREST on their LOANS.

BUT WHO ARE THE LOSERS? Hard working and willing-to-work Americans are the losers and will lose even more once the Jewish-owned Fed comes collecting for funding (with interest) Obama’s stimulus bill.

And the Zionist Jews, (who always remain wealthy during times of economic distress), along with their synagogue buddies at the Federal Reserve who are tied to the Rothschild global-banking elite, will be laughing all the way to their Jewish banks…

Anonymous said...

OBAMA HAS SO MANY MASTERS that he’ll be tap dancing 24 hours a day. His faithful cultists, kool-aid drinkers, entitlement junkies, and clueless supporters will be first to be stabbed…and last to realize it.

Zionist Jews own Obama, his ‘administration,’ and essentially control America via its monetary system, its professions, its education system, its media culture, and every other crucial piece of America’s societal infrastructure. If an incumbent president doesn’t play ball with the Zionist Jews, his political career is over.

And with “Rahmbo” Emanuel literally running the Obama White House, Mossad HQ will enjoy an unprecedented direct flow of America’s highest level national security information…and consequently, even MORE control over US policies.

America voted in ‘Change’ alright. The Barky dog and pony show must have the Jews laughing their Zionist butts off from NY to Tel Aviv to London.

Let’s now take look at Obama’s faithful cultists:

The Downtrodden Blacks: American blacks gave Obama a victory. Obama’s plans for Affirmative Action, National Health Care, and Zero to Five early care, held out “change” to the blacks. But with the economic down-turn & 2 wars to deal with, blacks may have to wait for a “change” to come about. View Articles Here & Here.

The Impressionable Youth: American youth turned out in droves to vote for Obama. The youth were enamored of Obama’s “Hope” campaign. But many now believe that the youth will have their “hopes” dashed. View Articles Here & Here.

The Anti War Left: American peaceniks really believe that Obama is a “dove.” But Antiwar.com finally nailed Barky as a “hawk.” View Article Here.

ENTER RAHM ‘ISRAEL’ EMANUEL

THE ZIONIST JEW BY THE NAME of Rahm Israel Emanuel officially accepted his appointment by Obama as Chief of Staff on November 6 2008. The Israeli press & media were beside themselves with applause and cheers.

Rahm Emanuel is a former investment banker who made millions on Wall Street. Emanuel’s sponsor is the Zionist Jew, Bruce Wasserstein, who is now the head of Lazard Banking.

Rahm Israel Emanuel is the son of an Israeli physician who was a gun runner for the Irgun, an Israeli terrorist group that murdered Arab civilians in Palestine between 1931 and 1948. Upon his son’s appointment as Obama’s Chief of Staff, Dr. Benjamin Emanuel (”Auerbach” was his original surname) had some choice slanderous words for the Arabs:

“Obviously my son will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn’t he be? What is he, an Arab? He’s not going to clean the floors of the White House.” View Article Here.

Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, in sharp contrast, proffered a challenge to Obama upon his election & upcoming administration:

“Mechanisms must be created to block mistaken, egotistical and dangerous decisions of certain members of the international community.” View Article Here.

WHAT ABOUT BRZEZINSKI?

WITH THE FORMATION of an Obama administration, beginning with Obama’s pick of Rahm Emanuel as Chief of Staff, some are saying that Obama is “distancing” himself from the Pro-Palestinian Zbigniew Brzezinski.

But only 2 weeks before election day, Brzezinski affirmed his endorsement of Obama:

“Obama is a transformative figure. Look at the disastrous foreign policy decisions by the Bush administration. Give me Obama’s wisdom any day.” View Article Here.

Obama’s wisdom? No - slave-masters‘ wisdom. But who will ultimately own Obama? Brzezinkski or the Zionist Jews?

Anonymous said...

Will The Jewish-Owned Federal Reserve Bank Kill Ron Paul?

RON PAUL COULD get himself killed. Why? Because Ron Paul wants to abolish the privately-owned Federal Reserve Bank. Five US Presidents who sought to abolish the Jewish-owned Federal Reserve Bank were assassinated:

1) Andrew Jackson (Survived); 2) Abraham Lincoln; 3) James Garfield; 4) William McKinley; 5) John Kennedy.

In a speech before Congress in 2002, entitled Abolish the Fed, Ron Paul said:

— “Abolishing the Federal Reserve will allow Congress to reassert its Constitutional authority over monetary policy. The Constitution does not give Congress the authority to delegate control over monetary policy to a Central Bank. I urge my colleagues to put an end to the manipulation of the money supply which erodes Americans’ standard of living and enriches well-connected elites.” —

These are fighting words! Then in April 2007, Ron Paul came out slugging again in his Congressional speech entitled The Federal Reserve Monopoly over Money:

— “The greatest threat facing America today is not terrorism or illegal immigration. The greatest threat is the shameless deficit spending of our government and Federal Reserve currency devaluation. The Press sometimes criticizes Federal Reserve policy but the validity of the fiat system itself is never challenged. History shows that when the destruction of monetary value becomes rampant, the political structure becomes unstable. We then have good reason to be concerned about the future of our nation.” —

OVERVIEW OF THE JEWISH-OWNED FEDERAL RESERVE BANK

THERE IS NOTHING “Federal” about the Federal Reserve Bank. In other words, the Federal Reserve is not “federal” and it does not have any “reserves.” The Jewish Bankers, who are masters of deception, own the Federal Reserve Bank, print money with interest but without any backing, and would like to keep their “federal” banking cartel a secret.

But the House of Rothschild which owns 57% of the stock of the privately-held Federal Reserve Bank, is alive and well in North America. Recently, Reuters News Agency published an article announcing two new appointees of the Rothschilds’ banking interests in North America @ Rothschild Bank Names New North America Heads. And be certain that the Rothschilds have charged their appointees to act as liaisons with their fellow Jewish bankers who own the Federal Reserve Bank.

It was Jacob Rothschild II who in a letter to his US agents in 1863 with regard to establishing a Central Bank in America said: “The few who understand the system will either be so interested from its profits or so dependant on its favors that there will be no opposition from that class. The other class will simply have no comprehension or concern about American monetary policy.”

Here is an historical overview of the makings of the Jewish-owned Federal Reserve Bank:

* 1791-1811: Rothschilds’ First Bank of the United States
* 1816-1836: Rothschilds’ Second Bank of the United States
* 1837-1862: Free Banking Era -no formal Central Bank through the efforts of President Andrew Jackson
* 1862-1913: System of National Banks through the efforts of President Andrew Jackson
* 1914-Current: Federal Reserve Act effects a consortium of 7 privately held Jewish banks called the Federal Reserve Bank. The largest share holders of the bank are the Rothschild’s of London holding 57% of the stock which is not available for public trading.

THE JEW Paul Warburg (1868-1932), came to the United States from Germany in 1902, buying into the partnership of the Jewish owned bank Kuhn, Loeb and Co. with the financial backing of the Rothschilds.

Paul Warburg was a man with a mission, sent here by the Alfred Rothschild to lobby for the passing of a Central Banking Law in Congress. On January 6, 1907, the New York Times published an article by Warburg, called “Defects and Needs of Our Banking System.”

In 1908, Sen. Nelson W. Aldrich, (father-in-law of John D. Rockefeller Jr), and a Rothschild agent, proposed a bill recommending a Central Bank. A member of Congress for 40 years, Aldrich was the most powerful man in Congress and was the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee.

Without going into the labyrinth of the contrivances of the Jewish Bankers and the Jewish propaganda machine, on October 25, 1914, the formal establishment of the Federal Reserve System was announced by Congress with Paul Warburg and the Rothschild ally, J.P. Morgan, at its head.

WHO OWNS THE JEWISH FEDERAL RESERVE BANK?

1) Rothschild Banks of London and Berlin; 2) Lazard Brothers Banks of Paris; 3) Israel Moses Seif Banks of Italy; 4) Warburg Bank of Hamburg and Amsterdam; 5) Lehman Brothers of New York; 6) Kuhn, Loeb Bank of New York (Now Shearson American Express);7) Goldman, Sachs of New York.

These are all Jewish names are they not? And these Jewish bankers and their Jewish money initiated a strangle-hood on American political life. A very courageous man who committed political suicide tried to stop them.

THE ASSASSINATION OF CONGRESSMAN McFADDEN

ON DECEMBER 15 1931, Rep. Louis T. McFadden, who for more than ten years served as Chairman of the Banking and Currency Committee in the House of Representatives, said:

— “The Federal Reserve Board and banks are the duly appointed agents of foreign central banks. They are more concerned with their foreign customers than they are with the people of the United States. Their plan is to create a system of financial and political control of every nation and economy of the world.” —

In a stinging indictment of the Board of the Federal Reserve System, Congressman McFadden gave his famous speech on June 10 1932 before Congress saying, “”Mr. Chairman, we have in this Country one of the most corrupt institutions the world has ever known. I refer to the Federal Reserve Banks.”

Because of this speech, Louis T. McFadden had unleashed the full power of the international Jewish criminals against him. The political life of this great servant of the people was terminated in the November 1934 elections held in the 15th Congressional District of Pennsylvania. Jewish money was lavished on the election campaign of McFadden’s opponent. Two attempts were then taken on McFadden’s life and the third attempt by poisoning, while Louis T. McFadden was visiting New York City in 1936, ended his political career and life, once and for all.

THE JEWS OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK MUST BE STOPPED

RON PAUL NEEDS our support. But beyond supporting Ron Paul a clear ideology must be enunciated. The ideology that I am recommending is to be found in the re-emergence of a “Christian World View.”

A Christian World View will underline a basic tenet: “Jews are under a Deicidal Blood Curse which they called down upon themselves when they cried out before Pontius Pilate, ‘Crucify Him! Crucify Him! His blood be upon us and upon our children.’”

We must ask ourselves: “Do we want an accursed people, the Jews, to rule our monetary system?” Of course the answer is a resounding “No!”

Let us then take up the Sword Of The Spirit and spread the word to every man, including the Jews: “Christ is the King of our government. Away with the enemies of Christ, the Jews, who seek to undermine our political life through their ownership of the Federal Reserve Bank!”

And pray that Ron Paul, a defender of the ideals of our once Christian nation, will be protected by the Lord Jesus Christ from the murderous hands of the Jewish International Bankers. And may the Lord have mercy on us with the election of Ron Paul as the next President of the United States.

Anonymous said...

O ne
B ig
A ss
M istake
A merica

Anonymous said...

Jp morgan in trouble http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwv_8Ao1MxY

Anonymous said...

Some time ago I said the U.S.'s great comparative advantage is its institutions.

Some anarchist on this board apparently wasn't convinced.

OK, so now I bring some evidence to the table. In fact the "evidence" is basically the rest of the world's faith in our country that our resident anarchist lacks.

Have faith, oh ye of little faith!


March 9, 2009
A Rising Dollar Lifts the U.S. but Adds to the Crisis Abroad

By PETER S. GOODMAN

As the world is seized with anxiety in the face of a spreading financial crisis, the one place having a considerably easier time attracting money is, perversely enough, the same place that started much of the trouble: the United States.

American investors are ditching foreign ventures and bringing their dollars home, entrusting them to the supposed bedrock safety of United States government bonds. And China continues to buy staggering quantities of American debt.

These actions are lifting the value of the dollar and providing the Obama administration with a crucial infusion of financing as it directs trillions of dollars toward rescuing banks and stimulating the economy, enabling the government to pay for these efforts without lifting interest rates.

And yet in a global economy crippled by a lack of confidence and capital, with lending and investment mechanisms dysfunctional from Milan to Manila, the tilt of money toward the United States appears to be exacerbating the crisis elsewhere.

The pursuit of capital suddenly seems like a zero sum game. A dollar invested by foreign central banks and investors in American government bonds is a dollar that is not available to Eastern European countries desperately seeking to refinance debt. It is a dollar that cannot reach Africa, where many countries are struggling with the loss of aid and foreign investment.

“Virtually all of the low-income countries are in very serious trouble,” said Eswar Prasad, a former official at the International Monetary Fund and a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, the liberal-leaning research organization in Washington.

He went on: “This is the third wave of the financial crisis. Low-income countries are getting hit very hard. The flow of private capital to the emerging market has dried up.”

Private money invested in so-called emerging countries plunged from $928 billion in 2007 to $466 billion last year and is likely to fall to $165 billion this year, according to the Institute of International Finance.

Not that the United States is enjoying a great influx of money. Globally, investors are holding tight to cash and extracting it as quickly as they can from risky ventures.

In the United States, investments by foreigners have slowed markedly. But as Americans eschew foreign deals and keep their dollars at home, and as foreign central banks — especially China — buy Treasury bills, the United States is absorbing money that used to be scattered around the globe. And that is making money tighter elsewhere in the world.

The most immediate crisis appears to be in Eastern Europe, where investors borrowed exuberantly in foreign currencies — notably the euro and the Swiss franc — using those funds to build office towers and factories. Their debts are growing as their currencies decline in value, leading to bank losses and requiring government bailouts along with aid from the I.M.F..

Economists liken this episode to the financial crisis that assaulted much of Asia in the late 1990s. Then, as now, investors borrowed in foreign currencies. When investment left the region, local currencies plummeted, particularly in Thailand and Indonesia, setting off defaults and sowing job losses and poverty.

“Eastern Europe looks incredibly similar to Asia in the 1990s,” said Brad Setser, an economist at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

In one key regard, this crisis is more problematic: In the 1990s, the rest of the global economy was growing vigorously. Once danger abated, Asian countries were able to resume growth by selling goods to the United States, Europe, Japan and China.

Indeed, the very plunge in currencies that precipitated the crisis also provided a fix, making Thai, Malaysian, Indonesian and Korean goods that much cheaper on world markets.

This time, as many low-income countries again see their currencies fall, they are confronting a world beset by recession, in which demand for their products is weak and falling.

In a report released Sunday, the World Bank predicted that the global economy would shrink in 2009 for the first time in more than half a century and forecast that global trade would decline for the first time since the early 1980s.

“Depreciation isn’t enough now to offset the global contraction,” said Mr. Setser, noting that export powers like Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Brazil have had rapid declines in sales in recent months. “Everybody’s looking vulnerable. All commodity exporters are potentially subject to currency crises.”

Fears are growing that a much broader group of countries will plunge into trouble. Mr. Prasad’s list of potential danger zones includes Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as Pakistan and Ecuador.

In the Asian financial crisis, countries at the center of the storm were particularly vulnerable because the values of their currencies were mostly pegged to the dollar. Once central banks ran out of dollars to exchange for their own currencies, they lost their ability to influence the exchange rate. As a result, their currencies fell, turning already large debts into impossible debts.

Many more countries now allow their currencies to float with the whims of the market, removing this grim chain of events. Still, as economic activity slows and banks are stuck with larger losses, the damage could swell beyond the ability of governments to finance bailouts, said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a former chief economist at the I.M.F. and now a professor at Harvard.

“Debt collapses are going to wreak havoc with exchange rates,” Mr. Rogoff predicted. “A lot of countries in Europe are already on the brink of default.”

Only two years ago, many analysts were suggesting that the I.M.F. — created more than 60 years ago to rescue countries in financial distress — no longer had a clear reason to exist. Now, the fund is scrambling for contributions from developed nations to bolster its $350 billion war chest. Mr. Setser suggested it needed $1 trillion for all that might yet unfold.

Because worries are deeper nearly everywhere else, the United States and the dollar have essentially benefited from the worldwide panic. In the last year, the dollar has risen 13 percent against major foreign currencies after adjusting for inflation, according to Federal Reserve data. Foreign holdings of Treasury bills rose by $456 billion in 2008.

“It’s a huge safe haven effect,” said William R. Cline, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “The basic assumption that people are making is that the U.S. government will never default on its debt.”

As the dominant flavor of money used in business worldwide, the dollar has once again been affirmed as the global reserve currency.

Only last year, some analysts said that as the American economy sagged, foreign central banks would be reluctant to sink national savings into the dollar. That has been soundly debunked.

In ordinary times, the rise of the dollar would provoke American worries that it would crimp exports by making goods more expensive on world markets. But for American policy makers, what matters now is attracting enough buyers of American debt to finance the rescue plans, and if the dollar must rise along the way, that is a cost worth paying.

“The fact that we can still borrow at lower interest rates is saving us from much more severe adjustments,” Mr. Rogoff said. “We’re really still staring down an abyss.”

Julia Werdigier contributed reporting.

Anonymous said...

O ne
B ig
A mazing
M an
A merica

Anonymous said...

Hey Ho Homer's Ho's @CNBC got to go ...

CNBC made itself an easy target for Jon Stewart

Commentary: Rick Santelli's bizarre outburst was the tipping point

By Jon Friedman, MarketWatch
Last update: 7:26 a.m. EDT March 9, 2009
NEW YORK (MarketWatch) -- Memo to broadcast-news executives: Don't incur Jon Stewart's wrath.
Just ask CNBC.
On March 4, Stewart, the host of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show," skewered CNBC in a brilliant, hilarious segment. He captured the frailties of General Electric's (GE:
GE
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) business-news network in a montage of ill-fated predictions and miscalculations. The whole thing amounted to a laying bare of the general buffoonery that is CNBC at its worst.
Video: CNBC vs. Comedy Central
Following Rick Santelli's outburst, CNBC has made the mistake of incurring Jon Stewart's wrath, according to MarketWatch's Jon Friedman. (March 9)
Nobody on television is wittier than Stewart. In this instance, his inspiration was the now- infamous outburst by CNBC correspondent Rick Santelli. Reporting from a trading floor in Chicago, Santelli heatedly blasted President Barack Obama recently over his plan to ease the housing crisis. See 'Daily Show' clip here.
It should be noted that CNBC's image meisters also miscalculated. I suspect that if Santelli had followed through and appeared on "The Daily Show" -- during the segment, Stewart said Santelli had reneged on an agreement to show up -- "The Daily Show" might have gone easier on him and his employer.
No sympathy for the devil
But it's hard to muster much sympathy for CNBC.
The network's mistaken priorities have made it an easy target for the incisive Stewart. CNBC can look like a television outfit that values the presentation of news mainly as entertainment. CNBC appears to use ESPN's "SportsCenter" show as a model for its own "Squawk Box," in which people sit around the shoot the bull on the headlines of the day.
CNBC loses sight of the idea that the public takes investing, and the economy, much more seriously than sports fans debate baseball or football headlines. A recession can make investors snap to attention real fast, you see.
It's hard to know what CNBC executives value. As the New York Times (NYT:
NYT
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) pointed out in a news story, CNBC happily posted Santelli's diatribe on its Web site, effectively bragging about his exhibition of chutzpah.
Stewart wryly tagged it a "Howard Beale" moment, in which Santelli channeled the mad truth teller of the movie "Network" and his legendary tag line: "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"
CNBC's priorities are clearly out of whack.
As Dan Mitchell wrote on Slate's (WPO:
WPO
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) "The Big Money" site: "The overall vibe of CNBC -- with its 'money honeys,' Jim Cramer's inane frothing, and the lunkheaded frat boys on 'Fast Money' treating economic news like a football game -- is stupid."
Going overboard
CNBC has much to answer for and be embarrassed about. The network has gone overboard in its effort to dumb down business news for the masses.
CNBC should know better by now and have a keener understanding of what its audience needs. After so many once-hot technology stocks crashed and burned a decade ago, CNBC's personalities were castigated for having acted as cheerleaders for the shooting stars of the equities market.
It has been a few weeks since Santelli freaked out and blasted Obama on the air. Even if the wounds aren't quite fresh, his unprofessional behavior still makes you wonder: What the heck was he thinking?
If Santelli truly believed passionately in what he was saying, he owed his colleagues -- and his employer -- a better turn. Then again, who am I kidding? CNBC seems to want, if not prefer, its on-air "talent" to raise the theatrics level as high as it can go.
The wrath of Jon
There's a temptation among some in the media to lump in Stewart with working journalists. That's a mistake.
Sure, Stewart makes fun of media people all the time, but he is primarily a comedian, before anything else. His show delivers entertainment -- and that's why it's so popular. Plenty of smart people misunderstand Stewart's role. His job is to make people (a) laugh and (b) think -- in that order.
Don't underestimate his influence, though. A few years ago, Stewart appeared on CNN's (TWX:
TWX
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) lamentable shout fest "Crossfire." Stewart was offended by the nonnews element of the show, in which talking heads basically yelled at one another for "entertainment" value, and he blasted the frivolous program.
Next thing you knew, CNN had fired "Crossfire," and it has, thankfully, been off the air ever since. Now, it appears, it's CNBC's turn in the Stewart barrel. Stewart is probably the most respected satirist of the media these days, so his words have an especially sharp ring.
Just ask CNBC.

Anonymous said...

The wrath of Jon
There's a temptation among some in the media to lump in Stewart with working journalists. That's a mistake.
Sure, Stewart makes fun of media people all the time, but he is primarily a comedian, before anything else. His show delivers entertainment -- and that's why it's so popular. Plenty of smart people misunderstand Stewart's role. His job is to make people (a) laugh and (b) think -- in that order.
Don't underestimate his influence, though.

*

This is why Stewart is NO HBM.

Those of us who watch Stewart often will recognize his self-deprecating Jewish humor in the remark; there are plenty others in the piece (though I don't think "Jewy von Jewstein" made the cut). It does, however, include one of Stewarts best lines — funny with a typical twist of the knife, from his September 2008 interview with Tony Blair: "My wife is Catholic. I'm Jewish. It's very interesting; we're raising the children to be sad."

Moment also tackles the perception of Stewart as the "most trusted man in America" as per New York Times (but don't worry, Nick Lemann throws predictable cold water on that). I should add that I contributed to a bit of the reporting on the piece, including the kicker from super-frequent guest Fareed Zakaria, whom Stewart once compared to a Backstreet Boy (and who also told me that Stewart was not only good for the Jews, but was a "shonda for the goyim." Well played, Fareed.)

Speaking of which — so, nu? Here's Moment's conclusion: "In the public square, Stewart may be the perfect Jewish ambassador for our times: smart but not arrogant, extremely funny but not mean--a valedictorian, most popular, best-looking and class clown all wrapped into one." I'm glad they mentioned the punum, because it is very cute. For lovers of Stewart factoids and arcana — with an extra dose of Jewiness! — it's essential reading. So go read it already.


Shondah: (rhymes with Honda) a shame, a pity. A "shonda for the goyim" means to do something shameful, publicly witnessed by non-Jews, thus bringing shame upon Jews in general (because, the theory goes, we are all held accountable for the worst deeds of the worst of us.) Also, "Such a smart girl like that. It's a shonda she's such a meiskeit (physically unattractive person)."

Anonymous said...

How to make money in good times & bad. This is what I'm always talking about, now read the following closely, cuz this is what its all about.

Here an insurance company ( aig, lehman, berkshire,... ) can write a policy ( CDS ) for $10M, and get $1.2M upfront for a premium, and $500k/yr for life of the purchase of $10M in GE stock or BOND. Now think about that a moment, NO way in HELL that GE would go down? RIGHT?

So there is the NUT-SHELL, some $500T of these kinds of policy's have been written, AIG, BERK, all got billions in premium up front, but so what if Monaco, or Blockbuster go BK, you can't pay the 'claim', its OK, cuz uncle-geithner will cover.

So in effect todays CORP's are bookes who write bets, and take the premium for the bet, if the bet expires then the 'writer' keeps the CASH, if the bet is claimed cuz said company implodes ( GM,GE,Lehman,AIG,.... ) then the GOVERNMENT covers the claim.

I love ameriKKKa, ... the MOB must be as jealous as hell.

.... Read the following very carefully ... about how much corp's that right insurance policy's on GE are getting up front, ....

GE Capital Hires Banks to Sell Government-Backed Debt (Update5)
Share | Email | Print | A A A

By Patricia Kuo and Shannon D. Harrington

March 9 (Bloomberg) -- General Electric Capital Corp., the finance arm of General Electric Co., is selling $8 billion of U.S. government-backed bonds as debt investors speculate the finance unit will need to raise more capital.

Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley are arranging the sale, which will be backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., according to an e-mail sent to investors. Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc and Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc are also helping with the issue.

“The market is going to remain heavily dominated by government-guaranteed paper for many more months as people are scared of corporate defaults and the lack of liquidity in non- guaranteed bonds,” said Guthrie Williamson, a Sydney-based money manager with Principal Global Investors, which oversees $198 billion.

General Electric shares fell below $6 last week for the first time since December 1991 on concern that GE Capital may need more cash amid rising credit-card delinquencies and $4 billion in unrealized property losses. Credit-default swaps on GE Capital have been trading as if the unit were rated below investment-grade, even as GE Chief Financial Officer Keith Sherin said March 5 it had $45 billion in cash, he sees no need to raise additional capital and GE’s financial services businesses expect to be profitable in the current quarter and year.

Yields Over Benchmarks

GE Capital’s $4 billion of two-year, fixed-rate notes may price to yield eight basis points more than the benchmark mid- swap rate, and its $1 billion of two-year, floating rate notes may float at eight basis points over the three-month London interbank offered rate, according to a person familiar with the sale who declined to be identified because terms aren’t set.

The company’s $1.5 billion of three-year, fixed-rate notes may price to yield 20 basis points more than the mid-swap rate, and its $1.5 billion of three-year, floating-rate notes may float at 20 basis points over three-month Libor, the person said.

Libor, a borrowing benchmark currently set at 1.31 percent. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.

Bonds guaranteed through the FDIC’s Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program are rated Aaa by Moody’s Investors Service and AAA by Standard & Poor’s, their highest classifications. The FDIC in October agreed to guarantee three-year senior unsecured bank debt issued through June 30 as part of a U.S. Treasury plan to stimulate lending. The program has since been extended to debt issued through Oct. 31.

Refinance Maturities

“We are in the market for a benchmark deal under TLGP,” said GE Spokesman Russell Wilkerson. “Proceeds will be dedicated to meeting 2009 debt maturities.”

GE plans to refinance $45 billion in maturities this year, and has already sold more than 70 percent of the debt required to do so, the company said last week.

General Electric rose 52 cents, or 7.4 percent, to $7.58 as of 1:58 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading.

Credit-default swaps on GE Capital fell 2.5 percentage points to 12 percent upfront, according to broker Phoenix Partners Group. That’s in addition to 5 percent a year, meaning it would cost $1.2 million initially and $500,000 annually to protect $10 million of the company’s bonds from default. The contracts reached a record 20 percent upfront last week as traders demanded as much to protect GE Capital bonds from default as building materials-maker Louisiana-Pacific Corp., which posted nine straight quarterly losses.

‘Delphic Oracle’

“I just don’t think we should treat credit-default swaps as like the Delphic Oracle of any kind,” GE Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt said in a March 5 interview. Traders in the market can force substantial moves in the contracts “by spending 25 million bucks in a handful of transactions in an unregulated market. It’s the most easily manipulated and broadly manipulated market that there is.”

Credit-default swaps, which are used to hedge against losses or to speculate on a company’s ability to repay its debt, pay the buyer face value if a borrower defaults in exchange for the underlying securities or the cash equivalent. The contracts typically rise as investor confidence deteriorates and fall as it improves.

Stamford, Connecticut-based GE Capital has raised more than $27 billion from government-guaranteed bond sales since December, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. It is offering to buy back about $1.45 billion of debt as it petitions bondholders to amend a covenant in the securities that limits the unit’s ability to pledge property or assets to secure debt without having to secure the notes.

‘Strong Liquidity’

GE Capital plans to repurchase fixed- and floating-rate notes in 29 issues ranging from $10,000 to $450 million, it said in a March 5 prospectus. The amendment will “provide the company with broader financing capability,” it said.

The company “has strong liquidity for 2009, largely because of its access to government programs,” Barclays Capital analysts led by Jonathan Glionna in New York said in a report.

Moody’s said Jan. 27 that it’s evaluating whether to lower GE’s Aaa rating, a review that typically takes about 90 days. Bonds ranked below Baa3 by Moody’s or less than BBB- by Standard & Poor’s are considered high-yield, high-risk, or junk.

GE Capital in January sold $4.5 billion of 2.2 percent FDIC- backed bonds at 116 basis points more than U.S. Treasuries, Bloomberg data show. The securities maturing in June 2012 were quoted at 79 basis points over the benchmark today, according to Pershing LLC prices.

hbm said...

This is why Stewart is NO HBM.

I can think of three reasons off the top of my head:

1. He's richer.
2. He's more talented.
3. He's Jewish.

Oh yeah -- he also has more hair.

(I'm still trying to figure out why Buster thinks I'm a Jew. But I'm not trying too hard -- the mind of Buster is a dark and foreboding place where one does not want to linger long.)

Anonymous said...

(I'm still trying to figure out why Buster thinks I'm a Jew. But I'm not trying too hard -- the mind of Buster is a dark and foreboding place where one does not want to linger long.)

###

Eh, The yarmulke you wear on your penis.

Duncan McGeary said...

I've started a new mystery over on my A Daily Novel blog (see my profile) that you guys might find sort of....familiar.

Any similarity to persons living or dead are purely coincidental.

I think you guys will get a kick out of it....

Duncan McGeary said...

Oh...it's called The Twitter Murders, and it's based in Bend.

Bewert said...

The Inflection Is Near?

By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
Published: March 7, 2009

Sometimes the satirical newspaper The Onion is so right on, I can’t resist quoting from it. Consider this faux article from June 2005 about America’s addiction to Chinese exports: FENGHUA, China — Chen Hsien, an employee of Fenghua Ningbo Plastic Works Ltd., a plastics factory that manufactures lightweight household items for Western markets, expressed his disbelief Monday over the “sheer amount of [garbage] Americans will buy. Often, when we’re assigned a new order for, say, ‘salad shooters,’ I will say to myself, ‘There’s no way that anyone will ever buy these.’ ... One month later, we will receive an order for the same product, but three times the quantity. How can anyone have a need for such useless [garbage]? I hear that Americans can buy anything they want, and I believe it, judging from the things I’ve made for them,” Chen said. “And I also hear that, when they no longer want an item, they simply throw it away. So wasteful and contemptible.”

Let’s today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: “No more.”

We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese ...

We can’t do this anymore.


“We created a way of raising standards of living that we can’t possibly pass on to our children,” said Joe Romm, a physicist and climate expert who writes the indispensable blog climateprogress.org. We have been getting rich by depleting all our natural stocks — water, hydrocarbons, forests, rivers, fish and arable land — and not by generating renewable flows.

“You can get this burst of wealth that we have created from this rapacious behavior,” added Romm. “But it has to collapse, unless adults stand up and say, ‘This is a Ponzi scheme. We have not generated real wealth, and we are destroying a livable climate ...’ Real wealth is something you can pass on in a way that others can enjoy.”

Over a billion people today suffer from water scarcity; deforestation in the tropics destroys an area the size of Greece every year — more than 25 million acres; more than half of the world’s fisheries are over-fished or fished at their limit.

“Just as a few lonely economists warned us we were living beyond our financial means and overdrawing our financial assets, scientists are warning us that we’re living beyond our ecological means and overdrawing our natural assets,” argues Glenn Prickett, senior vice president at Conservation International. But, he cautioned, as environmentalists have pointed out: “Mother Nature doesn’t do bailouts.”

One of those who has been warning me of this for a long time is Paul Gilding, the Australian environmental business expert. He has a name for this moment — when both Mother Nature and Father Greed have hit the wall at once — “The Great Disruption.”

“We are taking a system operating past its capacity and driving it faster and harder,” he wrote me. “No matter how wonderful the system is, the laws of physics and biology still apply.” We must have growth, but we must grow in a different way. For starters, economies need to transition to the concept of net-zero, whereby buildings, cars, factories and homes are designed not only to generate as much energy as they use but to be infinitely recyclable in as many parts as possible. Let’s grow by creating flows rather than plundering more stocks.

Gilding says he’s actually an optimist. So am I. People are already using this economic slowdown to retool and reorient economies. Germany, Britain, China and the U.S. have all used stimulus bills to make huge new investments in clean power. South Korea’s new national paradigm for development is called: “Low carbon, green growth.” Who knew? People are realizing we need more than incremental changes — and we’re seeing the first stirrings of growth in smarter, more efficient, more responsible ways.

In the meantime, says Gilding, take notes: “When we look back, 2008 will be a momentous year in human history. Our children and grandchildren will ask us, ‘What was it like? What were you doing when it started to fall apart? What did you think? What did you do?’ ” Often in the middle of something momentous, we can’t see its significance. But for me there is no doubt: 2008 will be the marker — the year when ‘The Great Disruption’ began.

hbm said...

Eh, The yarmulke you wear on your penis.

You've never seen my penis, dude, and never will. So there.

Congratulations on spelling "yarmulke" right, though. I never can. Guess maybe you're more Jewish than I am.

Duncan McGeary said...

Anybody got any ideas how to incorporate blogs or twitters in a murder mystery, let me know.

I'll be knocking off Bend developers.

hbm said...

Speaking of "paradises," check out my post today on The Wandering Eye about Business Week ranking Portland as the Unhappiest City in the US.

According to their numbers, Portland has 222 cloudy days a year (one factor in its No. 1 ranking). Now, if Portland has 222 cloudy days a year, there is NO FUCKING WAY Bend has 300 sunny days a year. The same storms that roll in off the Pacific over Portland roll over Bend too. They dump most of their moisture on the west side of the mountains, but we still get the clouds.

But to somebody from Portland, Gloom Capital of America, Bend is "sunny," I guess.

Anonymous said...

BB2 but what does it really mean??

BruceBruce2 say's many, but Sherlock says it really means BruceBruceD, where 2 is the second letter in the alphabet after two(B).


No wonder the Bends two biggest attention Whore's have a third maggot name dunc? Eh?

Anonymous said...

It can't be about our three 'bruces' all the time ....

It sounds like the DEM's are tired of three months of the OREO's cock up there ass, ...


Democrats Stung by Dissenters
Unity on Agenda Eludes Party Leaders

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hoped to win enough GOP votes for the spending bill to offset Democratic nays.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hoped to win enough GOP votes for the spending bill to offset Democratic nays.

Democratic leaders in Congress did not expect much Republican support as they pressed President Obama's ambitious legislative agenda. But the pushback they are receiving from some of their own has come as an unwelcome surprise.

Anonymous said...

You've never seen my penis, dude, and never will. So there. - hbm


###

Please when I google 'Bruce Penis', I find enough links for a month of Bend in the winter.

Please HBM, no more 'bruce cock', and no more jealousy of Limbaughs 14yr old 'friends'.

#

Human Giant: Whacking the Standards and Chasing Bruce sHonda ...
Mar 11, 2008 ... While Season 2 features tried and true audience favorites such as “Shutterbugs,” and “The Illusionators,” new sketches “Bruce Penis,” ...
www.sentimentalistmag.com/2008/03/11/human-giant-whacking-the-standards-and-chasing-philip-seymour-hoffman/ - 51k - Cached - Similar pages
#
David Reimer - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Bruce (August 22, 1965 as Bruce – May 4, .... Brought up a Girl" and "Dr. Money and the Boy with No Penis" are based on his life. [9] ...
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer - 48k - Cached - Similar pages
#
#125 (bruce penis ) – UCSD Student Run Free Clinic – Trac
bruce penis . Reported by: None, Owned by: somebody. Priority: major, Milestone: Pharmacy Launch. Component: software, Version: 2.0 ...
www.freeclinicproject.org/trac/ticket/125 - 10k - Cached - Similar pages
#
NASSPE: Research > Bruce: the boy who was raised as a girl
Bruce was scheduled to go first.
The operation went horribly wrong. ... foreskin was turned up to maximum power, and baby Bruce's penis was literally fried. ...
www.singlesexschools.org/reimer.html - 18k - Cached - Similar pages
#
#418 (bruce penis ) - singpolyma - DevjaVu
Add/Change #418 (bruce penis ). Your email or username:. Comment (you may use WikiFormatting here):. Change Properties ...

Anonymous said...

OBAMA

Obama
Bush
Again
Molest
America

Anonymous said...

I'll be knocking off Bend developers. - dunc

*

It's beautiful dunc, but why do you want Bends, biggest donut hole wankers in YOUR fantasy land??

Oh, it was a 'techical question', just set the site up and promote it, I concur that given that Bend was #1 for RE appreciation the market is ripe.

I remember when I made my first $10M back in the 80's they used to say, ..

Be the First

Be the Fastest

Or be the best, ...

Three of three you made $100M ,2 of the 3, you made $10M, and 1 of 3, you made $1M,... Zero of three, ... You rolled, and ended up in Bend.

Go for it, get the work done, and out, and then worry about self-promotion.

Anonymous said...

Frequently lava say's bring back the old days, ... yes and I agree, ... we be hard ass assholes, and NOT be pussy's like dunc, bp, & hbM ( sHondaBruceMiller )

The Geithner is fucking coming down and hard, cuz he's got nothing that the OREO ain't got, and that is a warm bag of hot fucking air, ... Nobody in their RIGHT MINDS now wants to even apply for a job, under Bendict Arnold Geithner.


Democratic Lawmaker Laments Geithner's 'Mistake'


March 09, 2009 11:32 PM

ABC News' Matthew Jaffe reports: Rep. Elijah Cummings, a member of the Joint Economic Committee, told ABC News tonight that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner had made a "mistake" in announcing the financial stability plan, because it left critics suspecting that "maybe something's missing" and now his chances of success depend more on political sense than economic know-how.

"The guy is extremely bright, but the question is not if he's bright -- it's if he has the political sense to lead us out of this mess," Cummings said in a phone conversation with ABC News after attending Geithner's evening meeting with the House Democratic Caucus. "What he has to do is paint a picture that this can be done."

Cummings said Geithner's ill-fated unveiling of the administration's financial stability plan on Feb. 10 created doubts in the minds of critics.

"One of the worst things he did was that initial speech, because it set a pattern that maybe something's missing here in the minds of some people," said the Maryland lawmaker. "It's about trust."

"One of the biggest mistakes he made was coming out initially with that speech. He was seen as the golden boy ... and then for him to come out, with everyone on the edge of their seats waiting for a specific plan and all we got were some 'rah rahs' and 'go team' -- that didn't sit too well."

Despite the criticism directed at the treasury secretary, Cummings expressed confidence that Geithner is the right man for the job.

"I think he can do the job," Cummings said. "I think the guy is very competent."

"If Geithner were to go, it would hurt," Cummings cautioned. "A lot of this is [about] confidence."

But he added, "Probably the only person that can really keep the confidence of the American people is the president."

To keep the country's confidence, Cummings warned that President Obama will have to "deal with the Shelbys and the Grahams of the world," referring to Republican Sens. Richard Shelby and Lindsey Graham. "What the Republicans are doing is, I think they're saying anything but what Obama wants. They gave Bush eight years of patience and they haven't even given [Obama] eight weeks."

Cummings called Geithner's speech tonight to Democrats "a pep talk to say we are on the right course."

"Members were concerned that constituents want to see some lending and results, but they're getting tired of giving away money," noted the lawmaker, but he said that in response, Geithner reassured them that "your constituents may be doubting the road we're taking, but we've given it a lot of thought."

Cummings said Geithner told them that "we are doing more in weeks than other countries do in years."

As the Treasury Department addresses the financial crisis, Cummings said Geithner believes that some banks may fail, but argues the government has to do everything it can to stabilize the top 20 banks, because they hold 75 percent of the assets.

The Treasury's ongoing stress tests will assess the financial state of the nation's 20 biggest banks.

Cummings said Geithner "made it clear that when banks get money, they will have to lend and do away with these bonuses and junkets and in some institutions there may have to be a change in leadership, because it's important to have confidence."

All at a time when, as Cummings said, the country currently finds itself navigating in "uncharted waters."

Anonymous said...

Geithners Mistake? Hello is this like Portnoy (bruces) Mistake?

The Geithner was a brown-noser to Summers, Bernanke and Greenspan. What does that mean in 2009? It means that your nasal cavity is impacted and not even ( Exlax ) can relieve the impaction.

What they say? Geithner he's smart jew, but he's got no media outlet behind him.

Problem with 'winning' OK, OREO he won the BIG toilet seat, now what?? Yes, NOW WHAT??

So OREO sit all constipated on the toilet, and nobody in DEM or PUG willing to share the OIL.

Of course its great IRONY, cuz BUSH and/or McCain couldn't have run BUSH3 with Geithner even on the ricket, ... but OREO kicks HRC's ass by announcing he's GOT the GEITHNER on his ticket, WTF so won!!! But what did he really win??


So Geithner, who has had Summers, Bernanke, and Greenspan in his ass, mouth, since child-hood, what new 'hope & change' he bring to the table??

Anonymous said...

Cummings said Geithner "made it clear that when banks get money, they will have to lend and do away with these bonuses and junkets and in some institutions there may have to be a change in leadership, because it's important to have confidence."

###

Who are these turds fucking?

Just last week OREO/GEITHNER took off the CAPS of all TARP/TALF bonuses and pay, cuz they said it was 'hurtin recruitment', turns out that criminals only apply and want a premium. Who would have guessed?

The sad fucking thing is the original TARP/TALF CAP's were signed under BUSH, and then by exec-Order last week by OREO removed, ... suspicious that OREO is a bigger friend of WallSt than 'W'??

Yeh, Geithner made it 'clear' when he was under BUSH, that he would limit bonuses, ... but under OREO Giethner has found a new drummer.

Who would have guessed??

Anonymous said...

I'll sign off, but unlike the majority of the KUNT's on this blog I feel some shit needs to be documented.

The Beauty of game 'W' Bush Shrub was money for all, hell all you had to be is 'near' to the game, and you pulled down $10M/yr, hell even the three bruces, could live on that.

What's fascinating now in 2009, is that now the MICROSCOPE is on all the BIG MONEY, NOTE that Geithner has to date found virtually NOBODY that will work for him?

But think? What does it pay? Maybe $100k/yr with taxes, all the while you can be on the GEITHNER express out back of micky-D's on a bank too BIG toO FAIL, and you could be getting a $$$ with NO-CAP....

So which one young banking kids? Going to apply to the lightning rod of robbery? Or are you going to be on the end of the shit-trough that gets the CASH??

So I think ameriKKKa has reaching a new level. Now its not your job, or title, or position, but its where you are in relationship to the FEDERAL-RESERVE dump-truck.

Want to make real money in ONE-YEAR and retire for life??

Pay no attention to your TV, read BB2, and learn how the big boyz rob trillions 'legally'.

hbm said...

Bonjour, cunts and pussies!

Working families were in deep trouble long before this megarecession hit. But too many of the public officials who should have been looking out for the middle class and the poor were part of the reckless and shockingly shortsighted alliance of conservatives and corporate leaders that rigged the economy in favor of the rich and ultimately brought it down completely.

As Jared Bernstein, now the chief economic adviser to Vice President Joseph Biden, wrote in the preface to his book, “Crunch: Why Do I Feel So Squeezed? (And Other Unsolved Economic Mysteries)”:

“Economics has been hijacked by the rich and powerful, and it has been forged into a tool that is being used against the rest of us.”

Working people were not just abandoned by big business and their ideological henchmen in government, they were exploited and humiliated. They were denied the productivity gains that should have rightfully accrued to them. They were treated ruthlessly whenever they tried to organize. They were never reasonably protected against the savage dislocations caused by revolutions in technology and global trade.


Working people were told that all of this was good for them, and whether out of ignorance or fear or prejudice or, as my grandfather might have said, damned foolishness, many bought into it. They signed onto tax policies that worked like a three-card monte game. And they were sold a snake oil concoction called “trickle down” that so addled their brains that they thought it was a wonderful idea to hand over their share of the nation’s wealth to those who were already fabulously rich.

America used to be better than this.

The seeds of today’s disaster were sown some 30 years ago. Looking at income patterns during that period, my former colleague at The Times, David Cay Johnston, noted that from 1980 (the year Ronald Reagan was elected) to 2005, the national economy, adjusted for inflation, more than doubled. (Because of population growth, the actual increase per capita was about 66 percent.)

But the average income for the vast majority of Americans actually declined during those years. The standard of living for the average family improved not because incomes grew but because women entered the workplace in droves.

As hard as it may be to believe, the peak income year for the bottom 90 percent of Americans was way back in 1973, when the average income per taxpayer, adjusted for inflation, was $33,000. That was nearly $4,000 higher, Mr. Johnston pointed out, than in 2005.

Men have done particularly poorly. Men who are now in their 30s — the prime age for raising families — earn less money than members of their fathers’ generation did at the same age.

It may seem like ancient history, but in the first few decades following World War II, the United States, despite many serious flaws, established the model of a highly productive society that shared its prosperity widely and made investments that were geared toward a more prosperous, more fulfilling future.

The American dream was alive and well and seemingly unassailable. But somehow, following the oil shocks, the hyperinflation and other traumas of the 1970s, Americans allowed the right-wingers to get a toehold — and they began the serious work of smothering the dream.

Ronald Reagan saw Medicare as a giant step on the road to socialism. Newt Gingrich, apparently referring to the original fee-for-service version of Medicare, which was cherished by the elderly, cracked, “We don’t get rid of it in Round One because we don’t think it’s politically smart.”

The right-wingers were crafty: You smother the dream by crippling the programs that support it, by starving the government of money to pay for them, by funneling the government’s revenues to the rich through tax cuts and other benefits, by looting the government the way gangsters loot legitimate businesses and then pleading poverty when it comes time to fund the services required by the people.

The anti-tax fanatic Grover Norquist summed the matter up nicely when he famously said, “Our goal is to shrink the government to the size where you can drown it in a bathtub.” Only they didn’t shrink the government, they enlarged it and turned its bounty over to the rich.

Now, with the economy in free fall and likely to get worse, Americans — despite their suffering — have an opportunity to reshape the society, and then to move it in a fairer, smarter and ultimately more productive direction. That is the only way to revive the dream, but it will take a long time and require great courage and sacrifice.

The right-wingers do not want that to happen, which is why they are rooting so hard for President Obama’s initiatives to fail. They like the direction that the country took over the past 30 years. They’d love to do it all again. -- Bob Herbert

Anonymous said...

March 10, 2009

Geithner Out of is League, To Bring in HR Cohen to run US treasury... Hilarious, cuz this is the jew-lawyer all along telling Geithner who & how to bail out banks behind the scenes.

Dealmaker of the Week: S&C's H. Rodgin Cohen

Posted by Brian Baxter

This week's crisis on Wall Street presented The Am Law Daily with the right moment to launch a new feature. And it meant that Sullivan & Cromwell chairman H. Rodgin Cohen--our first Dealmaker of the Week--had a few more rescues of prominent financial institutions to add to his already lengthy resume.

Our choice was easy. Cohen has been the man in demand by companies struggling to ride out the latest subprime-related rollercoaster roiling the capital markets. His work this past week alone includes advising Lehman Brothers on its limited options prior to filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Monday and counseling AIG in its $85 billion bailout by the Federal Reserve on Tuesday. The longtime S&C partner was on a roll even before these events unraveled last weekend--Cohen advised Fannie Mae on its seizure by the federal government on September 7.

In March, Cohen represented Bear Stearns's board of directors in the company's hastily arranged acquisition by JPMorgan Chase. And in late 2007 he led a team of S&C banking lawyers to secure financing from sovereign wealth funds for struggling Wall Street banks. (We should note that the two financial institutions Cohen and his partners advised on those foreign investments--Citigroup and Morgan Stanley--have thus far survived the credit crunch intact, but who can predict what tomorrow will bring.)

It's because of these and countless other matters that Cohen's bio describes the lawyer as one who "has been engaged in most of the major bank acquisitions in the United States" and has "participated in the resolution of most major bank failures." That's no exaggeration.

S&C partner Donald Toumey once told The American Lawyer that there are two Rodge Cohens: "[O]ne sleeps one day while the other works, and then they switch places."

Cohen has been with S&C since 1970. He made partner in 1977 and was elected chairman in 2000. Over the course of his career he's been profiled in publications like our own sibling paper, Legal Times, to The New York Times. And he has been anointed a "Dealmaker of the Year" by The American Lawyer three times: in 2002, 2006, and 2007. (Anyone care to wager on how soon he'll earn a fourth?)

With Washington Mutual fighting for survival and Morgan Stanley mulling a reported merger with Wachovia, perhaps the only thing Cohen need fear is a diminishing client base seeking out his specialized services.

Something tells us he'll manage.

Anonymous said...

Since the 1970's, one lawyer has counciled Greenspan, Summers, Bernanke, and groomed the young Geithner. Today H. Rodgin Cohen, #1 Jewish Banker lawyer in NY will run the US Treasury.

...

Each year, over 300 individuals from across the Banking and Finance community come together to honor the achievements of an outstanding individual in their industry and to help people in need in New York and throughout the world by raising funds for United Jewish Banking-Federation of New York.

This year, Robert P. Kelly, CEO of The Bank of New York Mellon, was honored with the 2008 United Jewsish Bankers-Federation of New York Banking and Finance Award. The guest speaker was David M. Walker, President and CEO of the Peter G. Peterson Foundation and former Comptroller General of the United States.

Past Banking and Finance Dinner Honorees:

2006: H. Rodgin Cohen, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Anonymous said...

Raw Power, the Boss-Hogg's BOSS-HOGG is now coming out from behind the curtain.

....
http://news.muckety.com/2008/09/08/h-rodgin-cohen-at-epicenter-of-fannie-mae-freddy-mac-crisis/4901?rLink
....

H. Rodgin Cohen at epicenter of Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac crisis
By A. James Memmott
September 8, 2008 at 11:09am

H. Rodgin Cohen may not be well known away from Wall Street, but he would seem to be the first person called in times of bank failure, acquisitions or mergers.

Consequently, it’s no surprise that Cohen, the chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell, a powerhouse law firm, took part in the recent talks between the U.S. Department of the Treasury and mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.
...
view the map of power
http://news.muckety.com/2008/09/08/h-rodgin-cohen-at-epicenter-of-fannie-mae-freddy-mac-crisis/4901?rLink
...

Cohen represented Fannie Mae and Daniel H. Mudd, its CEO, when he met last week with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson. Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, also attended.

On Sunday, Paulson announced the government takeover of both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Both companies have been hard hit by a wave of mortgage foreclosures, and the government is going to send much-needed capital their way.

As part of the deal, Mudd and Richard F. Syron, his counterpart at Freddie Mac, leave their posts, though they will remain for a while as advisers. Herbert M. Allison Jr., the former chairman of TIAA-CREF, will replace Mudd. David M. Moffett, a senior adviser with the Carlyle Group and a former vice chairman of US Bancorp, takes over for Syron at Freddie Mac.

Cohen, a native of West Virginia, came to this crisis with more than three decades of experience in high-stakes financial showdowns.

A graduate of Harvard Law School and a veteran of the U.S. Army, he joined Sullivan & Cromwell in 1970 and became a partner in 1977.

Over the years, Cohen’s efforts have “fundamentally altered the banking landscape,” according to CFO Magazine.

He helped do this in part by discovering a legal loophole that allowed banks to expand beyond state lines and thereby change the industry.

Cohen has also been involved in a steady stream of bank acquisitions, including the joining of Chase Manhattan and Chemical Bank and the merger of Norwest and Wells Fargo.

Cohen has likewise been a key player in rescue efforts involving failed banks.

He helped in the aftermath of the 1974 collapse of Franklin National Bank, and he represented the struggling Continental Illinois Bank in its 1984 negotiations with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Recently, Cohen was a key player in the talks that led to the fire-sale acquisition of Bear Stearns Companies by JP Morgan Chase & Co.

Cohen was also involved in the resolution of the 1980 Iran hostage crisis, helping obtain through the release of frozen Iran bank deposits the money that was necessary to free the hostages.

“When the phone call came saying the hostages had landed, it was the most exhilarating feeling I’ve experienced,” he later told The New York Times.

Cohen reportedly has a less-is-more style that works well at the conference table.

“He has a quiet sense of authority in a boardroom,” Hamid Biglari of Citigroup told The Financial Times. “He speaks infrequently. He is not one to dominate a conversation by holding forth. But when he does speak, everyone listens very carefully.”

Anonymous said...

Bernanke attempts to relieve those who own him,, ...


Bernanke's speech to Council on Foreign Relations
Tue Mar 10, 2009 8:55am EDT


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The following is the full text of U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke's speech on Tuesday to the Council on Foreign Relations on "Financial Reform to Address Systemic Risk."

The world is suffering through the worst financial crisis since the 1930s, a crisis that has precipitated a sharp downturn in the global economy. Its fundamental causes remain in dispute. In my view, however, it is impossible to understand this crisis without reference to the global imbalances in trade and capital flows that began in the latter half of the 1990s. In the simplest terms, these imbalances reflected a chronic lack of saving relative to investment in the United States and some other industrial countries, combined with an extraordinary increase in saving relative to investment in many emerging market nations. The increase in excess saving in the emerging world resulted in turn from factors such as rapid economic growth in high-saving East Asian economies accompanied, outside of China, by reduced investment rates; large buildups in foreign exchange reserves in a number of emerging markets; and substantial increases in revenues received by exporters of oil and other commodities. Like water seeking its level, saving flowed from where it was abundant to where it was deficient, with the result that the United States and some other advanced countries experienced large capital inflows for more than a decade, even as real long-term interest rates remained low.

The global imbalances were the joint responsibility of the United States and our trading partners, and although the topic was a perennial one at international conferences, we collectively did not do enough to reduce those imbalances. However, the responsibility to use the resulting capital inflows effectively fell primarily on the receiving countries, particularly the United States. The details of the story are complex, but, broadly speaking, the risk-management systems of the private sector and government oversight of the financial sector in the United States and some other industrial countries failed to ensure that the inrush of capital was prudently invested, a failure that has led to a powerful reversal in investor sentiment and a seizing up of credit markets. In certain respects, our experience parallels that of some emerging-market countries in the 1990s, whose financial sectors and regulatory regimes likewise proved inadequate for efficiently investing large inflows of saving from abroad. When those failures became evident, investors lost confidence and crises ensued. A clear and highly consequential difference, however, is that the crises of the 1990s were regional, whereas the current crisis has become global.1

In the near term, governments around the world must continue to take forceful and, when appropriate, coordinated actions to restore financial market functioning and the flow of credit. I have spoken on a number of occasions about the steps that the U.S. government, and particularly the Federal Reserve, is taking along these lines.2 Until we stabilize the financial system, a sustainable economic recovery will remain out of reach. In particular, the continued viability of systemically important financial institutions is vital to this effort. In that regard, the Federal Reserve, other federal regulators, and the Treasury Department have stated that they will take any necessary and appropriate steps to ensure that our banking institutions have the capital and liquidity necessary to function well in even a severe economic downturn. Moreover, we have reiterated the U.S. government's determination to ensure that systemically important financial institutions continue to be able to meet their commitments.

At the same time that we are addressing such immediate challenges, it is not too soon for policymakers to begin thinking about the reforms to the financial architecture, broadly conceived, that could help prevent a similar crisis from developing in the future. We must have a strategy that regulates the financial system as a whole, in a holistic way, not just its individual components. In particular, strong and effective regulation and supervision of banking institutions, although necessary for reducing systemic risk, are not sufficient by themselves to achieve this aim.

Today, I would like to talk about four key elements of such a strategy. First, we must address the problem of financial institutions that are deemed too big--or perhaps too interconnected--to fail. Second, we must strengthen what I will call the financial infrastructure--the systems, rules, and conventions that govern trading, payment, clearing, and settlement in financial markets--to ensure that it will perform well under stress. Third, we should review regulatory policies and accounting rules to ensure that they do not induce excessive procyclicality--that is, do not overly magnify the ups and downs in the financial system and the economy. Finally, we should consider whether the creation of an authority specifically charged with monitoring and addressing systemic risks would help protect the system from financial crises like the one we are currently experiencing. My discussion today will focus on the principles that should guide regulatory reform, leaving aside important questions concerning how the current regulatory structure might be reworked to reduce balkanization and overlap and increase effectiveness. I also will not say much about the international dimensions of the issue but will take as self-evident that, in light of the global nature of financial institutions and markets, the reform of financial regulation and supervision should be coordinated internationally to the greatest extent possible.

Too Big to Fail

In a crisis, the authorities have strong incentives to prevent the failure of a large, highly interconnected financial firm, because of the risks such a failure would pose to the financial system and the broader economy. However, the belief of market participants that a particular firm is considered too big to fail has many undesirable effects. For instance, it reduces market discipline and encourages excessive risk-taking by the firm. It also provides an artificial incentive for firms to grow, in order to be perceived as too big to fail. And it creates an unlevel playing field with smaller firms, which may not be regarded as having implicit government support. Moreover, government rescues of too-big-to-fail firms can be costly to taxpayers, as we have seen recently. Indeed, in the present crisis, the too-big-to-fail issue has emerged as an enormous problem.

Anonymous said...

OBAMA 'CHANGE' DEFINED, ... The HIGHEST PAID LOBBYISTS ARE NOW DEM RATHER THAN PUG. HOPE&CHANGE is COMPLETE!!!


K Street woos Howard Dean, other Democrats
By Carol Eisenberg
March 10, 2009 at 7:37am

Only a few years ago, Democrats feared being frozen out of Washington’s lucrative lobby world.

Republicans, who controlled the White House and Congress, had launched the so-called ‘K Street Project’ to pressure companies, lobby firms and trade groups to hire only Republicans for top influence-peddling jobs.

Hint: Click in map to explore connectionsStory continues below interactive map
Click to activate this MucketyMap
Click to activate interactive map
(requires Java)
MAP HINTS: Click expands a name. Control+Click centers map on a name. Solid lines are current relations. Dotted lines are former relations. http://news.muckety.com/2009/03/10/k-street-woos-howard-dean-other-democrats/12821


But times have changed: With Democrats ensconced in the White House and both houses of Congress, it is their operatives who are now being snapped up. And make no mistake: Bidding wars are occurring over folks with the right connections - people like former Democratic National Chairman Howard Dean, Obama campaign political director Matthew Nugen and Michael Paese, former deputy director of the House Financial Services Committee.
Howard Dean
Howard Dean

No matter Barack Obama’s promise to reduce the influence of lobbyists. No matter the tanking economy.

“Barack Obama campaigned on change. Well, change is good for the lobbying business,” Ed Rogers, a former aide to President Ronald Reagan and now chairman of BGR Group, formerly Barbour, Griffith & Rogers, told the Washington Post. “People will need the expertise and guidance more in the next year than they have in the last five.”

After all, corporate clients who will be affected by Obama’s plans on energy, health care or taxes need people who know what’s on the table and how to become part of the discussion. Others are eager to get a piece of the economic stimulus bill.

And in the words of one seasoned Hill player, access is in the anvil of power in Washington. And to get it, you need people who know the people in charge.

Consider these recent hires:

* Dean, the former DNC chairman, Vermont governor and presidential candidate, who once disparaged John McCain as “a guy who is very close to the lobbyist community,” has signed on with law and lobbying mega-firm McKenna Long & Aldridge as a consultant.

* Nugen, Obama’s former political director and a veteran Democratic operative, is now a “strategic adviser” with Ogilvy Government Relations.

* Jeff Berman, who directed Obama’s national delegate operation, has joined Bryan Cave as “of counsel”.

* Brian Wolff, the executive director of the House Democratic campaign committee and longtime political director to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, accepted a top position at the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), an investor-owned utility trade group which fought climate-change regulation in the past.

* Paese, who had been an aide to Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, and the deputy director of the House Financial Services Committee, became executive vice president of the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association, the trade group.

* Jaime R. Harrison, who helped mobilize voter turnout for Obama in South Carolina, and for the past two years directed floor operations for House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.), now with the Podesta Group.

* Patrick Von Bargen, a former chief of staff to Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and aide to William Donaldson, the former chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, went to Quinn Gillespie.

The lure of big salaries goes a long way to explaining the divide between campaign rhetoric and actual practice. So does a title that sidesteps the dread ‘l’ word.

David Kirkpatrick of the New York Times actually put a pricetag on the partisan transformation of the capitol: Three years ago, an assistant department secretary leaving the Bush administration - with Republicans in control of the House, Senate and White House - might have fetched as much $600,000 to $1 million a year as a lobbyist, he quoted recruiters. That same person might now expect less than half as much.

But for Democrats, the bidding is fierce. Three years ago, a Democratic staff director for an important House or Senate committee might have earned about $130,000 a year on Capitol Hill, and jumped to K Street for an annual salary of about $250,000. Now, the same person might command as much as $500,000 to $800,000 a year, several recruiters said.

… For an industry that prefers to talk about selling policy expertise and sophisticated arguments, the turnabout is a stark reminder that what clients want are personal connections. “People who need to get something done know what the price of a drink is,” said Peter Metzger, vice chairman of the recruiting firm CT Partners. “This may sound terribly Washington, but access trumps expertise.”

It certainly makes a difference that many of the issues Obama has zeroed in on, such as health-care policy, energy and taxes, have implications for some of the lobbying world’s most free-spending corporate clients.

Von Bargen told the Washington Post that he joined Quinn Gillespie with the expectation that his knowledge of clean energy issues would be a strong asset.

“People who have labored in Democratic vineyards for years are familiar with the people involved, but also with the substantive issues, and how Democrats approach those issues,” he said.

Laura Sheehan, who recently became vice president of marketing and communications for the American Gas Association, had been policy director at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and a top aide to Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.).

“After the last election, when the House flipped, I got three to four serious job inquiries on election night just because of my party background,” she told the Post.

She did not take any of those positions then, but when the same thing happened again this year., decided to give it a shot.

Anonymous said...

Tim Geithner Suffers Through Late-Night Meeting With Angry Democrats

Bend, Oregon (C) The Bulletin
March 10, 2009

Yeah not fun.

Eek, would you want to be locked in a room getting yelled at by Henry Waxman for hours and hours? Because that is how Tim Geithner got to spend his Monday night, hooray! He has the worst job in America, worse even than those people who clean up murder scenes or give Rush Limbaugh enemas.

A meeting that ran “late into the night” featured a bunch of angry Democrats screaming at Tim Geithner about how he wasn’t fixing the economy fast enough. He explained that these things take time, world’s biggest economy blah blah blah, plus he has nobody to help him.

(Speaking of, faithful tipster Karl Rove Jr. — we assume that is his real name, of course — suggests Geithner hire the delightful Simon Johnson, who was on Fresh Air recently making all kinds of sense about bank nationalization. We heartily second this suggestion, except that Geithner would never in a million zillion years hire some dude who wants to nationalize the banks.)

Anyway, so. Tim Geithner will probably quit or just die of a heart attack soon because jesus christ, what an awful job.

Anonymous said...

So, which is worse: being yelled at by for hours by Henry Waxman or giving Rush Limbaugh an enema? Your article fails to address this crucial question.

Anonymous said...

Fleetwood is toast today, RV BK nirvana.

Bank Stocks sky rocket on NEWS that JEW-BANK-MOB lawyer 'Cohen' will hold Geithner's DICK.

Street knows that Giethner is a 'pussy' and is not a professional LIAR(lawyer).

COHEN is the 'fixit' man behind all BANK BK's going back to the 1970's, himself a billionaire.

I love ameriKKKa and so does wall-st.

Anonymous said...

In the simplest terms, these imbalances reflected a chronic lack of saving relative to investment in the United States and some other industrial countries, combined with an extraordinary increase in saving relative to investment in many emerging market nations.

Read this above: It's Bernake blaming developing nations for saving TOO MUCH.

Now why would they want to do this?

Maybe because in the 1990s Asian countries experienced massive inflows of capital (from people like G. Soros) that could be quickly whooshed out of the country to destabilize the currency or whatever to reap $$$ off those countries.

Same thing has happened to Iceland last year.

These countries said ENOUGH and effectively shut down these short run currency inflows/outflows, and started saving BIG reserves so that they'd never get fucked again.

In other words, they were SMART and CAREFUL.

Now a lot of their reserves are in dollars. As they buy U.S. T bills, this strenghthens the value of the dollar, and we buy all the foreign-made shit.

Bernanke was famous for saying there's a global "savings glut."

Imagine that: places where people save "too much."

You see, this is the root of our problems (according to Bernanke). Other countries saved too much, their people didn't buy enough, and Voila, you have a crisis in the U.S.

Got that?

hbm said...

Hilarious, cuz this is the jew-lawyer all along telling Geithner who & how to bail out banks behind the scenes.

"Da JOOS!Da JOOS!It's always da JOOS!"

Thank you, Dr. Goebbels.

Anonymous said...

Bank Stocks sky rocket on NEWS that JEW-BANK-MOB lawyer 'H. Rodgin Cohen' will hold Geithner's DICK.

Street knows that Giethner is a 'pussy' and is not a professional LIAR(lawyer).

COHEN is the 'fixit' man behind all BANK BK's going back to the 1970's, himself a billionaire.

Anonymous said...

You see, this is the root of our problems (according to Bernanke). Other countries saved too much, their people didn't buy enough, and Voila, you have a crisis in the U.S.

*

More & More people will simply tune the US out, and let it implode.

Bewert said...

US is becoming increasingly irrelevant to the rest of the world. Our dominance by pro-Israel media and power centers is just one example.

###

Intelligence Pick Withdraws Name Amid Controversy

National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair announced former Ambassador Chas Freeman's decision in a statement Tuesday.

Chas Freeman, the former ambassador appointed to be the military's top intelligence analyst, has withdrawn his name following complaints from Democratic and Republican lawmakers who said he was too entangled in foreign affairs to handle the job.

National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair, who originally appointed Freeman to the post of National Intelligence Council chairman, announced the move in a statement Tuesday.

"Charles W. Freeman Jr. has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed. Director Blair accepted Ambassador Freeman's decision with regret," the statement said.

The announcement came just hours after Blair defended Freeman before a Senate committee.

But Freeman had become a political lightning rod since he was tapped two weeks ago for the post.

Lawmakers had objected to several controversial statements Freeman has made about Israel and Iraq. And they said the former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia was too close to that country, as well as to China.

Following those complaints, the inspector general for the director of national intelligence agreed last week to examine Freeman's foreign ties. At the time, Blair said the inquiry would put to rest any questions about Freeman.

But a number of top lawmakers, most of them Republicans, suggested Freeman's conflicts could be disqualifying.

Among their concerns were:

-- Freeman's role as president of the Middle East Policy Council, a think tank they say received funding from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Fuad A. Rihani, a consultant for the bin Ladin family's Saudi BinLadin Group, also sits on the group's board of directors -- another trouble spot for Freeman's critics. And they complained the council did not disclose its donors.

-- Freeman's role on a board for the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation, owned by China, and that company's reportedly $16 billion agreement with Iran to develop a gas field in the Middle Eastern country.

The controversy surrounding Freeman heated up last week when Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra, ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, said he wanted Freeman to withdraw his name. That was after he wrote to Blair on Monday expressing his doubt that Freeman could restore credibility to the national intelligence estimates, or NIEs, the intelligence reports Freeman would be involved in producing.

"I am ... deeply concerned that an individual who reportedly holds radical and extreme views would be chosen to oversee NIEs, the IC's most comprehensive and authoritative intelligence assessments," Hoekstra wrote, according to a copy of the letter obtained by FOXNews.com.

As NIC chairman, Freeman would have been responsible for drawing from assessments from all 16 intelligence agencies and formulating mid-and-long-term strategic intelligence plans.

More than a dozen lawmakers had already called for an investigation by the time Blair's inspector general, Edward Maguire, decided to launch one. Democratic Rep. Steve Israel, N.Y., first urged Maguire to launch a probe in a letter Saturday.

Rep. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Israel also asked Maguire to look into Freeman's work with the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation and its deal with Iran.

Blair argued that Freeman's rich background would make him an asset to the intelligence community and other foreign policy analysts had dismissed the criticism of him as a smear campaign.

Freeman has a formidable resume of foreign policy positions that include U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia under George H.W. Bush and assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs -- a position that earned him public service awards for his role in creating a NATO-centered post-Cold War European security system. Freeman also served as Richard Nixon's chief translator in China in 1972.

Blair's office said he did not seek White House approval for the appointment, which did not require Senate approval.

But statements the former ambassador made over the last three decades on U.S. peace efforts in the Middle East and Iran's threat to the international community had also prompted some to question his objectivity in a role that requires it.

In a speech to the Pacific Council on International Policy in October 2007, Freeman said the U.S. has "abandoned the role of Middle East peacemaker to back Israel's efforts to pacify its captive and increasingly ghettoized Arab populations."

"We wring our hands while sitting on them as the Jewish state continues to seize ever more Arab land for its colonists," he said.

In reference to the Iraq war, Freeman said, "Now the United States has brought the Palestinian experience -- of humiliation, dislocation, and death -- to millions more in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"By invading Iraq, we transformed an intervention in Afghanistan most Muslims had supported into what looks to them like a wider war against Islam. We destroyed the Iraqi state and catalyzed anarchy, sectarian violence, terrorism and civil war in that country."


Also, The Weekly Standard recently posted a 2006 e-mail from Freeman to a listserv in which he said the Chinese government was "overly cautious" in its effort to "intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud" during the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests.

###

This is truly personally disheartening. As Buster keeps telling me, Obama is bought and owned by Wall St. and AIPAC. I was really hoping it wasn't true.

Anonymous said...

God-Damn HBM bottom feeding jews.

* MARCH 10, 2009, 7:47 P.M. ET

Message from Charles Freeman


To all who supported me or gave me words of encouragement during the controversy of the past two weeks, you have my gratitude and respect.

You will by now have seen the statement by Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair reporting that I have withdrawn my previous acceptance of his invitation to chair the National Intelligence Council.

I have concluded that the barrage of libelous distortions of my record would not cease upon my entry into office. The effort to smear me and to destroy my credibility would instead continue. I do not believe the National Intelligence Council could function effectively while its chair was under constant attack by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country. I agreed to chair the NIC to strengthen it and protect it against politicization, not to introduce it to efforts by a special interest group to assert control over it through a protracted political campaign.

As those who know me are well aware, I have greatly enjoyed life since retiring from government. Nothing was further from my mind than a return to public service. When Admiral Blair asked me to chair the NIC I responded that I understood he was "asking me to give my freedom of speech, my leisure, the greater part of my income, subject myself to the mental colonoscopy of a polygraph, and resume a daily commute to a job with long working hours and a daily ration of political abuse." I added that I wondered "whether there wasn't some sort of downside to this offer." I was mindful that no one is indispensable; I am not an exception. It took weeks of reflection for me to conclude that, given the unprecedentedly challenging circumstances in which our country now finds itself abroad and at home, I had no choice but accept the call to return to public service. I thereupon resigned from all positions that I had held and all activities in which I was engaged. I now look forward to returning to private life, freed of all previous obligations.

I am not so immodest as to believe that this controversy was about me rather than issues of public policy. These issues had little to do with the NIC and were not at the heart of what I hoped to contribute to the quality of analysis available to President Obama and his administration. Still, I am saddened by what the controversy and the manner in which the public vitriol of those who devoted themselves to sustaining it have revealed about the state of our civil society. It is apparent that we Americans cannot any longer conduct a serious public discussion or exercise independent judgment about matters of great importance to our country as well as to our allies and friends.

The libels on me and their easily traceable email trails show conclusively that there is a powerful lobby determined to prevent any view other than its own from being aired, still less to factor in American understanding of trends and events in the Middle East. The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors.

There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government – in this case, the government of Israel. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.

The outrageous agitation that followed the leak of my pending appointment will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues. I regret that my willingness to serve the new administration has ended by casting doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the interests of the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government.

In the court of public opinion, unlike a court of law, one is guilty until proven innocent. The speeches from which quotations have been lifted from their context are available for anyone interested in the truth to read. The injustice of the accusations made against me has been obvious to those with open minds. Those who have sought to impugn my character are uninterested in any rebuttal that I or anyone else might make.

Still, for the record: I have never sought to be paid or accepted payment from any foreign government, including Saudi Arabia or China, for any service, nor have I ever spoken on behalf of a foreign government, its interests, or its policies. I have never lobbied any branch of our government for any cause, foreign or domestic. I am my own man, no one else's, and with my return to private life, I will once again – to my pleasure – serve no master other than myself. I will continue to speak out as I choose on issues of concern to me and other Americans.

I retain my respect and confidence in President Obama and DNI Blair. Our country now faces terrible challenges abroad as well as at home. Like all patriotic Americans, I continue to pray that our president can successfully lead us in surmounting them.

Anonymous said...

The tactics of the Israel Lobby plumb the depths of dishonor and indecency and include character assassination, selective misquotation, the willful distortion of the record, the fabrication of falsehoods, and an utter disregard for the truth. The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views, the substitution of political correctness for analysis, and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those that it favors. - Freeman

###

Not SAY? What about MOSS, or TEAM-1031, Sawyer, Eckman, Miller, Costa, Neuman, Switzer, ... are we not all AIPAC??

Anonymous said...

Charles Freeman, Roger Cohen and the changing Israel debate

(updated below - Update II)

Anyone who doubts that there has been a substantial -- and very positive -- change in the rules for discussing American policy towards Israel should consider two recent episodes: (1) the last three New York Times columns by Roger Cohen; and (2) the very strong pushback from a diverse range of sources against the neoconservative lynch mob trying, in typical fashion, to smear and destroy Charles Freeman due to his critical (in all senses of the word) views of American policy towards Israel. One positive aspect of the wreckage left by the Bush presidency is that many of the most sacred Beltway pieties stand exposed as intolerable failures, prominently including our self-destructively blind enabling of virtually all Israeli actions.

First, the Cohen columns: Two weeks ago, Cohen -- writing from Iran -- mocked the war-seeking cartoon caricature of that nation as The New Nazi Germany craving a Second Holocaust. To do so, Cohen reported on the relatively free and content Iranian Jewish community (25,000 strong). When that column prompted all sorts of predictable attacks on Cohen from the standard cast of Israel-centric thought enforcers (Jeffrey Goldberg, National Review, right-wing blogs, etc. etc.), Cohen wrote a second column breezily dismissing those smears and then bolstering his arguments further by pointing out that "significant margins of liberty, even democracy, exist" in Iran; that "Iran has not waged an expansionary war in more than two centuries"; and that "hateful, ultranationalist rhetoric is no Iranian preserve" given the ascension of Avigdor Lieberman in Benjamin Netanyahu's new Israeli government.

Today, Cohen returns with his most audacious column yet. Noting the trend in Britain and elsewhere to begin treating Hezbollah and Hamas as what they are -- namely, "organizations [that are] now entrenched political and social movements without whose involvement regional peace is impossible," rather than pure "Terrorist organizations" that must be shunned -- Cohen urges the Obama administration to follow this trend: the U.S. should "should initiate diplomatic contacts with the political wing of Hezbollah" and even "look carefully at how to reach moderate Hamas elements." As for the objection that those two groups have used violence in the past, Cohen offers the obvious response, though does so quite eloquently:

Speaking of violence, it’s worth recalling what Israel did in Gaza in response to sporadic Hamas rockets. It killed upward of 1,300 people, many of them women and children; caused damage estimated at $1.9 billion; and destroyed thousands of Gaza homes. It continues a radicalizing blockade on 1.5 million people squeezed into a narrow strip of land.

At this vast human, material and moral price, Israel achieved almost nothing beyond damage to its image throughout the world. Israel has the right to hit back when attacked, but any response should be proportional and governed by sober political calculation. The Gaza war was a travesty; I have never previously felt so shamed by Israel’s actions.

No wonder Hamas and Hezbollah are seen throughout the Arab world as legitimate resistance movements.

So absolute has the Israel-centric stranglehold on American policy been that the U.S. Government has made it illegal to broadcast Hezbollah television stations and has even devoted its resources to criminally prosecuting and imprisoning satellite providers merely for including Hezbollah's Al Manar channel in their cable package. Not even our Constitution's First Amendment has been a match for the endless exploitation of American policy, law and resources to target and punish Israel's enemies. But this trilogy of Cohen columns reflects the growing awareness of just how self-destructive is that mentality and, more importantly, the growing refusal to refrain from saying so.

* * * * *

The still-expanding battle over the appointment of Charles Freeman by Obama's DNI, Adm. Dennis Blair, provides even more compelling evidence. I'm not going to detail all of the facts surrounding this controversy because so many others have done such an excellent job of arguing the case -- particularly Andrew Sullivan (all week) and Stephen Walt -- and the crux of the matter was summarized perfectly last night by Josh Marshall:

The real rub, the basis of the whole controversy, however, is that [Freeman] has been far more critical of Israeli policy than is generally allowed within acceptable debate in Washington. . .

The whole effort strikes me as little more than a thuggish effort to keep the already too-constricted terms of debate over the Middle East and Israel/Palestine locked down and largely one-sided. . . . But the gist is that campaigns like this are ugly and should be resisted. Not just on general principles, but because the country needs more diversity of viewpoints on this issue right now.

Precisely. The Atlantic's James Fallows and Daniel Larison both compellingly document that the real issue here is whether the suffocating prohibition on government officials' questioning U.S. policy toward Israel will continue, or whether the range of permissive debate on this vital question will finally be expanded. The Freeman appointment is so important precisely because it signals that rejecting the long-standing orthodoxy on Israel is no longer disqualifying when it comes to high level government positions [and, perhaps as importantly, that it's now even permissible to raise the previously verboten point that perhaps one of the reasons why many Muslims want to attack the U.S. is because the U.S. (both on its own and through Israel) has spent decades continuously attacking, bombing, invading, occupying and otherwise interfering in Muslim countries].

Ezra Klein argues, persuasively, that even if Freeman ends up being appointed, the lynch-mob smear campaign will still have achieved its purpose:

But for Freeman's detractors, a loss might still be a win. As Sullivan and others have documented, the controversy over Freeman is fundamentally a question of his views on Israel. Barring a bad report from the inspector general, Chas Freeman will survive and serve. But only because his appointment doesn't require Senate confirmation. Few, however, will want to follow where he led. Freeman's career will likely top out at Director of the NIC. That's not a bad summit by any means. But for ambitious foreign policy thinkers who might one day aspire to serve in a confirmed capacity, the lesson is clear: Israel is off-limits. And so, paradoxically, the freethinking Freeman's appointment might do quite a bit to silence foreign policy dissenters who want to succeed in Washington.

There is, by design, definitely a chilling effect to these smear campaigns. Freeman is being dragged through the mud by the standard cast of accusatory Israel-centric neocons (Marty Peretz, Jon Chait, Jeffrey Goldberg, Commentary, The Weekly Standard's Michael Goldfarb, etc. etc., etc.), subjected to every standard, baseless smear, as a warning to others who think about challenging U.S. policy towards Israel in a similar way. Ultimately, though, I think that each time one of these swarming, hate-campaigns is swatted away, they incrementally lose their efficacy, emboldening others to risk their weakening wrath.

Ultimately, the greatest weapon to defeat these campaigns is to highlight the identity and behavior of their perpetrators. Just consider who is behind the attack on Freeman; how ugly and discredited are their tactics and ideology; and, most importantly, how absurd it is, given their disgraceful history, that they -- of all people -- would parade around as arbiters of "ideological extremism" and, more audaciously still, as credible judges of intelligence assessment. Sullivan compiled a comprehensive time line demonstrating that the attacks on Freeman originated and were amplified by the very same people for whom American devotion to Israel is the overriding if not exclusive priority and who have been so glaringly wrong about so much. Though they have since tried, with characteristic deceit and cowardice, to disguise their agenda by pretending to oppose Freeman on other, non-Israel grounds (such as their oh-so-authentic concern for Chinese human rights), that masquerading effort -- as Matt Yglesias notes here -- is so transparently dishonest as to be laughable.

Indeed, some of them, early on, were perfectly honest about the fact that Freeman's views on Israel is what has motivated their opposition, including the Israel-based "concerns" over the appointment voiced by Sen. Chuck Schumer to Rahm Emanuel. And -- demonstrating that these taboos are still formidible -- Schumer's sentiments have since been echoed by unnamed "Democratic leaders." Chuck Schumer, along with Dianne Feinstein, single-handedly enabled the confirmation of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General despite Mukaseky's refusal to say that waterboarding was torture (and Schumer even voted to confirm Michael Hayden as CIA Director despite his overseeing Bush's illegal NSA program). Yet Obama appoints someone who is critical of Israel and who questions American policy towards Israel, and Schumer springs into action by calling Rahm Emanuel to express "concern" over the appointment.

It's not a mystery what is behind this attack on Freeman. As Spencer Ackerman wrote last week:

Basically, Freeman's major sin is that he doesn't take a simplistic or blinkered view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and a number of mostly-right-wing Jewish writers at Commentary, the Weekly Standard, the Atlantic and The New Republic have been arguing that he's not fit to serve.

That's really the crux of the issue here: are we going to continue to allow these actual extremists to define "extremism" and dictate the acceptable range of views when it comes to Middle East policy?

As Ackerman noted the other day, one of the leading anti-Freeman generals is AIPAC's Steve Rosen, who has been indicted for passing American secrets onto the Israeli Government. That's almost satire: an AIPAC official accused of spying for a foreign country purporting to lead the charge against Freeman based on Freeman's "extremism" and excessive ties to another Middle Eastern country.

Or consider the Washington Post Op-Ed by The New Republic's Jonathan Chait railing that Freeman -- who opposed the attack on Iraq -- is an "ideological fanatic." That's the very same Jonathan Chait who spent 2002 and 2003 running around demanding that we invade Iraq and who even went on national television to declare: "I don't think you can argue that a regime change in Iraq won't demonstrably and almost immediately improve the living conditions of the Iraqi people." That's someone who -- after spending years working for Marty Peretz -- thinks he's in a position to demonize others as being "ideological extremists" and unfit to assess intelligence reports and to define the legitimate parameters of the debate over U.S. policy in the Middle East. To describe Chait's view of himself is to illustrate its absurdity.

Or review the rank propaganda and/or glaring ignorance spread by anti-Freeman crusade leader Jeffrey Goldberg before the Iraq War. Or just read this painfully deceitful, humiliatingly error-plagued 2003 column from Freeman critic Michael Moynihan of Reason. And that's to say nothing of the rest of the Weekly Standard and National Review propagandists purporting to sit in judgment of what constitutes mainstream views towards Israel. Just looking at the opponents of Freeman and their reckless history powerfully conveys how disastrous it would be to continue to allow this extremist clique, of all people, to continue to dictate the scope of legitimate debate over Israel, the Middle East and our intelligence policies generally. It's like allowing Dick Cheney and John Yoo to dictate what constitutes mainstream legal opinion and to reject prospective judges as being "extremists" on Constitutional questions.

Summing up the attacks on Freeman, Andrew Sullivan wrote that he finds "the hysterical bullying of this man to be repulsive." There's no question about that. Hysterical bullying -- rank character smearing -- is what they've been doing for many years in an attempt to intimidate people out of dissenting from their so-called "pro-Israel" orthodoxies. But last night, Sullivan made the more important observation about this controversy:

The idea that Obama should not have advisers who challenge some of the core assumptions of the Bush years, especially with respect to Israel-Palestine, seems nuts to me. And the impulse to blackball and smear someone as a bigot is reprehensible.

It's destructive enough to artificially limit debate on a matter as consequential as U.S. policy towards Israel. We've been doing that for many years now. But it's so much worse that the people who have been defining and dictating those limits are themselves extremists in every sense of that word when it comes to Israel and U.S. policy towards that country. Their demands that no distinctions be recognized between Israeli and Americans interests have been uniquely destructive for the U.S. Few things are more urgent than an expansion of the debate over U.S. policy in this area, which is exactly why this radical lynch mob is swarming with such intensity to destroy Freeman's reputation and fortify the limitations on our debates which, for so long, they have thuggishly enforced. If someone like Freeman can occupy a position like Chair of the National Intelligence Council -- handpicked by Obama's DNI, an Admiral -- the taboos they are so desperate to maintain will erode just that much further.



UPDATE: Greg Sargent reports that six of the most right-wing GOP Senators have now joined Chuck Schumer and other "Democratic leaders" by objecting to Freeman's appointment, thus forming the perfectly bipartisan attack in the U.S. that always emerges towards any critics of Israel. There are legitimate concerns about Freeman which have been raised -- including whether, as Reason's Matt Welch suggests, his long-standing, elaborate ties to Saudi Arabia impede his objectivity (though all anyone has to do is look at people like Elliot Abrams, Dennis Ross, Richard Perle and Doug Feith (or even Rahm Emanuel) to know that extensive ties to foreign Middle Eastern countries aren't considered disqualifying for high government posts). And long-time China resident James Fallows -- here and here -- demonstrates how pretextual are the objections to Freeman based on his positions towards China.

Credit, at least, to the 6 anti-Freeman GOP Senators who (unlike Jon Chait) are at least honest enough to admit that Freeman's views on Israel are a central cause for their opposition. At least with that sort of candor, it becomes apparent that the real question posed by the Freeman appointment is: "must one pledge allegiance to the right-wing, 'pro-Israel' agenda in order to serve in a high position in the American Government, or may one question and even oppose that agenda?"



UPDATE II: Three related items:

(1) The answer to the question posed by Andrew Sullivan here is "no."

(2) In one short post, former McCain spokesman Michael Goldfarb manages to demonstrate that he (a) doesn't understand and/or believe in the First Amendment and (b) doesn't understand and/or recognize the difference between Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. None of those deficiencies is remotely unusual for The Weekly Standard.

(3) Greg Sargent notes and documents the surge in defense of Freeman by a wide range of commentators.

Anonymous said...

Israel is off-limits. And so, paradoxically, the freethinking Freeman's appointment might do quite a bit to silence foreign policy dissenters who want to succeed in Washington.

Anonymous said...

6 anti-Freeman GOP Senators who (unlike Jon Chait) are at least honest enough to admit that Freeman's views on Israel are a central cause for their opposition. At least with that sort of candor, it becomes apparent that the real question posed by the Freeman appointment is: "must one pledge allegiance to the right-wing, 'pro-Israel' agenda in order to serve in a high position in the American Government, or may one question and even oppose that agenda?"

###

Yes, want to rob old Jews for $50B and keep the money? Then play the rules.

Want to walk with $30M in Bend-1031, then play the AIPAC rules.

Want to see Sawyer never spend a day in Jail?? Then play the AIPAC rules.

Want to see MOSS get CARP?? Then play the AIPAC rules.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Bend’s home prices drop; Redmond’s rise
Published: March 11. 2009 4:00AM PST

The median sales price of a single-family home in Bend fell to $215,000 in February, down from $233,000 in January and $318,000 in February 2008, according to the Bratton Report released Tuesday by Bratton Appraisal Group. Last month’s median price was 45.7 percent lower than Bend’s peak median in May 2007. The median sales price per square foot, considered a better measure of value, was $109 last month, down from $125 in January and $162 a year ago. There were 65 sales last month, down from 68 in January, but up from 56 last year.

In Redmond, the median sales price rose to $177,000 from $159,000 in January, but fell from $230,000 in February 2008. Last month’s median was 38.7 percent lower than the market’s peak median in November 2006. The median sales price per square foot was $88, down from $90 in January and $141 a year ago. There were 24 sales last month, up from 19 in January but down from 30 a year ago.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

The median sales price of a single-family home in Bend fell to $215,000 in February, down from... $318,000 in February 2008

Amazing. Typical homeowner lost $103,000 last year, or $2,000 per week by owning a home in Bend

The average was probably much more..

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

There were 24 sales last month, up from 19 in January but down from 30 a year ago.

I remember thinking when we cracked below 50 sales/month, that we'd really be in deep shit if it got much worse than that.

I was younger then.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

I'm seeing all sorts of For Sale signs sprouting everywhere. It's that time.

Remember the WALK AWAY, DON'T PAY lifestyle: You're probably going to lose another 40-50% on your house in the next 18 months, and if you're in a bind, it's time to run, not walk, away from your albatross home. Just stop making payments.

Cuz these home values are not coming back. This applies especially if you've lost your job: Stop making payments... that's the only way you'll get Obama Bucks anyway.

Anonymous said...

UTC one of the biggest defense firms is firing 12k employees. WHY?

They had originally assumed the economy would come back in 2009, now they fear the economy may not come back for a decade.

Who could have guessed?

The layoffs have now begun.

Anonymous said...

THE TRUTH IS NOW OUT, the OREO might be a nigger on the outside, but in the thin veneer is a white-man without a fucking clue. The age of OREO is over.

...

Fineman: Washington Establishment concluding Obama in over his head
posted at 8:53 am on March 11, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Newsweek has transformed itself over the past two years into the cheerleading section of the media Obamabots, but Howard Fineman throws a little cold water on the Age of Obama. The meme of the Greatest Transition Evah has faded away as Barack Obama stumbles from crisis to crisis, and not just in finance. The impression of incompetence has started to spread, and while his approval numbers still remain average, the DC establishment has begun to lose confidence in him.

Even as he delivers the bad news, Fineman still sounds like an apologist:

Surfer that he is, President Obama should know a riptide when he’s in one. The center usually is the safest, most productive place in politics, but perhaps not now, not in a once-in-a-century economic crisis.

Swimming in the middle, he’s denounced as a socialist by conservatives, criticized as a polite accommodationist by government-is-the-answer liberals, and increasingly, dismissed as being in over his head by technocrats.

Luckily for Obama, the public still likes and trusts him, at least judging by the latest polls, including NEWSWEEK’s.But, in ways both large and small, what’s left of the American establishment is taking his measure and, with surprising swiftness, they are finding him lacking.

They have some reasons to be concerned. I trace them to a central trait of the president’s character: he’s not really an in-your-face guy. By recent standards—and that includes Bill Clinton as well as George Bush—Obama for the most part is seeking to govern from the left, looking to solidify and rely on his own party more than woo Republicans. And yet he is by temperament judicious, even judicial. He’d have made a fine judge. But we don’t need a judge. We need a blunt-spoken coach.

So he’s “swimming in the middle” while “seeking to govern from the left”? No wonder people have trouble with his competence. I’m not even sure how Fineman bases his “swimming in the middle” assessment on policy or tone. He’s allowed Nancy Pelosi to lock Republicans out of the legislative process on Porkulus and the omnibus spending bill, tacitly allowed Congress to pass the pork-filled omnibus spending plan, and has rolled out a half-baked plan to vastly grow government over the next ten years as a supposed economic stimulus.

That’s only swimming in the middle if you write for Newsweek, or Mother Jones.

People find him lacking because he keeps failing on tasks large and small. Three Cabinet appointments have gone under in less than two months, as have other senior staff assignments. He promised an economic plan from Tim Geithner during his first press conference, only to have Geithner appear the next day and say that the dog ate his homework. The administration has still failed to roll out the details of TARP II, the auto bailouts, and the full plans for the mortgage relief plan, despite multiple promises to deliver them. His failure to understand protocol during Gordon Brown’s visit embarrassed the US and the Washington establishment, which knew full well how insultingly Obama treated the British Prime Minister.

Anonymous said...

Redmond has a new slogan.

"We're NOT BEND"

Result? Median home prices rise.

Anonymous said...

#1 Jew Bank Mob Lawyer to hold Giethners Dick.

SNL outs Geithner.

...

Top Wall St Mob Banking lawyer seen as contender for Treasury post

Tue Mar 10, 2009 4:45pm EDT
By John Poirier

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Prominent Wall Street lawyer H. Rodgin Cohen is being considered by the White House for nomination to the position of deputy Treasury secretary, financial industry sources said on Tuesday.

Cohen has worked on a variety of bank regulatory issues and has also helped resolve many major bank failures, which could be an asset amid a financial crisis that has put lenders under severe pressure.

Treasury has had difficulty filling its top ranks.

One person considered a top contender for the deputy nomination, former Securities and Exchange Commission lawyer Annette Nazareth, withdrew from consideration last week.

Some key under secretary positions also remain open.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told lawmakers on Monday night that he expected to name his domestic finance team this week, a Democratic aide who attended a closed door briefing by the secretary, said. He added that Geithner did not mention any names in the meeting.

Analysts say having key jobs open puts an extra burden on

Geithner, but department officials say they are no slower in getting appointees through the nomination process than prior administrations.

But Geithner has called in extra help on a temporary basis. The Treasury recruited Edwin Truman, a scholar at the Peterson Institute for International Economics with vast international experience at the Treasury and Federal Reserve, to fill in for six weeks.

Truman, who started the temporary stint on March 6, served as Treasury assistant secretary for international affairs during the Clinton administration from 1998 to 2001. He also spent 21 years directing the Fed's international finance division before that.

He told Reuters by email that he was working at Treasury to "help out for six weeks, not for any political appointment."

Nominees for jobs at the assistant secretary level and higher must be confirmed by the Senate, but lower-level and adviser positions do not need Senate confirmation. The Treasury has said more than 50 political appointees are already working alongside career civil servants at the department.

Anonymous said...

45 percent of world's wealth stolen in less than one year

Tue Mar 10, 2009

By Megan Davies and Walden Siew

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Private equity company Blackstone Group LP (BX.N) CEO Stephen Schwarzman said on Tuesday that up to 45 percent of the world's wealth has been 'transferred' by the global credit crisis.

"Between 40 and 45 percent of the world's wealth has been destroyed in little less than a year and a half," Schwarzman told an audience at the Japan Society. "This is absolutely unprecedented in our lifetime."

But the U.S. government is committed to the preservation of financial institutions, he said, and will do whatever it takes to restart the economy.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner plans to unfreeze credit markets through a new program that will combine public and private capital in a fund that would buy bank toxic assets of up to $1 trillion.

"In all likelihood, that will have the private sector buy troubled assets to clean the banks out in terms of providing leverage ... so that we can get more money back into the banking system," Schwarzman said.

He expects the private sector to end up making "some good money doing that," but added there were complex issues on how to price toxic assets.

He put part of the blame for the financial crisis to credit rating agencies.

"What's pretty clear is that, if you were looking for one culprit out of the many, many, many culprits, you have to point your finger at the rating agencies," he said.

Rating companies have been the focus of intense criticism for their role in granting top "AAA" ratings for complex bonds that later plummeted in value, resulting in subsequent rating cuts, in many cases to junk status.

"Once you bought into ... the Triple A paper and it turned out to be paper that was in many situations going to end up defaulting, then you really had the makings of a global problem," he said.

Schwarzman said problems were then exacerbated by mark-to- market accounting rules. Those rules ask banks and other financial institutions to price assets at a value related to how they would be sold in the open market.

Blackstone reported a quarterly loss in February after writing down the value of its portfolio and eliminated its fourth-quarter dividend.

Asked where was a good place to invest, Schwarzman said it made sense to buy cyclical names, which are less exposed to the economic cycles.

He said investors also may find value in debt products, including "senior layers of certain securitizations," where investors can see 15 percent to 20 percent returns, he said.

Geographically, he said there were "pockets of strength" in China, which is committed to getting to an 8 percent growth level, and in India, where the economy is slowing but banks are in good shape.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

MARKETWATCH FIRST TAKE
Will foreclosures forestall market rebound?
Commentary: Latest numbers show plenty more pain ahead
By MarketWatch
Last update: 10:52 a.m. EDT March 11, 2009

LONDON (MarketWatch) -- Investors may have breathed a collective sigh of relief at Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's reassurance that the recession will be over by Christmas -- if he can just get those wacky banks fixed -- but U.S. home foreclosures are sending a very different message.

The numbers for February were appalling, up 67% from January to 121,000, and nearly 20% above the previous monthly record, set last September. Even worse, the number of homes in pre-foreclosure proceedings is even higher.

All of this is occurring in an environment where the government is pressuring lenders to hold off, and where the Obama administration has been at pains to front billions to prevent even more foreclosures.

As with so many other parts of the credit crisis, the government is trying to have it both ways.

On the one hand, turning people out of their homes is politically toxic. On the other hand, leaving non-performing loans on bank's books, and in the securitized asset streams, is economically toxic.

The workout process promises to continue to be a messy one. But the temporary comfort that markets appear to have taken from Chairman Ben's comments appears to be seriously misplaced in light of Wednesday's data.

Anonymous said...

Bailouts Under Obama become more interesting every day

Reuters, March 11, 2009

Everyone is a bit bemused to watch the furor grow of WHOM exactly we are bailing out when we keep funneling money into AIG (AIG). We highlighted this issue last OCTOBER when it first came out and I recommend any new reader read this piece if you read nothing else this weekend [Oct 17: Your Tax Money Paid to Investment Banks and Hedge Funds via AIG] I wrote at the time Hank Paulson was effectively bailing out his buddies at Government Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS)... but since this is a relatively quiet part of the blogosphere, it only fell on reader's ears ;) I wrote


For those not following the AIG (AIG) saga - there is a lot of dirty laundry going on. First we were told its an $85 Billion bailout, but in a couple of steps after it's now increased to $123 Billion (so far!) It has been very difficult to sell AIG assets to pay off this loan thus far.

If you are into this type of thing and want some very interesting reading there is a damning Bloomberg article on how the former CEO of Goldman Sachs (GS) "saved AIG" and the first batch of money went in large part directly to Goldman Sachs (GS) and Morgan Stanley (MS). It will get the blood boiling if this is your type of thing - so essentially your tax dollars went from your pocket to Goldman and Morgan via a quick pit stop at AIG.


And that was just the first phases of the bailout.

Now the furor is growing as the big boys are catching on.... Joe Nocera's piece in the New York Times [Mar 1: NYT - AIG: Propping Up a House of Cards] seemed to wake people up.

Nocera followed up on his (sorta) blog


It is a simple enough question: who bought the credit-default swaps that American International Group sold during the housing bubble? And at this point — after Bailout No. 4, with the government handing A.I.G. another $30 billion to go with the previous $150 billion — you would think that the taxpayers would have the right to know that information. Is it Goldman? Royal Bank of Scotland? The Irish banks that are on the verge of collapse? What happened to all that transparency the new administration keeps talking about?

A fair amount of what A.I.G. was doing was pretty sleazy behavior, using credit-default swaps to help banks evade regulatory capital requirements. And yet when newspapers like this one have requested the information, they have been ignored or turned down.

The answer, as I understand it, is that A.I.G. views these as “confidential transactions,” and the government (as per usual?) is going along with that rationale. One government official told me that if the federal government divulged the names of the counterparties it would amount to a violation of the Trade Secrets Act — unless the counterparties agreed to it, which they never will.

Pretty unsatisfying, isn’t it? Gobs of tax money is going to bail out unnamed companies — and yet we aren’t allowed to know who they are, and are supposed to take it all on faith.


So the Federal Reserve is stonewalling ... your money can be sent to AIG but you are not deserving to know who is getting on the other side of the transaction. So send us your money and shut your mouth citizens!

Senator Jim Bunning, one of the few people who actually calls out the Federal Reserve and Treasury was none too happy


On Thursday, Mr. Bunning did not disappoint, as he lambasted the vice chairman of the Federal Reserve for saying that the names of American International Group’s trading counterparties should not be revealed.

As part of its rescue, the government has stepp ed in with a program to buy securities from A.I.G.’s counterparties at “par,” or full value, even though many of these securities are surely worth far less. And just who are these banks being bought out at par?

“Giving the names could undermine the stability of the company and would have serious knock-on effects” in the broader financial system, Mr. Kohn told lawmakers Thursday. Mr. Bunning pounced on this comment when he took to the microphone. “You are telling us,” he said sternly to Mr. Kohn, “that the counterparties that got par for their bonds or for whatever — the American taxpayer shouldn’t know who they are? And then you may come back to us and ask for more money for more banks and more corporations? You will get the biggest ‘no’ you ever got.”


Now the blogosphere it getting into the act - see Barry Ritholtz


My recent tirade against bailing out the hedge fund half of AIG makes much more sense when you consider who is actually getting all of the taxpayer largesse: Counter-parties of AIG, especially one Goldman Sachs. Some estimates have been in excess of $25 billion to GS.

Other rumored recipients of taxpayer dole include Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and Deutsche Bank.

Why rumored? Because of the infuriating refusal to turn over any information as to who these counter-parties are by the Fed and Treasury:


Nouriel Roubini chimed in


News and banks analysts’ reports suggested that Goldman Sachs got about $25 billion of the government bailout of AIG and that Merrill Lynch was the second largest benefactor of the government largesse. These are educated guesses, as the government is hiding the counter-party benefactors of the AIG bailout.”


Naked Capitalism talks about yet another conflict between the US government and Government Sachs (GS) [p.s. if you are new to the blog we call Goldman Sachs GOVERNMENT Sachs because it has so many people layered up inside Washington D.C.] This is a Treasury nominee, H. Rodgin Cohen - chairman of Sullivan & Cromwell.... next in line to work "closely with Timmy Geithner!


Sullivan & Cromwell has long been the outside counsel for Goldman, and outside counsel is a vastly more important role for a securities firm than just about any other type of business. In the stone ages, when I worked for a few years at Goldman, certain S&C partners had so much clout at Goldman that they could get a mid-level banker fired. And even then, “Rodg”, head of the banking practice, was a very influential figure at Goldman.


Here is a list of our "friends" we're bailing out - its not AIG; AIG is just a front. And they are not getting 50 pennies on the dollar, 30 pennies, or 70 pennies - they are getting every dollar. Keep in mind these were early amounts from the first round of bailouts. Lots more handed out since then! And more to come in the future.


The Wall Street Journal in December, citing a confidential document and people familiar with the matter, revealed that about $19 billion of the payouts went to two dozen counterparties between the government bailout in mid-September and early November. As previously reported, nearly three-quarters went to a group of banks, including Société Générale SA ($4.8 billion), Goldman Sachs Group ($2.9 billion), Deutsche Bank AG ($2.9 billion), Credit Agricole SA's Calyon investment-banking unit ($1.8 billion), and Merrill Lynch & Co. ($1.3 billion), the Journal reported at the time.

"It's reasonable to ask why holders who would have received only pennies on the dollar for their credit-default swaps absent any government intervention would expect or deserve payments for what essentially is a bankrupt company."

With its latest rescue this week, the government has committed more than $170 billion to prevent AIG's collapse.


Cramerica - for the corporation, by the corporation. But don't argue - it's for the best of us all. Main Street is Wall Street. Just keep repeating that and go watch American Idol... the government will take care of the rest.

Anonymous said...

Will foreclosures forestall market rebound?

###

Sheet we always knew it would take until 2012 just to clear the ARM resets.

Now with the Fortune-500 across the board talking and acting on laying off 25% of all workforce, there is no way in hell they can keep home ownership above 50%.

So what? Prior to the great depression, most people in ameriKKKa rented. Home ownership is a post WWII IRS tax scam, and engineered bubble for the building lobby.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Interday tripling+plus on CACB, from 62 cents last Thur, to $2.19 at the highs today

Anonymous said...

Bernanke says..

Geithner says...

Obama says ...

Buffett says...

Is there anybody that 'says' anything? I don't think so.

90% of ameriaKKKan's now think that 'Jon Stewart' is the only 'truthful' source of news in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Interday tripling+plus on CACB, from 62 cents last Thur, to $2.19 at the highs today

#

Not bad the CARP for MOSS must be on the horizon, or that new SW has UMPQUA's cock hard & ready.

Anonymous said...

The 'Geithner: Boy Genius' myth exploded

Rick Moran
March 11, 2009

The Sydney Morning Herald has an absolutely devastating expose of Treasury Secretary Geithner as the former Australian Prime Minister during the Asian financial crisis of the 1990's relates how Geithner's actions destroyed the Indonesian economy - a feat thought impossible at the time:

In a speech to a closed gathering at the Lowy Institute in Sydney on Thursday, Paul Keating gave a starkly different account of Geithner's record in handling the Asian crisis: "Tim Geithner was the Treasury line officer who wrote the IMF [International Monetary Fund] program for Indonesia in 1997-98, which was to apply current account solutions to a capital account crisis."

In other words, Geithner fundamentally misdiagnosed the problem. And his misdiagnosis led to a dreadfully wrong prescription.

Geithner thought Asia's problem was the same as the ones that had shattered Latin America in the 1980s and Mexico in 1994, a classic current account crisis. In this kind of crisis, the central cause is that the government has run impossibly big debts.

The solution? The IMF, the Washington-based emergency lender of last resort, will make loans to keep the country solvent, but on condition the government hacks back its spending. The cure addresses the ailment.

But the Asian crisis was completely different. The Asian governments that went to the IMF for emergency loans - Thailand, South Korea and Indonesia - all had sound public finances.

The problem was not government debt. It was great tsunamis of hot money in the private capital markets. When the wave rushed out, it left a credit drought behind.

But Geithner, through his influence on the IMF, imposed the same cure the IMF had imposed on Latin America and Mexico. It was the wrong cure. Indeed, it only aggravated the problem.

Keating continued: "Soeharto's government delivered 21 years of 7 per cent compound growth. It takes a gigantic fool to mess that up. But the IMF messed it up. The end result was the biggest fall in GDP in the 20th century. That dubious distinction went to Indonesia. And, of course, Soeharto lost power.

This is the guy who was so valuable, so necessary to economic recovery that we were supposed to overlook the fact that he is a tax crook? Keating also believes Geithner ruined the reputation of the IMF (although to be fair, there are many reasons why the IMF is feared and hated by many countries):

Worse, Keating argued, Geithner's misjudgment had done terminal damage to the credibility of the IMF, with seismic geoeconomic consequences: "The IMF is the gun that can't shoot straight. They've been making a mess of things for the last 20-odd years, and the greatest mess they made was in east Asia in 1997-98, so much so that no east Asian state will put its head in the IMF noose."

Geithner is not only underperforming, he is not performing at all. He has literally done nothing yet to show that choosing him as Secretary of the Treasury appears now to have been a sop to Wall Street who had a reasonably good impression of him.

But what should frighten all of us is that this bank crisis is building to the point where unless something is done soon, several states in Europe will be forced into some kind of exotic and surreal insolvency with untold consequences for our own banking system. And Geithner has no senior staff because of the incompetence of the administration's vetting procedures, meaning that his "Financial Stability Act" (the completed program having been promised more than a month ago) - a plan with little more than a name and a nebulous outline - hasn't even been fleshed out as yet.

It may be getting close to the point where Geithner will have lost all credibility and should be thrown under the bus.

Anonymous said...

The OREO HONEY-MOON is OVER, the SF crowd is now 'embarrassed' by the OREO.

...

SF Examiner Editorial: Is it amateur hour at the Obama White House?

Examiner Staff Writer 3/10/09

It was embarrassing enough that President Barack Obama insulted British Prime Minister Gordon Brown last week by handing him 25 movie videos as the chief executive’s diplomatic gift to the visiting representative of America’s most important ally. Compared to Brown’s gifts, which included a pen holder made of wood from a British warship that helped stamp out the slave trade, Obama’s gift, in the words of The Telegraph, looked like the kind of thing the White House might hand out to the visiting head of a minor African state. Even worse is the context in which this huge diplomatic gaffe took place — a six-week succession of miscues, oversights, miscalculations and outright errors that suggest things have gone seriously awry in the White House.

* Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tells a European Union gathering that American democracy has been around a lot longer than European democracy. This no doubt particularly surprised the Dutch, whose republic commenced years before the U.S. won its independence. Somebody should tell Clinton about Athens, too.
* White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orzag say Obama will sign the $410 billion omnibus spending bill because it is last year’s business, even though the bill requires the presidents signature now to become law. This despite promising before the election a line-by-line battle against waste. Obama has or soon will sign bills containing more than 17,000 earmarks.
* Catastrophe would result from delays in passing the $787 billion economic stimulus bill, according to Obama, who then took a four-day shopping trip with his family in Chicago before signing the emergency legislation.
* Obama’s first commerce secretary nominee is forced to withdraw, as are his first choice for Health and Human Services Department secretary and several of his picks for top White House policy positions, due to assorted tax and other ethical problems that should have been caught during the transition process.
* Attorney General Eric Holder calls Americans a nation of cowards for allegedly not talking enough about race issues. Even the president is forced to publicly disavow Holder’s assertion.
* Treasurer Secretary Timothy Geithner is touted as the only man who can fix the banking system, but, weeks after his controversial nomination is confirmed, crucial details of his plan remain a mystery, along with who will fill numerous senior positions within his department.

The president remains personally popular, but nothing so erodes public confidence as the perception of ineptitude. Policy differences are one thing, but Americans won’t accept incompetence in the Oval Office.

Anonymous said...

CACB is back to 1.38 now, must have been a last MOSS purchase.

Still up 24% today, not bad for a corpse.

Eventually rigamortise passes, and the corpse becomes flaccid.

hbm said...

Prior to the great depression, most people in ameriKKKa rented.

True.

Home ownership is a post WWII IRS tax scam, and engineered bubble for the building lobby.

True, to a point. But home ownership can be a good thing, as long as people don't get in over their heads on their mortgages and everybody doesn't decide to try to get rich flipping houses. Over the long term, home ownership has been a solid and safe investment for most people -- and one of the few such investments available to working people. The bubble of the mid-2000s was an anomaly; we never saw anything like it before, and I doubt we'll see anything like it again.

Anonymous said...

Home Ownership is & was a ponzi scam, ... on another element that even HBM can't dispute is the notion of the 2nd home for the bamboozled class ( mencken ).

No time in history has the schmucks had 'second homes', but here in Bend that is the standard.

Historic post WWII home-ownership was about 50%, the move 70% was created by BUSH & easy-money.

I think Jim Rogers said it best "Allowing anybody to buy four homes for nothing down is unheard of in human history, how did any rational person expect this to end?"

Well all things being equal over 1/2 the homes in BEND will have to be destroyed in the next 5-10 years.

In Bend, every hair-lip became a king, and drove the best car, and had 2+ homes.

To date the only real negative about home ownership is that it locks people down, renting actually helped make ameriKKKa productive, today people are tied to low-income areas incapable of bailing, and thus since 1995 US productivity has plummeted.

Home ownership is a great conflict of interest between the building&banking lobby, and the US manufacturing lobby. Given the US no longer makes 'product' this is fine, but eventually when nobody wants the dollar, then we'll once again, have to start making shit, and then we'll want mobile people not tied to an area.

Anonymous said...


the only real negative about home ownership is that it locks people down . . . people are tied to low-income areas incapable of bailing



Yes. After this crisis is over (however long that takes) you're going to see a whole generation of people who are never willing to take the risk of owning a house again.

They don't want to be locked down.

Renting is better for the economy, because it allows people to move to where the jobs are.

Owning a house has become an albatross.

If the "bubble" would have been in tulips instead of real estate, we still might have people going into bankruptcies, but at least they wouldn't be STUCK in a place with little or no job creation in the foreseeable future.

Anonymous said...


The problem was not government debt. It was great tsunamis of hot money in the private capital markets. When the wave rushed out, it left a credit drought behind.


Yes. The east Asian countries learned a very painful lesson from the late 1990s. Have tons of reserves.

So what did they do? They bought U.S. T bills, which increased demand for the dollar, made the dollar strong, and made the American consumer party like it was 1999.

When they're writing the history books, we'll see that one of the causes of our current crisis was an indirect result of the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998.

By the way, the only reason those countries got out of that is they were able to EXPORT big time with their newly devalued currencies to the ever-hungry Western consumer.

Even if the dollar plummets, it's no good to us, because the rest of the world isn't buying, and our manufacturers have no one to export too.

Best hope? Farming.

PopGoesBend said...

>Best hope? Farming.

I don't think that increasing our food exports is going to be viable in the long run. The industrial farms that have taken over the country have done a spectacular job of fucking the soil in a short time. Crop rotation doesn't make sense for an industrial farm. They need too much equipment. A soybean farm is a soybean farm. A corn farm is a corn farm. And the soil gets pumped with fuckloads of fertilizer derived from natural gas. That's not sustainable. It's not the farm of the future. The farm of the future will be smaller, more labor intensive, closer to where the food is consumed, and ran using knowledge we HAD as a society until 50 years ago. That isn't very conducive to exporting food by the cargo ship.

Anonymous said...

> Crop rotation doesn't make sense for an industrial farm. They need too much equipment. A soybean farm is a soybean farm.


Most farms are still "family farms." It's just that 2.5 people now farm 3000 acres instead of 300 acres.

You see "corporate farms" in livestock production, but not generally crop production.

In most of the Midwest it is generally a 50/50 split between corn and soybeans. This year soybeans (which fixeds nitrogen for the soil), next year corn.

But because of the ethanol subsidies/mandates, corn's prices has been increasing relative to soybeans.

So the last two years you've seen more corn on corn.

Although everyone likes the romantic notion of a small farm, we're not likely to go back to that.

Farming has become very capital intensive.

Anyway, my prediction is like J. Cramer's . . . agriculture is a good place to be for the long run.

Just wait and see - commodity prices are going to go up before there's any actual recovery in the U.S. economy. Probably within 2009.

Anonymous said...

> Just wait and see - commodity prices are going to go up before there's any actual recovery in the U.S. economy. Probably within 2009.


To clarify, food (commodity) prices are likely to go up soon.

I don't think the economy will grow any time soon. Rather it's shrinking.

The stimulous from the extreme monetary policy started in fall 2001 is going to be deflated.

Anonymous said...

> J. Cramer's

Sorry, meant Jim Rogers.

Bewert said...

Odd afterhours trading in CACB. It closed at $1.16, then there was a 9K share trade at $2.10, followed by 9K share trades at $1.16 and $1.15.

Anonymous said...

Hey KUNTS this is interesting, the COST to protect your white-ass USA government against economic-collapse is UP 7X ( 700% ) for the year.

Somebody thinks the US government is seven times MORE likely to collapse than this time last year, who could have guessed??

I don't think there is a better barometer of US health, than the MOB/BOOKEY/GAMBLING futures cost of insuring your $$$ if its in US dollars.


U.S. sovereign-credit spreads rise sevenfold in year
Risk gauge outpaces measure of corporate-credit risk as U.S. bails out banks

By Laura Mandaro, MarketWatch
Last update: 7:19 p.m. EDT March 10, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) -- The cost of buying protection against the risk that the United States will default on its mounting debt has surged in the past months, outpacing the rise in corporate-credit costs, now that the government has absorbed more private-sector debt.
The spreads on credit-default swaps for U.S. government debt jumped to 97 basis points Tuesday, nearly seven times higher than a year ago and 60% higher than the end of last year, to a level roughly in line with those of France, according to data supplied by Markit. The spreads also hit a record last week.
In contrast, an index that tracks the cost of buying credit protection against defaults on North American companies with investment-grade ratings -- the Markit CDX.NA.IG index -- has not even doubled in the past year. The index, which includes CDS on blue-chip companies like Altria Group (MO:
MO
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) and Bristol-Meyers Squibb Co. (BMY:
BMY
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) , has risen 30% this year.

The spreads on credit-default swaps for U.S. government debt are 60% higher than the end of last year, at a level roughly in line with those of France.

Higher spreads on credit-defaults swaps indicate sellers have raised the price of guaranteeing protection because they perceive the likelihood of a default as higher. A spread of 97 means it would cost about $97,000 to buy protection on $10 million in U.S. government debt.
The rise in U.S. sovereign CDS spreads reflects the increasingly active role the United States has played in debt markets, according to Bank of America Securities analysts. In the past year, it's absorbed the toxic assets that led to Bear Stearns' collapse; taken mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities as collateral for loans; and bought commercial paper and agency debt, among other moves.
"Having effectively guaranteed the short-term markets, that risks shifts to the government," wrote Bank of America Securities-Merrill Lynch analysts led by Jeffrey Rosenberg, in a note issued early Tuesday.
Record highs not a good sign
The rising costs to buy credit protection undermine hopes that credit markets are improving -- a turnaround that could set up the U.S. economy and stock market for revival.
Such costs also reflect an increase in money spent buying the type of complicated derivatives that sent American International Group Inc. (AIG:
AIG
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) , a seller of credit-default swaps, to ask for several rounds of bailout money last year -- one of the series of shockwaves that have hit the financial system.
The chance that a seller of CDS won't be able to make good on its commitment to cover an underlying entity's debt default, or what's known as counterparty risk, prompted "Black Swan" author and investor Nassim Taleb to describe CDS purchases as tantamount to buying insurance on the Titanic from someone on the Titanic.
Other gauges that track costs of credit protection also have been rising lately.
An index that tracks the costs of credit protection of 14 leading banks and brokerages -- including Bank of America Corp. (BAC:
BAC
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) , Citigroup Inc. (C:
C
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) , Goldman Sachs Group (GS:
GS
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPM:
JPM
News , chart , profile , more
Last:

Delayed quote data
Add to portfolio
Analyst
Create alert
Insider
Discuss
Financials
Sponsored by:
, , ) -- hit a record high Monday, according to index publisher Credit Derivatives Research. See full story.
Spreads on U.S. sovereign CDS hit a record 100 basis points last week, Markit said.
Records aren't tough to come by in this relatively new market, though. Markit's vice president in credit research, Gavan Nolan, estimates that U.S. sovereign credit-default swaps have been trading with significant volume only in the past year and a half.
Over the past year, U.S. and European central banks have taken unprecedented steps to prop up the financial system.
The U.K. government has nationalized or bought large stakes in struggling lenders Northern Rock, Royal Bank of Scotland (UK:RBS: news , chart , profile ) and Lloyds Banking Group (UK:LLOY: news , chart , profile ) , and is buying government bonds to drive down rates.
Last month, the U.K. Office for National Statistics said the government injections into Lloyds and RBS would drive up the public sector's debt to as much as 1.5 trillion pounds -- or 100% of gross domestic product.
The United Kingdom's CDS spreads have vaulted to about 160 basis points, up 50% from the start of the year. That ranks the cost of buying credit protection on U.K. government debt as the second highest among G7 countries, behind Italy.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Tuesday reiterated the central bank's commitment to taking a heavy role in the banking system, saying major financial institutions would not be allowed to fail given the fragile state of financial markets. Read more on Bernanke.
"By effectively transferring the risks underlying the credit crisis to governments, sovereign risk becomes the focal point for credit uncertainty," the Bank of America analysts concluded. "On the road to recovery, now paved with sovereign risk." End of Story

Anonymous said...

The chance that a seller of CDS won't be able to make good on its commitment to cover an underlying entity's debt default, or what's known as counterparty risk, prompted "Black Swan" author and investor Nassim Taleb to describe CDS purchases as tantamount to buying insurance on the Titanic from someone on the Titanic.

*** CDS = 'gamblers insurance'

YES & NO, The OREO/GEITHNER government is running a ponzi where 'risk' insurance is being sold to those on the titanic, to those on the titanic, but everyone knows that the US government (Geithner) will make good, so nobody cares if the ship goes down, cuz everybody is making money.

Nobody cares if the 'writer' of the insurance can pay the claim, cuz the US government will make good on anybody who wrote the policy, and collected the $97k premium, on ever $10M of policy insured.

Over the last 5+ years Berkshire, AIG, LEHMAN, made a FORTUNE writing these policy's and collecting these $97k premiums, all knowing that the 'black-swan' would NEVER HAPPEN, however, by be being TOO BIG to fail, all knew that they were will suited to WRITE $500 trillion in insurance, all the while only having a few billion in Assets.

The Greatest Robbery in Human History.

Who could have know? Who could have guessed??

Anonymous said...

Warren Buffet has wrote lots of INSURANCE on the premise that world stock-markets would never go down, Buffet bet wrong, and sold tons of insurance, ... good news is from all the premium buffett collected his berkshire looked good yesterday, even better news is buffet doesn't have to pay out the claims until after he's dead, and brk.a is BK.

...

March 10th, 2009
Buffett’s big bet

By: Jonathan Ford
buffett

– Jonathan Ford is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

The credit crunch has exposed many one-time financial heroes as having feet of clay. Even the great Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett has fallen from grace.

The shift in mood has been brutal. The price of shares in the Sage’s investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, has more than halved since last September. Meanwhile, his one-time iron-clad balance sheet now looks rather frail. The credit default swap market is saying that the company’s vaunted AAA rating is so much baloney. Berkshire’s bonds are trading close to junk levels.

The pain is largely self-inflicted. It stems from Buffett’s decision to raise $4.9 billion by writing put options that insured buyers against falls in the value of several large global stock indices, including the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100. These he sold to a range of unknown counterparties between 2006 and the end of last year. The indices in question have slumped putting the Sage potentially on the hook for an AIG-style payout. On a mark-to-market basis, the positions were $10 billion underwater at the end of 2008, giving a $5.1 billion loss after the premium is accounted for.

Why, one might ask, did Buffett make such a bet? This is, after all, the man who has railed in the past against over-the-counter derivatives, describing them as “financial weapons of mass destruction”.

In broad terms, the Sage says that it’s all OK because he, unlike others, knows what he is doing. The options were sold dearly so the chance of a big loss is, he thinks, acceptably low. Stocks tend to rise in line with nominal GDP, especially over the long run. In any case, any payouts only have to be settled when the options expire between 2019 and 2028, which is quite a way out in the future.

Buffett has also argued that the Black-Scholes formula, used to value options, overstates his likely future liability against the puts (an argument that, incidentally, were he really to believe it, would logically lead him to keep writing and selling puts ad infinitum).

So that’s alright then.

Investors have no choice but to trust the Sage if they continue to hold the stock as they don’t have the information to make their own assessment. Intriguingly, many of them seem to be exiting. Perhaps they don’t like the slight whiff of hubris and hypocrisy in the air. It is hard to escape the perception that, for all the talk of value, the Sage sold many of these derivatives mainly to provide a kicker to spruce up the returns from his sagging stock portfolio.

There is also something worrying about selling puts on the stock market and using the proceeds to buy, um, stocks. It’s in effect a double-or-quits bet and if it goes wrong, the Sage is in double trouble. His liabilities will shoot up just as his asset portfolio is shrinking.

But it may also be that investors are spooked by yet another aspect of this trade. Call it the demographic question. Presumably, when Buffett’s counterparties handed him the $4.9 billion in return for his puts, they did so on the assumption that his shrewd investing would ensure that Berkshire would be around to pay whatever it owed under the contracts over the next 10 to 20 years. But by the time the bills arrive, the Sage will be between 89 and 98 years old (depending on expiry date), and his partner Charlie Munger in the even more impressive 95-104 range. God knows who will be running Berkshire then, or indeed whether the stock portfolio will be up to the task of meeting the firm’s liabilities — especially if stock prices fall further than expected and stay down for longer.

This uncomfortable demographic truth may also have occurred to the unknown entities that bought the put options. Under the deal they struck, Berkshire doesn’t have to post more margin if the markets move against it, meaning the put owners are shouldering a hell of a lot of counterparty risk. One explanation for Berkshire’s ballooning credit default spreads then could always be that they are busy buying credit protection on the company for themselves.

Anonymous said...


Warren Buffett’s Jewish Connection


By Chanan Tigay


Warren Buffett is not a Jew; in fact, he describes himself as an agnostic.

Still, the billionaire investment guru, who made big news in May when his Berkshire Hathaway corporation bought an 80 percent share in the Israeli metalworks conglomerate, Iscar, for $4 billion, for years has been making his mark on the U.S. Jewish community back home -- although sometimes in a roundabout way.

"Proportionally, if you look at the number of Jews in this country and in the world, I'm associated with a hugely disproportionate number," said Buffett, the second-richest man in the world. His life, he added, "has been blessed by friendship with many Jews."

The Israeli government stands to reap about $1 billion in taxes on Buffett's purchase of Iscar. Shortly after announcing the deal, Buffett said he was surprised to learn that a Berkshire subsidiary, CTB International, was purchasing a controlling interest in another Israeli company, AgroLogic.

In Israel -- which Buffett plans to visit in the fall -- the hope is that the deals will have longer legs: Buffett himself has not ruled out future purchases there and, considering his status as a leading investor, observers say others also may take a look at Israeli companies now that Buffett has done so.

"You won't find in the world a better-run operation than Iscar," Buffett says. "I don't think it's an accident that it's run by Israelis."

Among the first companies Buffett acquired after launching Berkshire Hathaway, the Omaha-based investment and insurance giant, was The Sun Newspapers of Omaha, then owned by Stan Lipsey, one-time chairman of The Jewish Press, Omaha's Jewish newspaper.

"At the time, the Omaha Club did not take Jewish members, and the Highland Country Club, a golf club, didn't have any [non-Jewish] members," Lipsey recalled. "Warren volunteered to join the Highland" -- rather than the Omaha -- "to set an example of nondiscrimination."

Buffett happily recalls the fallout from his application.

"It created this big rhubarb," he said. "All of the rabbis appeared on my behalf, the [Anti-Defamation League] guy appeared on my behalf. Finally they voted to let me in."

But that wasn't the end of the story, Buffett said. The Highland had a rule requiring members to donate a certain amount of money to their synagogues. Buffett, of course, wasn't a synagogue member, so the club changed its policy: Members now would be expected to give to their synagogues, temples or churches.

But that still didn't quite work, Buffett recalls with a laugh, because of his agnosticism.

In the end, the rule was amended to ask simply that members make some sort of charitable donation, and the path to Buffet's membership was clear.

"He's an incredible guy," said Lipsey, today the publisher of the Buffalo News. In 1973, The Sun won a Pulitzer Prize in local investigative specialized reporting for an expose on financial impropriety at Boys Town, Neb.

"Warren came up with the key source for us knowing what was going on out there," Lipsey said.

Buffett himself researched Boys Town's stocks to bolster the story, Lipsey added.

In the 1960s, Omaha Rabbi Myer Kripke decided to invest in his friend Buffett's new business venture. Their wives had become friendly, he said, and the foursome enjoyed playing the occasional game of bridge together.

"My wife had no card sense and I was certainly no competition to Warren, who is a very good bridge player and a lover of the game," said Kripke, rabbi emeritus of Omaha's Conservative Beth El Synagogue. "He's very bright and very personable and very decent. He is a rich man who is as clean as can be."

Kripke, father of the noted philosopher Saul Kripke, bought a few shares in Berkshire Hathaway and quickly sold them, doubling his money, he said.

Recognizing a good thing when he saw it, he bought a bunch more shares in his friend's company, shares that by the 1990s had made Kripke -- who says he never earned more than $30,000 a year as a rabbi -- a millionaire.

Asked if he credits Buffett with his financial success, he didn't hesitate.

"Entirely, yes," he said. "I never had much of an income."

The Sun newspaper group was not Buffett's only early purchase of a Jewish-owned company. In 1983, sealing the deal with a handshake, Buffett bought 90 percent of the Nebraska Furniture Mart from Rose Blumkin, a Russian-born Jew who moved to the United States in 1917.

In 1989, he purchased a majority of the stock in Borsheim's Fine Jewelry and Gifts, a phenomenally successful jewelry store, from the Friedman family.

"He has many friends in the Jewish community," said Forrest Krutter, secretary of Berkshire Hathaway and a former president of the Jewish Federation of Omaha.

Buffett's former son-in-law, Allen Greenberg, is a Jew, and now runs the Buffett Foundation, much of whose work has dealt with reproductive rights and family-planning issues. Buffett's personal assistant is Ian Jacobs, who goes by his Hebrew name, Shami.

Buffett himself counts the late Nebraska businessman Howard "Micky" Newman and philanthropist Jack Skirball as among his "very closest friends."

Further, Buffett said his "hero and the man who made me an investment success" was Ben Graham. Graham, along with Newman's father, Jerry, ran a New York fund called Graham-Newman Corp.

"After besieging Ben for the three years after I received my degree from Columbia, Ben and Jerry finally hired me," Buffett said. "I was the first gentile ever employed by the firm -- including secretaries -- in its 18 years of existence. My first son bears the middle name Graham after Ben."

Buffett "is very much honored in the Jewish community," Kripke said.

Anonymous said...

"At the time, the Omaha Club did not take Jewish members, and the Highland Country Club, a golf club, didn't have any [non-Jewish] members," Lipsey recalled. "Warren volunteered to join the Highland" -- rather than the Omaha -- "to set an example of nondiscrimination."


*

This is and was probably the only real smart decision Buffette ever made in his life.

The rest is history.

Buffett is a made-off, and like made-hustled the richest jews in the USA at their own game.

Who could have guessed??

Anonymous said...

Ignore what WSJ or Freeman says about Freeman's resignation from OBAMA post, here's the official Rush Limbaugh version of the story that everyone will be fed this weekend.


March 10, 2009
‘CHAS’-TISED…Is the Charles Freeman Fight All About Israel?


By Eric Fingerhut, Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Charles "Chas" Freeman


WASHINGTON (JTA)— Supporters of the Obama administration’s aborted appointment for a top intelligence post said the former ambassador was unfairly tarred by pro-Israel pundits and advocates.

But lawmakers who led the successful campaign against the selection of Charles “Chas” Freeman said their concerns always had less to do with his criticisms of Israel than his financial ties to Saudi Arabia and a Chinese oil company with business dealings in Iran.

“This was not about Israel, it was about a revolving door through which Freeman rotated and was paid handsomely,“ said Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.), after Freeman withdrew his name from consideration on Tuesday. The New York congressman was referring to the idea of the former ambassador to Saudi Arabia going from serving the U.S. government, to being paid by foreign governments and then returning to government service.

“There was a steady revelation of financial conflicts of interest involving foreign powers that were troubling,“ said Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), who along with Israel, led the opposition in Congress. “If it had simply been a dispute about Middle East policy, he would have survived.“

Freeman’s appointment as chairman of the National Intelligence Council, where he would have overseen the production of National Intelligence Estimates, had drawn criticism as soon as it became public.

The first criticism came in a blog post by former top AIPAC staffer Steve Rosen, who is under indictment for passing classified information to Israel. Soon after, a number of prominent commentators joined in the criticism, including Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, Michael Goldfarb of The Weekly Standard, and Jon Chait and Martin Peretz of The New Republic.

Many of those writers noted Freeman’s view that the Israelis are primarily responsible for the failure to secure a peace deal with the Palestinians and a 2006 speech in which he seemed to blame U.S. support of Israel for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. But several of the critics also raised other objections to Freeman, a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

In suggesting that his “realist” foreign policy views were just as ideological as the “neonconservative” views of the previous administration, the critics stressed Freeman’s leadership of the Saudi-funded Middle East Policy Council, and highlighted his statements that Chinese authorities should have intervened earlier to “nip” the Tiananmen Square protests “in the bud” and never allowed such demonstrations in the capital.

In response, Freeman’s defenders dismissed the concerns about China and Saudi Arabia as a smokescreen, insisting that the critics were motivated solely by their commitment to Israel. Among the defenders were two vocal critics of AIPAC—Stephen Walt, co-author of the book “The Israel Lobby,” and the Israel Policy Forum’s M.J. Rosenberg.

Andrew Sullivan, a traditionally pro-Israel pundit not known for bashing AIPAC, also came down on Freeman’s side, calling “the hysterical bullying” of the appointee “repulsive.”

“Freeman’s appointment is the first skirmish in what could be an intense war for the soul of Obama’s foreign policy,” Sullivan wrote in the London Times. “The goal is not just to force one realist thinker to withdraw, but to ensure that policy towards Israel changes very, very little from the Bush years.”

But lawmakers who took up the fight against Freeman rejected this line of argument, insisting that his financial ties to Saudi Arabia and China were the big problem.

Israel, one of the legislators who requested an investigation of Freeman’s financial ties, said he was concerned about Freeman’s 12-year chairmanship of the Middle East Policy Council, which has received one-twelfth of its funding from Saudi Arabia. He also cited the $10,000-per-year that Freeman received for serving as a member of the international advisory board of the Chinese government-owned international China National Offshore Oil Company, or CNOOC, which has business dealings in Iran.

“It’s a glaring conflict of interest,” Israel said Tuesday morning, before Freeman withdrew.

Israel, a member of the Select Intelligence Oversight Panel of the House Appropriations Committee, said the intelligence assessments that led the U.S. into the Iraq war were based on “political agendas and strong opinions,” which made him vow to never trust future assessments unless they come from “unimpeachable” sources.

“He is a walking opinion, not an independent intelligence analyst,” said Israel. Freeman is “entitled to be a strident critic of Israel and be a strident defender of China. He is not entitled to hold those opinions and make judgment on intelligence matters.“

Meanwhile, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), a longtime booster of human rights, wrote his own letter to President Obama last week outlining his objections to the appointment, specifically focusing on Freeman’s ties to CNOOC and China’s purchase of oil from Sudan throughout the Darfur genocide, as well as his use of the term “race riot” to describe a protest in Tibet.

“This cannot go through,” Wolf said in an interview Monday. “Do you realize the message this will send?”

At that time—not long after a conversation with Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, who had tapped Freeman for the post—he urged the Jewish community to get publicly involved.

“I need some help,” he said.”Everyone who cares about Israel, Tibet, China, Darfur, Burma.”

Asked whether any such Jewish groups had been quietly urging him or others to get involved, Wolf said no.

The Zionist Organization of America and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs were the only Jewish organizations to come out publicly against the pick, though Freeman’s defenders said the pro-Israel lobby had quietly raised concerns with members of the media.

Israel also said he has heard from very few constituents and no lobbyists on the issue—he said it was simply an issue he felt strongly about.

In exchanges with lawmakers, Blair had defended the choice.

At a U.S. Senate hearing Tuesday morning, hours before Freeman’s withdrawal, Blair said Freeman is “a person of strong views, of an inventive mind in the analytical point of view.“

Freeman also was backed by a group of 17 former U.S. ambassadors, including two who served in Israel, Sam Lewis and Thomas Pickering. The envoys signed a letter of support that was sent to The Wall Street Journal describing Freeman as a “man of integrity and high intelligence who would never let his personal views shade or distort intelligence assessments.”

The most spirited defense of Freeman came from his son, Charles Freeman Jr., a former assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China Affairs.

In a recent blog post on http://www.thewashingtonnote.com, the younger Freeman declared that he would like to “punch some of these guys in the face” and said his father’s “appointment is being challenged these days by a small cabal of folks that believe first and foremost in the importance of allegiance to Israel as a core U.S. priority.” He referred to his father’s critics as “low-lives,” “Israel first-ers” and “schmucks” while accusing them of smearing his father. And he accused Rosen of “chutzpah,” given his legal troubles.

Rosenberg, another of Freeman’s outspoken defenders—and the only one connected to a pro-Israel organization—told JTA that he read Freeman’s speeches and writings and didn’t have a problem with his views.

Instead, Rosenberg said, the real problem was what he described as the campaign to ensure that someone who has criticized Israeli policies is considered inappropriate to serve in the U.S. government.

“There’s a perception that American Jews gang up to block the appointment of people they don’t consider acceptable on Israel, and it’s dangerous,” said Rosenberg, who is said to have butted heads with Rosen when both worked at AIPAC. “It reflects on the community as a whole, when it is in fact 10 people.”

In a blog post at TalkingPointsMemo.com, Rosenberg described the group of Freeman critics as “so oblivious to Jewish history that it believes it can recklessly put their interests in Israel above everything else and not expect to build strong resentment in Washington (it was strong enough, even before this).”

One Capitol Hill insider, though, seemed prescient on Monday when he said that the initial concerns about Freeman’s criticism of Israel were not enough to stop his official appointment to chair the NIC about a week after it was first reported.

This person argued that Freeman’s comments on China and Tibet, and his involvement with CNOOC, the oil company, were what would end up derailing the appointment.

“He was never vetted, where these kinds of things would come out,” said the source, referring to the announcement last week that the examination of Freeman’s finances that is customary for all top appointments has not yet occurred. “While the initial point of contention may have been Israel, people became aware of a multitude of problems.”

Anonymous said...

The Zionist Organization of America and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs were the only Jewish organizations to come out publicly against the pick, though Freeman’s defenders said the pro-Israel lobby had quietly raised concerns with members of the media.

*

Repeat after me, "Freeman is a Liar". I know this cuz Rush Limbaugh told me so.

Anonymous said...

Obama forced to Eat Limbaugh feces are sign 'flawed' budget, ... chooses feces, ... yeh right,

Folks this OREO is going down as the MOST spineless & incompetent US prez in AIPAC history.



Obama Signs 'Imperfect' Spending Bill Away From Cameras



ABC News - ‎2 hours ago‎
By JAKE TAPPER President Obama acknowledged today that he signed an "imperfect omnibus bill" but told Congress to clean up its act when it comes to pork-barrel projects that are inserted into spending bills without going through the traditional ...

Anonymous said...

OREO fails to provide 'hope or change' to Badlands, ... appeases Pug's, ... Who would have guessed?

Badlands to to Zionist holy grounds, and should not be designated 'wilderness' says Bend's Moss/Zion-1031 & Co.


House narrowly defeats Badlands wilderness bill

House leaders seek ways for new vote


WASHINGTON (AP) - By two votes, the House defeated a bill Wednesday to set aside more than 2 million acres in nine states as protected wilderness, including two new wilderness areas proposed in Central Oregon.

Majority Democrats agreed to amend the bill to clarify that it wouldn't impose new restrictions on hunting, fishing or trapping on federal land. The amendment was sought by the National Rifle Association.

Oregon would have gained 202,000 acres of wilderness, including the 30,000-acre Badlands east of Bend and the 8,600 Spring Basin area overlooking the John Day Wild and Scenic River.

The measure got a majority in the House, 282-144, but fell two votes short of the needed two-thirds majority.

Republicans complained that the bill - 1 of the largest expansions of wilderness protection in 25 years - would cost up to $10 billion and block oil and gas development on millions of acres of federal property.

Andrew Whelan, a spokesman for Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., said the congressman voted for the measure, despite misgivings about the process and the lack of vetting on the individual elements of the mammoth bill.

But Whelan said Walden is aware of "a ton of support on the ground" for the various wilderness areas proposed, including expansion of the Mt. Hood Wilderness Area, which he worked on with Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore.

---

Here's a news release from the Oregon Natural Desert Association:

S. 22, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 came up just two votes short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the US House under suspension of the rules today, with 282-144 members voting in support of the lands bill. House leaders will now look at other options for bringing the bill up again.

With nearly twice as many members in favor of the bill as those against it, supporters say that it is a matter of when and how - not "if" --S. 22 will move forward.

Containing more than 160 bills, including measures to designate the Oregon Badlands and Spring Basin as Wilderness, S. 22 would protect over 2 million acres of Wilderness in 9 states. Despite the disappointment of today's vote, local supporters of the Badlands and Spring Basin Wilderness expressed optimism about the future of the bills.

"While we're disappointed that these important measures will be delayed, we remain confident that these areas will be protected very soon thanks to overwhelming local support," said Brent Fenty, Executive Director of the Oregon Natural Desert Association. "We are proud that Congressman Walden joined with the rest of Oregon's Congressional Delegation to vote in favor of Badlands and Spring Basin Wilderness. These two bills have overwhelming, bi-partisan backing locally, and we are all very grateful for Rep. Walden's support," he added.

The Badlands and Spring Basin Wilderness proposals have gained the endorsements of over 200 local businesses and enjoy the support of thousands of citizens and scores of local leaders. "The entire community has really rallied around the call for more Wilderness in our high desert, and we are so thankful for the work that everyone has put into the efforts to protect Badlands and Spring Basin," said Gena Goodman-Campbell, Wilderness Coordinator for the Oregon Natural Desert Association. "We look forward to moving ahead quickly on this important bill, and seeing if signed into law."
You must be logged in to rate this story. Login or register

Anonymous said...

Gordo Smith to Grow Marijuana, and shut-down frozen food operation.

Private medical-pot to end, and Smith Frozen to get exclusive state grow permit.


Mar 11,2009
Bill introduced allowing State to grow marijuana
Bi-partisan Bill Would Take Away Medical Marijuana Cardholder’s Ability to Grow Their Own Pot; Would Cost $98 per ounce


SALEM, Ore. — A bi-partisan group of legislators have introduced legislation to improve the safety of patients participating in Oregon’s Medical Marijuana program. House Bill 3274 transfers more of the program’s responsibilities from patients and caregivers to the state, which would be solely charged with growing and dispensing the marijuana.

“Oregonians have voted to authorize the use of medical marijuana, yet the Legislature has failed to provide adequate safeguards for citizens who have a legitimate need for it,” said Rep. Carolyn Tomei (D-Milwaukie).

Rep. Ron Maurer (R-Grants Pass) agrees, “Our current system isn’t working, and we need to move quickly to protect patient safety.”

HB 3274 directs the State to establish and operate a marijuana production facility and distribute the drug to pharmacies for dispensing to cardholders and primary caregivers. The bill imposes a $98 per ounce tax on marijuana, which would cover the state’s costs of operating and securing the production center.

“Many patients have no assurance that their marijuana is not laced with pesticides or other toxic chemicals,” said Rep. Jim Thompson (R-Dallas). “If passed into law, this legislation will implement safe standards to dispense the drug through a tightly-controlled system.”

The legislators also believe that HB 3274 will improve public safety by eliminating private medical marijuana grow sites. Some private growers have been accused of illegally selling the marijuana to non-cardholders, while other sites have been targeted by burglaries and home invasions.

“There are growing concerns that private grow sites are being misused for illegal marijuana sales, threatening the safety and well-being of legitimate participants in the program,” said Rep. Chris Harker (D-Beaverton). “HB 3274 takes medical marijuana off the streets and into a safer and more secure environment.”

Anonymous said...

Oregon Elections 'SOS' make their first bust in human history.

Bend Bruce Pussy's crap their diapers ( Depends[TM] ) in pleasure that SOS has found their balls.

...

Mar 11,2009
Oregon woman guilty of elections fraud
by Bend Weekly News Sources

SALEM, Ore. – A 41-year old Oregon woman pleaded guilty to elections fraud on Monday after she admitted to submitting 27 fraudulent signatures on three initiative petition sheets in 2005, officials reported.

Secretary of State Kate Brown and Attorney General John Kroger announced the successful prosecution of Diana Clagett, a transient, who was placed on probation following her guilty plea.

Clagett submitted signatures that either belonged to unregistered voters, or those whose signatures did not match the signature on the voter registration card.

The petition sheets were for what became Measure 42 on the November, 2006 ballot – a measure intended to prohibit insurance companies from using credit scores in calculating rates or premiums.

The Department of Justice began a criminal investigation but could not locate her. A Multnomah County grand jury indicted her in December on two counts of making a false statement and she was arrested in January.

Bewert said...

Re:
Bend Bruce Pussy's crap their diapers...

###

Funny how your pushback is so personal. Have I hit a sore point?

Bewert said...

The real story

A Sizemore operative. You have devolved to this crap?

Is this the best our local developer operatives can come up with to diss me?

Pretty fucking sad. But then take a drive out around the NE side of our fair little city, and you can see a whole lot of sad little subdivisions. With maybe one occupied house in the dust.

Anonymous said...

It's all about Bruce 24/7/52, always has will.

How many Bruce's do we have??

Bewert said...

This is rich:

Now-needy FDIC collected little in premiums
With fund going strong, banks didn't pay for decade

WASHINGTON - The federal agency that insures bank deposits, which is asking for emergency powers to borrow up to $500 billion to take over failed banks, is facing a potential major shortfall in part because it collected no insurance premiums from most banks from 1996 to 2006.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures deposits up to $250,000, tried for years to get congressional authority to collect the premiums in case of a looming crisis. But Congress believed that the fund was so well-capitalized - and that bank failures were so infrequent - that there was no need to collect the premiums for a decade, according to banking officials and analysts.

Now with 25 banks having failed last year, 17 so far this year, and many more expected in the coming months, the FDIC has proposed large new premiums for banks at the very time when many can least afford to pay. The agency collected $3 billion in the fees last year and has proposed collecting up to $27 billion this year, prompting an outcry from some banks that say it will force them to raise consumer fees and curtail lending.

To possibly reduce the fee increase, the FDIC has asked Congress for the temporary authority to borrow as much as $500 billion from the US Treasury - up from the current $30 billion limit - in case the number of bank failures increases even more dramatically. If Congress approves the measure, to borrow more than $100 billion, the FDIC would still need permission from the Federal Reserve, the Treasury Department, and the White House.

As of Dec. 31, the FDIC had $18.9 billion in its insurance fund - down from $52.4 billion a year earlier - in addition to $22 billion that it has set aside for pending bank failures. The agency has projected it will need $65 billion to take over failed banks through 2013.

But if the FDIC suddenly had to take over a giant bank such as Citigroup or Bank of America, the fund would be drained "in a flash," said Cornelius Hurley, director of the Boston University law school's Morin Center for Banking and Financial Law.

Last week, FDIC chairwoman Sheila Bair wrote to Senate Banking Committee chairman Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, that her agency could need more money because the existing fund "provides a thin margin of error" given the government's responsibility "to cover unforeseen losses." The March 5 letter, provided to the Globe, said the additional borrowing authority is necessary to "leave no doubt" that the FDIC can "fulfill the government's commitment to protect insured depositors against loss."

Bair said yesterday that the agency's failure to collect premiums from most banks "was surprising to me and of concern." As a Treasury Department official in 2001, she said, she testified on Capitol Hill about the need to impose the fees, but nothing happened. Congress did not grant the authority for the fees until 2006, just weeks before Bair took over the FDIC. She then used that authority to impose the fees over the objections of some within the banking industry.

"That is five years of very healthy good times in banking that could have been used to build up the reserve," Bair, a former professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, said in an interview. "That is how we find ourselves where we are today. An important lesson going forward is we need to be building up these funds in good times so you can draw down upon them in bad times."

Hurley agreed with Bair's analysis of the FDIC's dilemma. "Typically you would build up a reserve during the halcyon days to protect yourselves during a recession," he said, calling the decision to stop collecting most premiums "a political one" that was pushed by banks and not based on strict accounting principles.

But James Chessen, chief economist of the American Bankers Association, said that it made sense at the time to stop collecting most premiums because "the fund became so large that interest income on the fund was covering the premiums for almost a decade." There were relatively few bank failures and no projection of the current economic collapse, he said.

"Obviously hindsight is 20-20," Chessen said.

House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank agreed that officials believed at the time that the good times would last and that bank failures would not be a problem.

"We had this period where we had no failures," the Massachusetts Democrat said in an interview yesterday. "The banks were saying, 'Don't charge us anything.' "

Last October, to help restore confidence during the financial meltdown, Congress and then-President Bush agreed to raise the insured amount from $100,000 to $250,000 per depositor until Dec. 31, 2009. A small portion of the new fees on banks will go toward supporting that increase.

The FDIC has never failed to make good on its promise to pay for the insured deposits when a bank fails, and officials said that will not change. The fund ran short of money during the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s, prompting the agency to increase fees to make up for the shortfall.

Then, a booming economy left banks flush with cash, and by 1996 the insurance fund was considered so large that it could grow through interest payments and fees charged only to banks with high credit risk. Congress agreed that premiums didn't need to be collected if the fund was sustained at a level that was considered safe. Thus, about 95 percent of banks paid no premiums from 1996 to 2006, including some new ones that did not have to pay a premium, the FDIC said.

Congress mandates that the insurance fund must stay between 1.15 percent and 1.5 percent of all insured deposits. The reserve ratio on Dec. 31 was 0.40 percent, down from 1.22 percent at the end of 2007. The FDIC has increased premiums to increase the reserve ratio, as well as proposing a one-time emergency assessment that could raise as much as $15 billion.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Not to get back to housing & the economy, but...

Foreclosures up 30 percent in February
by Alan Zibel, Associated Press
Wednesday March 11, 2009, 10:39 PM

WASHINGTON -- Despite halts on new foreclosures by several major lenders, the number of households threatened with losing their homes rose 30 percent in February from last year's levels, RealtyTrac reported Thursday.

Nationwide, nearly 291,000 homes received at least one foreclosure-related notice last month, up 6 percent from January, according to the Irvine, Calif-based company. While foreclosures are highly concentrated in the Western states and Florida, the problem is spreading to states like Idaho, Illinois and Oregon as the U.S. economy worsens.

"It doesn't bode well," for the embattled U.S. housing market, said Rick Sharga, vice president for marketing at RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing firm. "At least for the foreseeable future, it's going to continue to be pretty ugly."

The rise in foreclosure filings came despite temporary halts to foreclosures by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and major banks JPMorgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup and Bank of America. Those companies pledged to do so in advance of President Barack Obama's plan to stem the foreclosure crisis, which was launched last week.

Two states that contributing to the increase were Florida and New York, where temporary bans on foreclosures ended.

But other states are moving to enact similar measures. On Wednesday the Michigan House approved legislation that would give homeowners facing foreclosure a 90-day reprieve. The legislation now goes to Michigan's Republican-led Senate, where its future is unclear.

While the number of foreclosures continue to soar nationwide, banks have held off listing properties for sale, Sharga said. There were around 700,000 such properties nationwide at the end of last year, making up a "shadow inventory" of unsold homes that could drag the housing crisis out even longer.

"It's going to take us longer than you might anticipate to burn through he inventory of distressed properties," he said.

The results highlight the challenge ahead for Obama and his economic advisers. The Obama administration is aiming to help up to 9 million borrowers stay in their homes through refinanced mortgages or loans that are modified to lower monthly payments.

Still, the faltering economy, driven down by the collapse of the housing bubble, is causing the housing crisis to spread. Nearly 12 percent of all Americans with a mortgage -- a record 5.4 million homeowners -- were at least one month late or in foreclosure at the end of last year, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. That's up from 10 percent at the end of the third quarter, and up from 8 percent at the end of 2007.

The RealtyTrac report said more than 74,000 properties were repossessed by lenders in February as the worst recession in decades, falling home values and stricter lending standards continue to sap the U.S. real estate market.

Nevada, Arizona, California and Florida had the nation's top foreclosure rates. In Nevada, one in every 70 homes received a foreclosure filing, while the number was one every 147 in Arizona. Rounding out the top 10 were Idaho, Michigan, Illinois, Georgia, Oregon and Ohio.

Among metro areas, Las Vegas was first, with one in every 60 housing units receiving a foreclosure filing. It was followed by the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area in Florida and five California metropolitan areas: Stockton, Modesto, Merced, Riverside-San Bernardino and Bakersfield.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Oregon posts nation's 5th-highest jobless rate
by Richard Read, The Oregonian
Wednesday March 11, 2009, 11:24 AM

Oregon has the fifth-highest unemployment rate in the country -- 9.9 percent in January -- behind Michigan (11.6 percent), South Carolina (10.4 percent), Rhode Island (10.3 percent) and California (10.1 percent).

Oregon's ranking climbed from sixth-highest, in December. Some economists expect the state's rate for February to hit double digits when the figure is reported Monday.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that 49 states and the District of Columbia registered seasonally adjusted unemployment-rate increases in January. The national unemployment rate rose from 7.2 percent in December to 7.6 percent in January -- 2.7 percentage points higher than a year earlier.

In January, the West and Midwest again posted the highest regional jobless rates, at 8.7 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively. The Northeast recorded the lowest rate, at 7.1 percent.

Wyoming registered the lowest unemployment rate, 3.7 percent.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Japan's 4Q GDP revision confirms deep recession
by Tomoka A. Hosaka, Associated Press
Wednesday March 11, 2009, 10:37 PM

TOKYO -- Japan's economy shrank a bit less than first estimated in the fourth quarter, but the revised government data Thursday is hardly good news, serving only to underscore the increasingly grim picture for the world's second-largest economy.

Export demand has collapsed, corporate profits are swerving into losses, and job losses are accelerating nationwide amid Japan's steepest slump since the end of World War II.

Analysts say the current downturn -- and the response of Japanese companies to it -- have combined into a new kind of recession, that's swifter and deeper than ever before.

"The Japanese economy was simply collapsing and nose-diving toward the end of last year," said Kyohei Morita, chief economist at Barclays Capital in Tokyo.

Gross domestic product, or the total value of the nation's goods and services, fell at a 12.1 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter, slightly better than the Cabinet Office's preliminary reading of a 12.7 percent contraction.

The contraction is the severest for Japan since the oil shock of 1974 and is double the pace of the decline in the U.S.

On a quarterly basis, GDP dropped 3.2 percent, improved from an initial reading of a 3.3 percent decline due in part to an upward revision in inventories, the government said.

Japan's economy has shrunk for three straight quarters and is almost certainly headed for a fourth quarter of contraction. Like its Asian neighbors, the export-reliant country has been pummeled by the U.S. financial crisis, which morphed into plunging global demand for its cars and gadgets.

The country's exports plummeted a record 13.8 percent in the fourth quarter from the third quarter, the government said. Capital expenditure -- business investment in factories and equipment -- fell 5.4 percent from the previous quarter, while government investment grew 0.1 percent.

Iconic exporters including Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Corp. -- both of which are forecasting annual losses -- have reduced shifts, suspended factory lines and announced thousands of job cuts over the past few months. Industrial production in Japan tumbled a record 10 percent in January.

Economists say they've never seen Japanese companies move so quickly to cut staff, facilitated by their greater reliance on temporary contract workers who can be eliminated more easily than full-time employees.

"In past recessions, we typically ended up with excess employment, which resulted in excess production, which resulted in inventory," said Morita of Barclays Capital. "Households have a big hardship under the current recession, but with them as the sacrifice of the economy, the adjustment has been much quicker than before."

The unemployment rate eased a tad to 4.1 percent in January, but the figure doesn't account for workers who have simply dropped out of the labor market altogether. So-called discouraged workers, who have stopped actively looking for a job, are counted in Japanese labor data as part of the "non-working population" instead of the unemployed.

A recent report by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare estimated that nearly 158,000 "non-regular" employees in Japan's manufacturing sector will have lost their jobs between October and March.

For all of 2008, the economy shrank a revised 0.6 percent -- the first decline in nine years, according to the Cabinet Office.

Many forecasters also expect another year of contraction in 2009. Estimates of the severity of the slump this year range widely with the International Monetary Fund forecasting a 2.6 percent contraction and JPMorgan tipping GDP to shrink 7.7 percent.

To revive the economy, Japan's parliament passed a contentious 4.8 trillion yen ($52.2 billion) stimulus plan in January that includes a cash payout that amounts to 12,000 yen ($133) per Japanese taxpayer. Prime Minister Taro Aso -- who faces dismal approval ratings -- has championed the idea, saying it will stimulate sagging consumer spending.

Officials may be considering additional measures to shore up the economy in the months ahead.

Already, Japan's central bank, which lowered its key interest rate to 0.1 percent in December, has introduced various steps to try to thaw a corporate credit crunch, including buying commercial paper, corporate bonds, and stocks from financial institutions.

But Masamichi Adachi, senior economist at JP Morgan Securities in Tokyo, predicts this quarter will be even worse. He forecasts GDP to plunge an annualized 15 percent in the January-March period, though he expects Japan's economy to begin climbing again by the end of the year.

"We believe that efforts of governments and central banks all over the world -- which are still in pipeline -- will work eventually, at least in some extent, and Japan's economy can benefit from them," he said in a report.

"Nonetheless, expected severe business retrenchment in inventories, capital, and labor costs likely will weigh on growth significantly for a considerable time at large scale."

In stock trading, the benchmark Nikkei 225 index was down 2 percent at 7,230.36. The dollar was trading at 96.21 yen, down from 97.31 late Wednesday.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Gross domestic product, or the total value of the nation's goods and services, fell at a 12.1 percent annual rate in the October-December quarter, slightly better than the Cabinet Office's preliminary reading of a 12.7 percent contraction.

The Jap's are in a modern-day Depression. There's the picture of our future....

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

More states see double-digit jobless rates

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A growing number of states suffered double-digit unemployment rates in January, and others are close behind, buttressing fears that the national jobless rate could hit 10 percent by year's end.

The rising joblessness reflects the pain that the housing, credit and financial crises — the worst since the 1930s — has caused workers and companies. The latest figures were issued Wednesday in the Labor Department's monthly report on state unemployment.

"There is hardly any escape from this recession," said Steven Cochrane, managing director of Moody's Economy.com. "With state unemployment rates rising so quickly, it reinforces the notion of a 10 percent national unemployment by the end of the year."

In January, jobless rates rose in 49 states and the District of Columbia. Louisiana was the only state to record a drop.

About 5.1 million people are drawing state unemployment insurance, near an all-time high, the federal government said last week. The crush has exhausted unemployment funds in New York, California and elsewhere, forcing them to tap the federal government for money to keep paying benefits.

Joblessness was worst in the West and Midwest, where the loss of manufacturing, construction, retail and other jobs tied to the collapsed housing market was especially severe.

The West — home to California and some other states that led the housing boom — has been battered by the housing bust. And jobs are vanishing from the Midwest as the troubles of Detroit's beleaguered auto makers spill over and reduce employment in industries linked to autos, such as car parts and other components used in production.

Frank Aguilar, who lives in New Jersey, is among those swept up in the collapse of the U.S. auto industry. After six years at Chrysler, he was laid off about a month ago from his job as a dealer representative in the tri-state area.

"I'm looking for anything right now," Aguilar said. "I'm antsy."

The jobless rate in Aguilar's home state rose to 7.3 percent in January, from 6.8 percent in December.

Four states — California, South Carolina, Michigan and Rhode Island — registered unemployment rates above 10 percent in January.

Laid-off textile, clothing and other factory workers in South Carolina are hard-pressed to find work elsewhere. In Rhode Island, state leaders are still seeking a high-tech replacement for the long-ailing manufacturing sector.

In December, only Michigan had a double-digit jobless rate. One month later, four states did.

Nick Davies is job hunting in South Carolina.

"I'll take anything you've got," the 47-year-old engineer told a recruiter. He moved to Myrtle Beach from Peoria, Ill., after being laid off from Caterpillar three months ago, figuring the job market had to be better in the sunny South. Now, he's not so sure.

Across the country, David Rhey, a 28-year-old father of three, worries about losing his job with the city of Sacramento, Calif., which is preparing layoffs.

"We're all just hanging on until we can find something else," said Rhey, a seasonal parks employee. He runs his own tree-trimming business on the weekends and frets about being able to afford his living expenses if he loses his city job.

The unemployment rate in California jumped to 10.1 percent in January, from 8.7 percent in December.

Michigan's rate hit 11.6 percent in January, the highest in the country. Second-highest was South Carolina at 10.4 percent. Rhode Island was next at 10.3 percent, which marked an all-time high for the state in federal records dating to 1976. California rounded out the top four.

North Carolina and Oregon, along with South Carolina, notched the sharpest monthly gains: 1.6 percentage-points each. North Carolina's rate soared to 9.7 percent, Oregon's to 9.9 percent.

Four other states — Indiana, Nevada, North Carolina and Oregon — plus the District of Columbia had rates that topped 9 percent in January.

Wyoming continued to register the lowest unemployment rate: 3.7 percent. And Louisiana's unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in January, from 5.5 percent in December.

The U.S. unemployment rate, released last week, rose to 8.1 percent in February, the highest in more than 25 years. Some economists predict the U.S. jobless rate will peak at 11 percent or higher by the middle of 2010.

Nationwide, besides laying off workers, employers are holding hours down and freezing or cutting pay as the recession eats into sales and profits.

Disappearing jobs and evaporating wealth from tanking home values, 401(k)s and other investments have forced consumers to retrench, driving companies to shrink their work forces. The result has been a vicious cycle in which the economy's problems have been feeding on each other and accelerating the downward spiral.

And more layoffs are on the way. National Semiconductor Corp. said Wednesday it will lay off 1,725 employees, more than one-quarter of its work force, after third-quarter profits fell 71 percent.

Industrial conglomerate United Technologies Corp., which makes Otis elevators and Sikorsky helicopters, said Tuesday it will lay off 11,600 workers, or 5 percent of its work force. Dow Chemical Co. on Monday said it would cut 3,500 jobs at chemical company Rohm & Haas Co. as part of its $15 billion buyout of the company.

President Barack Obama has said it will take time for his economic revival and job-creation programs to work.

Obama is counting on a multipronged assault to lift the country out of recession: a $787 billion stimulus package, including money that will flow to states for public works projects, provide aid to states to defray budget cuts and extend unemployment benefits and boosts food stamp benefits; a revamped bailout program for troubled banks; and a $75 billion effort to stem home foreclosures.

The recession has claimed a net total of 4.4 million jobs since December 2007. It's left 12.5 million people seeking work — more than the population of Pennsylvania.

Anonymous said...

An open debate about Israel beings?? I'm from Bend and I have a MT-B to sell you.

...

FIRESTORM! The Mainstream Media Explodes Over Freeman "Withdrawal"
TPMCafé - ‎58 minutes ago‎
By MJ Rosenberg - March 12, 2009, 9:14AM Until today the story of the "pro-Israel" right's efforts (ultimately successful) to keep a critic of Israel's policies out of the National Intelligence Council has been confined to the blogosphere. ...
Views on Israel behind intelligence pick's withdrawal
International Herald Tribune - ‎1 hour ago‎
By Mark Mazzetti and Helene Cooper WASHINGTON: When Dennis Blair, the director of national intelligence, announced that he would install Charles Freeman Jr. in a top intelligence post, the decision surprised some in the White House who worried that the ...
The Israel Lobby is Me
America Magazine (subscription) - ‎1 hour ago‎
All of the interesting "Catholic stories" have kept me from opining about Charles Freeman, the man who had been selected to chair the National Intelligence Council by President Obama’s incoming Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair. ...
Freeman: there’s got to be a morning after. Or two.
Jewish Telegraphic Agency - ‎1 hour ago‎
By Ron Kampeas · March 12, 2009 The New York Times and the Washington Post top-front-page the Chas Freeman story two days after he turned down a job chairing the National Intelligence Council and weeks after his nomination became controversial. ...
Freeman says pro-Israel lobby forced hand
United Press International - ‎1 hour ago‎
FLASHBACK: President of the Middle East Policy Council Charles Freeman speaks on the situation in Iraq and the findings of The Iraq Study Report at a discussion panel hosted by the USIP in Washington on December 13, 2006. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) ...
The Post and Charles Freeman
Harper's Magazine - ‎1 hour ago‎
By Ken Silverstein An editorial in today’s Washington Post says that Charles W. Freeman Jr. “looked like a poor choice to chair the Obama administration’s National Intelligence Council” and criticized Freeman for suggesting that the Israeli Lobby had ...
Score one for "Israel lobby" as Obama loses another appointee
National Post - ‎1 hour ago‎
Finding the right people to serve in his administration isn't getting any easier for President Barack Obama. Charles 'Chas' Freeman, the new chairman of the President's national intelligence council, quit on Tuesday before even starting the job. ...
Chas Freeman and the ‘Israel Lobby’
The Week Magazine - ‎2 hours ago‎
A “ferocious” debate over the alleged power of “the Israel Lobby” raged in 2006, after two professors wrote a book of the same name, said the Los Angeles Times in an editorial. The “furor” re-erupted when President Obama picked former Ambassador ...
The distorting effect of anonymity
Salon - ‎2 hours ago‎
Here’s the problem, though. Sources request "background" or "off the record" status at the beginning of a conversation—that is, before you know what they’re going to say. Maybe they’re just going to give you spin, and maybe they’re going to tell you ...
US Intel Agrees To Probe Freeman's Saudi Links
Evening Bulletin - ‎3 hours ago‎
By David Bedein, Middle East Correspondent Jerusalem — The Middle East Newsline has confirmed the US intelligence community has agreed to investigate an intelligence appointee’s reported connection to Saudi Arabia and China. ...
Two sides on Chas Freeman
Washington Examiner - ‎3 hours ago‎
By Meghan Cox Gurdon Chas Freeman Jr. has withdrawn his name from consideration. He will now not seek the office he’d been offered in the Obama Administration, that of Chairman of the National Intelligence Council. “Phew!” goes up the cry amongst those ...
US intelligence chief blames 'Israel lobby' for his resignation
Times Online - ‎7 hours ago‎
The withdrawal of a former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia from his new post as chairman of the National Intelligence Council has ignited a debate in Washington over whether the "Israel lobby'' is exercising too much influence over who serves in the ...
An open debate on Israel
Los Angeles Times - ‎7 hours ago‎
Obama's appointee to lead the National Intelligence Council withdrew, blaming the Israel lobby. To shape US policy, many voices must be heard. When John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt wrote about "The Israel Lobby" in 2006, many supporters of Israel were ...

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Unemployment: Where we at now:

UNADJUSTED

Jan 09
USA: 8.5%
Oregon: 10.9%
Deschutes: 14.6%
Crook: 18.2%
Jefferson: 16.2%

Jan 08
USA: 5.4%
Oregon: 6.0%
Deschutes: 7.4%
Crook: 8.9%
Jefferson: 9.5%

YoY Change
USA: +57.4%
Oregon: +81.7%
Deschutes: +97.3%
Crook: +104.5%
Jefferson: +70.5%

The Bully? Lemme guess:

Deshutes County One Of The Lowest Increases In Unemployment in Central Oregon!

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

And Deschutes County is TOP 5 in state homelessness!

Yeah Team!

Anonymous said...

The MSM's hands were tied by Freeman's parting shot, in which he clearly stated the obvious:

"The outrageous agitation…will be seen by many to raise serious questions about whether the Obama administration will be able to make its own decisions about the Middle East and related issues...[It casts] doubt on its ability to consider, let alone decide what policies might best serve the United States rather than those of a Lobby intent on enforcing the will and interests of a foreign government…

"The aim of this Lobby is control of the policy process through the exercise of a veto over the appointment of people who dispute the wisdom of its views…and the exclusion of any and all options for decision by Americans and our government other than those it [the Lobby] favors."

The cat has left the bag. Freeman also put the ball in Obama's court: There's simply no way this can be seen as anything other than an American President's craven acquiescence to a lobby fronting for a foreign government. If there is justice in cosmos, this victory will be less pyrrhic than kamikaze for the lobby's irrepressible influence.

Anonymous said...

Biggest story today is that Bristol Palin is leaving Levi 'Jew' Johnson, and to do porn for larry flynt.

Anonymous said...

Warren Buffet has wrote lots of INSURANCE on the premise that world stock-markets would never go down, Buffet bet wrong, and sold tons of insurance, ... good news is from all the premium buffett collected his berkshire looked good yesterday, even better news is buffet doesn't have to pay out the claims until after he's dead, and brk.a is BK.

...

March 10th, 2009
Buffett’s big bet

By: Jonathan Ford
buffett

– Jonathan Ford is a Reuters columnist. The views expressed are his own –

The credit crunch has exposed many one-time financial heroes as having feet of clay. Even the great Sage of Omaha, Warren Buffett has fallen from grace.

The shift in mood has been brutal. The price of shares in the Sage’s investment company, Berkshire Hathaway, has more than halved since last September. Meanwhile, his one-time iron-clad balance sheet now looks rather frail. The credit default swap market is saying that the company’s vaunted AAA rating is so much baloney. Berkshire’s bonds are trading close to junk levels.

The pain is largely self-inflicted. It stems from Buffett’s decision to raise $4.9 billion by writing put options that insured buyers against falls in the value of several large global stock indices, including the S&P 500 and the FTSE 100. These he sold to a range of unknown counterparties between 2006 and the end of last year. The indices in question have slumped putting the Sage potentially on the hook for an AIG-style payout. On a mark-to-market basis, the positions were $10 billion underwater at the end of 2008, giving a $5.1 billion loss after the premium is accounted for.

Why, one might ask, did Buffett make such a bet? This is, after all, the man who has railed in the past against over-the-counter derivatives, describing them as “financial weapons of mass destruction”.

In broad terms, the Sage says that it’s all OK because he, unlike others, knows what he is doing. The options were sold dearly so the chance of a big loss is, he thinks, acceptably low. Stocks tend to rise in line with nominal GDP, especially over the long run. In any case, any payouts only have to be settled when the options expire between 2019 and 2028, which is quite a way out in the future.

Buffett has also argued that the Black-Scholes formula, used to value options, overstates his likely future liability against the puts (an argument that, incidentally, were he really to believe it, would logically lead him to keep writing and selling puts ad infinitum).

So that’s alright then.

Investors have no choice but to trust the Sage if they continue to hold the stock as they don’t have the information to make their own assessment. Intriguingly, many of them seem to be exiting. Perhaps they don’t like the slight whiff of hubris and hypocrisy in the air. It is hard to escape the perception that, for all the talk of value, the Sage sold many of these derivatives mainly to provide a kicker to spruce up the returns from his sagging stock portfolio.

There is also something worrying about selling puts on the stock market and using the proceeds to buy, um, stocks. It’s in effect a double-or-quits bet and if it goes wrong, the Sage is in double trouble. His liabilities will shoot up just as his asset portfolio is shrinking.

But it may also be that investors are spooked by yet another aspect of this trade. Call it the demographic question. Presumably, when Buffett’s counterparties handed him the $4.9 billion in return for his puts, they did so on the assumption that his shrewd investing would ensure that Berkshire would be around to pay whatever it owed under the contracts over the next 10 to 20 years. But by the time the bills arrive, the Sage will be between 89 and 98 years old (depending on expiry date), and his partner Charlie Munger in the even more impressive 95-104 range. God knows who will be running Berkshire then, or indeed whether the stock portfolio will be up to the task of meeting the firm’s liabilities — especially if stock prices fall further than expected and stay down for longer.

This uncomfortable demographic truth may also have occurred to the unknown entities that bought the put options. Under the deal they struck, Berkshire doesn’t have to post more margin if the markets move against it, meaning the put owners are shouldering a hell of a lot of counterparty risk. One explanation for Berkshire’s ballooning credit default spreads then could always be that they are busy buying credit protection on the company for themselves.

...


Warren Buffett’s Jewish Connection


By Chanan Tigay


Warren Buffett is not a Jew; in fact, he describes himself as an agnostic.

Still, the billionaire investment guru, who made big news in May when his Berkshire Hathaway corporation bought an 80 percent share in the Israeli metalworks conglomerate, Iscar, for $4 billion, for years has been making his mark on the U.S. Jewish community back home -- although sometimes in a roundabout way.

"Proportionally, if you look at the number of Jews in this country and in the world, I'm associated with a hugely disproportionate number," said Buffett, the second-richest man in the world. His life, he added, "has been blessed by friendship with many Jews."

The Israeli government stands to reap about $1 billion in taxes on Buffett's purchase of Iscar. Shortly after announcing the deal, Buffett said he was surprised to learn that a Berkshire subsidiary, CTB International, was purchasing a controlling interest in another Israeli company, AgroLogic.

In Israel -- which Buffett plans to visit in the fall -- the hope is that the deals will have longer legs: Buffett himself has not ruled out future purchases there and, considering his status as a leading investor, observers say others also may take a look at Israeli companies now that Buffett has done so.

"You won't find in the world a better-run operation than Iscar," Buffett says. "I don't think it's an accident that it's run by Israelis."

Among the first companies Buffett acquired after launching Berkshire Hathaway, the Omaha-based investment and insurance giant, was The Sun Newspapers of Omaha, then owned by Stan Lipsey, one-time chairman of The Jewish Press, Omaha's Jewish newspaper.

"At the time, the Omaha Club did not take Jewish members, and the Highland Country Club, a golf club, didn't have any [non-Jewish] members," Lipsey recalled. "Warren volunteered to join the Highland" -- rather than the Omaha -- "to set an example of nondiscrimination."

Buffett happily recalls the fallout from his application.

"It created this big rhubarb," he said. "All of the rabbis appeared on my behalf, the [Anti-Defamation League] guy appeared on my behalf. Finally they voted to let me in."

But that wasn't the end of the story, Buffett said. The Highland had a rule requiring members to donate a certain amount of money to their synagogues. Buffett, of course, wasn't a synagogue member, so the club changed its policy: Members now would be expected to give to their synagogues, temples or churches.

But that still didn't quite work, Buffett recalls with a laugh, because of his agnosticism.

In the end, the rule was amended to ask simply that members make some sort of charitable donation, and the path to Buffet's membership was clear.

"He's an incredible guy," said Lipsey, today the publisher of the Buffalo News. In 1973, The Sun won a Pulitzer Prize in local investigative specialized reporting for an expose on financial impropriety at Boys Town, Neb.

"Warren came up with the key source for us knowing what was going on out there," Lipsey said.

Buffett himself researched Boys Town's stocks to bolster the story, Lipsey added.

In the 1960s, Omaha Rabbi Myer Kripke decided to invest in his friend Buffett's new business venture. Their wives had become friendly, he said, and the foursome enjoyed playing the occasional game of bridge together.

"My wife had no card sense and I was certainly no competition to Warren, who is a very good bridge player and a lover of the game," said Kripke, rabbi emeritus of Omaha's Conservative Beth El Synagogue. "He's very bright and very personable and very decent. He is a rich man who is as clean as can be."

Kripke, father of the noted philosopher Saul Kripke, bought a few shares in Berkshire Hathaway and quickly sold them, doubling his money, he said.

Recognizing a good thing when he saw it, he bought a bunch more shares in his friend's company, shares that by the 1990s had made Kripke -- who says he never earned more than $30,000 a year as a rabbi -- a millionaire.

Asked if he credits Buffett with his financial success, he didn't hesitate.

"Entirely, yes," he said. "I never had much of an income."

The Sun newspaper group was not Buffett's only early purchase of a Jewish-owned company. In 1983, sealing the deal with a handshake, Buffett bought 90 percent of the Nebraska Furniture Mart from Rose Blumkin, a Russian-born Jew who moved to the United States in 1917.

In 1989, he purchased a majority of the stock in Borsheim's Fine Jewelry and Gifts, a phenomenally successful jewelry store, from the Friedman family.

"He has many friends in the Jewish community," said Forrest Krutter, secretary of Berkshire Hathaway and a former president of the Jewish Federation of Omaha.

Buffett's former son-in-law, Allen Greenberg, is a Jew, and now runs the Buffett Foundation, much of whose work has dealt with reproductive rights and family-planning issues. Buffett's personal assistant is Ian Jacobs, who goes by his Hebrew name, Shami.

Buffett himself counts the late Nebraska businessman Howard "Micky" Newman and philanthropist Jack Skirball as among his "very closest friends."

Further, Buffett said his "hero and the man who made me an investment success" was Ben Graham. Graham, along with Newman's father, Jerry, ran a New York fund called Graham-Newman Corp.

"After besieging Ben for the three years after I received my degree from Columbia, Ben and Jerry finally hired me," Buffett said. "I was the first gentile ever employed by the firm -- including secretaries -- in its 18 years of existence. My first son bears the middle name Graham after Ben."

Buffett "is very much honored in the Jewish community," Kripke said.

...

"At the time, the Omaha Club did not take Jewish members, and the Highland Country Club, a golf club, didn't have any [non-Jewish] members," Lipsey recalled. "Warren volunteered to join the Highland" -- rather than the Omaha -- "to set an example of nondiscrimination."


*

This is and was probably the only real smart decision Buffette ever made in his life.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

Biggest story today is that Bristol Palin is leaving Levi 'Jew' Johnson, and to do porn for larry flynt.

Yeah, she ranks a rant-termination pic. Them titties are huge.

Anonymous said...

How long will AIPAC be allowed to 'front' for Made-Off, Sawyer, Buffet, Bend-1031?? and other zionist fronts??

Thursday March 12, 2009 05:17 EDT


The distorting effect of anonymity


In response to the criticisms I wrote last week of the widespread and baseless grants of anonymity by journalists, Julian Sanchez responds that, while he largely agrees with the objections I raise, it is a more complicated problem than my argument suggests (emphasis in original):

Here’s the problem, though. Sources request "background" or "off the record" status at the beginning of a conversation—that is, before you know what they’re going to say. Maybe they’re just going to give you spin, and maybe they’re going to tell you something that would get them in hot water with an employer or colleague if it were attributed. When you’ve got a relationship with a source over time, of course, you can start being a bit more demanding with the folks who request anonymity for spin. But in a given instance, you don’t know which it is until you hear what they’ve got to say, which often requires agreeing to a source’s terms—at which point you can’t go back on the agreement if they’re just giving you the party line.

All that might be true, but one doesn't have to agree to have an off-the-record or background discussion with anyone unless one believes in advance that there's a legitimate reason to do so (see David Cay Johnston's refusal to do so with Obama spokespeople here). And even if one does agree to those conditions and the information one then receives doesn't warrant anonymity, the journalist can attempt to persuade the person to agree to have the comments be on the record (and newspaper anonymity policies not only require that such an effort be made, but also require that those efforts be described when using anonymity -- a "rule" that is ignored far more often than adhered to).

But the most important point is that journalists are not required to serve as message-carriers. The mere fact that you agree to a "background" discussion doesn't obligate you to then go forth and obediently publish whatever the person on background utters. If all they're doing is trying to inject claims (or "spin") into the public discussion in order to be able to influence or manipulate the debate without accountability (because they're allowed by the journalist to do so anonymously), then the journalist can -- and should -- simply refrain from allowing themselves to be used in that way. There's no value, and there is often great harm, when a journalist passes on false claims or even just "spin" on behalf of a political figure whose identity the journalist is shielding from the public.

There are very narrow circumstances in which, virtually everyone agrees, anonymity is warranted -- when genuinely secret information is being revealed or someone is risking something in order to disclose matters of public interest. But far more often than not, that isn't how anonymity is used. Instead, it's typically a weapon wielded by government officials and other politically influential people to use the journalist to disseminate information -- often dubious or outright false information -- to the public while cowardly hiding behind the accountability-free protective shield erected for them by the journalist.

Now that establishment media venues have finally (now that it's all over) taken note of the Charles Freeman controversy which was exploding on blogs and in Congress for the last week, we have yet another perfectly illustrative example of these distorting effects of anonymity. In The New York Times yesterday, Mark Mazzetti noted that Freeman blamed "the Israel Lobby" for the attacks against him, but then followed his description of Freeman's accusation with this paragraph:

Joshua Block, a spokesman for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a lobbying group, said Tuesday that his organization had not taken a formal position on Mr. Freeman’s selection and had not lobbied Congress members to oppose it.

See? Contrary to Freeman's frenzied conspiratorial rantings, AIPAC had nothing to do with the controversy. The always-neocon-friendly Washington Post Editorial Page today went even further in insisting that Freeman's false claim of AIPAC's involvement was part of what the Post called Freeman's "crackpot tirade":

Yes, Mr. Freeman was referring to Americans who support Israel -- and his statement was a grotesque libel.

For the record, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee says that it took no formal position on Mr. Freeman's appointment and undertook no lobbying against him. If there was a campaign, its leaders didn't bother to contact the Post editorial board.

Since there are no on-the-record quotes from AIPAC opposing Freeman's appointment, the impression is created -- explicitly and deliberately -- that Freeman's claims of AIPAC's involvement are false, paranoid and even bigoted. But Fred Hiatt might have waited a day before writing that accusation so that he could read his own newspaper, where this article on the Freeman controversy by Post reporter Walter Pincus appears:

Only a few Jewish organizations came out publicly against Freeman's appointment, but a handful of pro-Israeli bloggers and employees of other organizations worked behind the scenes to raise concerns with members of Congress, their staffs and the media.

For example, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), often described as the most influential pro-Israel lobbying group in Washington, "took no position on this matter and did not lobby the Hill on it," spokesman Josh Block said.

But Block responded to reporters' questions and provided critical material about Freeman, albeit always on background, meaning his comments could not be attributed to him, according to three journalists who spoke to him.

Anyone who even casually followed the Freeman attacks from the start knew where most of the attacks originated. Once it was over, neocons like Daniel Pipes were sending out celebratory emails hailing former AIPAC official (and accused espionage defendant) Steve Rosen as being the catalyzing force behind the anti-Freeman campaign. Dan Flesher reported that, throughout the controversy, Block himself, on behalf of AIPAC, was contacting journalists and bloggers and (while hiding behind grants of anonymity) encouraging and feeding the attacks on Freeman. Greg Sargent, who thoroughly covered the Freeman controversy from the start at his Washington Post-owned blog, wrote yesterday:

As Ben Smith, Andrew Sullivan, Max Blumenthal and others have already shown, pro-Israel forces were instrumental in turning the Freeman pick into a major controversy. Reporters who covered this closely were subjected to a barrage of info and spin from that camp.

Once Freeman was safely vanquished, even some of the lynch mob leaders, like The New Republic's Jonathan Chait, were willing to acknowledge: "Of course I recognize that the Israel lobby is powerful, and was a key element in the pushback against Freeman." Richard Silverstein wrote more than a week ago that "this coordinated attack fits Aipac’s modus operandi to a tee" and also noted the obvious: "This is Aipac laying down a marker, telling Obama that if he wants to stray from the fold on Israel this is what he can expect: war by attrition and death of policy by a thousand paper cuts. The Israel lobby desperately wants to slow down the train that is Obama’s Israel policy."

Reporters knew that AIPAC was helping to grease the wheels of the attack because it was reporters at whom AIPAC directed those secret efforts. Politico's Ben Smith even granted anonymity to what he called "a top official at one major pro-Israel organization" (which may or may not be AIPAC) merely to boast that the Freeman "victory" sent a message that "hostility" towards Israel will not be tolerated. Smith, however, also noted:

But Jewish and pro-Israel organizations largely decided not to make the fight against Freeman a public crusade, though they were the first, and fiercest, Freeman opponents and made their views known privately.

Yet reporters agreed to keep AIPAC's "private" involvement a secret by allowing them to do everything "on background," and -- far worse -- then allowed what they knew to be the false impression to be created that AIPAC had no involvement in the campaign. Instead of the truth, what we have is AIPAC insinuating (through Mark Mazzetti's article) and Fred Hiatt outright stating that Freeman's accusations of AIPAC's involvement are false and deranged -- all because journalists concealed AIPAC's involvement by agreeing to keep it all off the record and therefore pretending it didn't exist.

This is what journalistically unwarranted grants of anonymity so often achieve. It isn't merely that these grants of anonymity enable politically powerful individuals and groups to participate in our debates and disseminate information without any accountability whatsoever, though it does do that. Far worse, it causes journalists to become active participants in the dissemination of falsehoods and frauds. When politically powerful people can hide behind anonymity while having journalists disseminate their claims, they have no reason to be truthful because they know that the statements will never be attached to them, and it is thus very often used not to illuminate issues but purposefully to obfuscate and distort them.

In response to the post I wrote on anonymity last week (which focused on anonymous White House claims passed on by Ezra Klein and David Brooks, which produced diametrically opposite, mutually exclusive reports concerning Obama's actions on Social Security), Klein wrote that while "he agrees with much of what [I] wrote," anonymity is such a widespread practice that journalists have no choice but to agree to it even if they find it problematic:

I don't know how you get out of that cycle. But the judgment I've made is that my readers learn more even when the sourcing is anonymous then they'd learn if I decided to stop talking to officials on principal. It's not the optimal outcome, but it is, as far as I can tell, the best this site can do.

But that assumes, wrongly, that anonymous claims are always at least somewhat informative (even if not as informative as on-the-record claims would be). But often, perhaps most often, anonymous claims are the opposite of informative. They're intended to mislead and deceive, which is why the source is unwilling to attach their name to it. Passing those anonymous claims along doesn't help the public understand anything. It deceives the public.

I'm not singling out the Freeman/AIPAC episode here nor (as I emphasized) was I singling out Klein or Brooks last week. There's nothing unusual about what happened in the Freeman case. The opposite is true: it's an extremely common, highly illustrative example of how people in Washington use journalists to deceive rather than inform the public, and how journalists -- who love to be the ones who appear to be "on the inside" and in the know and whose careers are helped when they are used this way (because they appear to have scoops and insider insight) -- eagerly grant anonymity to anyone in power who requests it so that they will be chosen for similar mission-carrying, career-aiding tasks in the future. It's a dirty, synergistic dynamic which helps the source and the reporter and harms and misleads the public.

Justified anonymity is a vital tool for exposing government secrets and other forms of wrongdoing, but baseless grants of anonymity by journalists -- as the Bush era conclusively proved -- is the bond that keeps reporters and the politically powerful working in sync rather than adversarially, often with highly misleading and deceitful effects. That sort of anonymity is just another instrument used to shield the operations of the Beltway from scrutiny and public disclosure, and is the fuel that drives the incestuous, cooperative government-media monster. The accusation that Charles Freeman is some sort of raving paranoid for suggesting that AIPAC was behind these attacks on him -- a smear accomplished only by allowing AIPAC to do its dirty work behind the secrecy which journalists granted them -- is a perfect illustration of how severely this process can distort the truth.

* * * * *

One last point on Freeman: it's certainly true that some of the objections to Freeman had nothing to do with Israel and were motivated by claims that he was too close to the Saudi government or too soft on the Chinese, though is there anyone -- anywhere -- who believes that the controversy over a relatively obscure appointment of this type, not subject to Senate confirmation, would have received anything approaching this level of attention without Freeman's criticisms of Israel driving it?

More to the point: since when does closeness to Saudi Arabia disqualify someone from political office? Who in the U.S. Government advocates breaking off or even weakening our alliance with the Saudis? In Washington, close U.S.-Saudi ties are almost as much of an unchallenged political orthodoxy as U.S.-Israel ties, and it's been that way for decades. Does anyone remember this or this? Freeman was head of an organization that received miniscule amounts of funding from Saudi Arabia, an organization from which Freeman received a small salary. Compared to the involvement with the Saudis of the Bush family, which ran the country for many years -- or even the financial ties to foreign countries on the part of the Clintons, one of whom currently runs the entire U.S. State Department -- Freeman's supposed financial ties to Saudi Arabia is dwarfed by many magnitudes. And if ties to Middle Eastern countries disqualified people from holding high political office, we wouldn't know the names Doug Feith or Elliot Abrams or Dennis Ross or even Rahm Emanuel. Finally, the idea that the U.S. should maintain close relations with the Saudis isn't a fringe position; in fact, I can't think of anyone in high political office, now or in the prior administration, who argued otherwise.

And, for that matter, was there anyone in the Bush administration and is there anyone in the Obama administration who actually wants to take action against the Chinese -- our omnipotent bankers -- to punish them for their human rights violations or otherwise force them to change behavior? Freeman's comment on a private listserv about Tiananmen Square was certainly worthy of criticism (though see Dan Larison's second update here on the actual context of the remark), but the notion that his general views on and connections to the Saudis or Chinese is something unusual for Washington isn't even a serious argument. It's pure pretext to disguise what this controversy was about.



UPDATE: In the New York Times this morning, Mazzetti, writing with Helene Cooper, has a much better, more thorough article on the Freeman controversy, with this headline: "Israel Stance Was Undoing of Nominee for Intelligence Post." It quotes Chuck Schumer as accusing Freeman of "irrational hatred of Israel." The Freeman controversy, they write, raises the question of whether it is "possible to question American support for Israel without being either muzzled or marginalized," and quotes Robert Jordan, a former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, as saying (with great diplomatic understatement): "The reality of Washington is that our political landscape finds it difficult to assimilate any criticism of any segment of the Israeli leadership."

Just to underscore how respected of a diplomat and civil servant Freeman was in mainstream political circles in Washington, David Broder -- the ultimate face of the Washington establishment -- today lambasts Freeman critics and begins his column this way: "The Obama administration has just suffered an embarrassing defeat at the hands of the lobbyists the president vowed to keep in their place."

Is Fred Hiatt going to accuse Mazzetti, Cooper, Broder and Pincus of advancing "crackpot theories" and "grotesque libels" for pointing out the driving forces behind the attacks on Freeman? This may be a case where the Israel-devoted Right overplayed their hand to obtain a short-term victory at the expense of long-term damage to their cause. Freeman is widely admired in many influential intelligence and diplomatic circles in Washington, which are clearly angry about the ugly character smears directed at him. Has there ever been an occasion where the taboos suffocating our debates over Israel and the vast influence wielded by AIPAC and others over America's Middle East policies have been so openly discussed and widely debated in mainstream publications?

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

U.S. jobless seen nearing 10 percent

By Pedro Nicolaci da Costa Pedro Nicolaci Da Costa 1 hr 6 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. unemployment will approach 10 percent as the country endures its worst recession since World War Two, leaving more than 13 million Americans jobless, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

The economy will level out in the third quarter, the results showed, but the poll painted a bleaker picture than a survey conducted just a month ago.

Median forecasts now assume gross domestic product will shrink an annualized 5.3 percent this quarter, following a brutal 6.2 percent decline at the end of 2008.

The recession will continue into the second quarter, moderating to a 2 percent drop, stabilizing sometime this summer. GDP should turn the corner, albeit hesitantly, by autumn.

Analysts say the turbulence plaguing large sectors such as banking and autos means predictions are less reliable than usual.

"The economic outlook remains very uncertain," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates. "A bottom is likely by the end of the year, but downside risks continue."

The Reuters poll indicates the jobless rate, already at a 25-year high of 8.1 percent, will climb to 9.6 percent, probably sometime early next year, before receding. An eventual rebound in hiring will probably be mild and erratic.

In this environment, inflation will remain non-existent. Indeed, the consumer price index is expected to fall for the first nine months of this year, with a 2.2 percent decline in the third quarter marking the steepest pullback.

Prices will then climb again into next year, but modestly enough to allow the Federal Reserve to keep interest rates on hold until at least the latter part of 2010.

SPENDER OF LAST RESORT

The federal government has attacked the problem by committing trillions of dollars to help the banks and passing a $787 billion stimulus package aimed at reigniting growth.

Such measures should help with some of the worst effects of the crisis, analysts said, although there has been much debate about what types of stimulus offer the best path to recovery.

"We anticipate a rebound driven by fiscal and monetary stimulus," said Abiel Reinhart, economist at JP Morgan. "Unfortunately, it will take at least three other quarters before improvement in conditions will translate in a rebound for the job market."

This is bad news for both unemployed workers and businesses which rely on Americans' spending. Data on Thursday are expected to show a 0.5 percent decline in retail sales, adding to what was already the most dramatic pullback in spending in decades.

Anonymous said...

March 13, 2009 07:49 EDT

The agenda of Chuck Schumer & Hillary Clinton

(updated below - Update II - Update III)

It's worthwhile to review the actions of Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer with regard to some controversial appointments of the last few years, as it really reflects where the "center" is in Washington's political culture:



* Michael Hayden as Bush's CIA Director: Hayden implemented, oversaw and was the chief defender of Bush's illegal NSA spying program. Weeks before the Senate vote, his nomination was supposedly "complicated by the disclosure that the spy agency under Hayden's control collected phone records on millions of Americans." The new revelations of massive, secret spying on Americans under Hayden's watch prompted Dianne Feinstein to predict that the new surveillance scandal "is going to present a growing impediment to the confirmation of General Hayden and I think that is very regretted."

Two weeks later, Schumer voted to confirm Hayden.



* Michael Mukasey as Attorney General: During his confirmation hearings, Mukasey refused to say that waterboarding was torture and refused to repudiate the most radical Bush theories of executive power, including the right to detain American citizens indefinitely without charges and to attack Iran without Congressional authorization.

Schumer not only voted to confirm Mukasey, but his early announced support for Mukasey (as 1 of only 6 Democrats to do so) was, along with Feinstein's support, the event that assured Mukasey's confirmation.



* John Bolton as Bush's U.N. Ambassador: Bolton is about as extremist an ideologue as it gets, so much so that Senate Democrats and even some Senate Republicans joined together to refuse to vote on his nomination. But not Schumer:

Dodd still lies in wait, hoping to filibuster Bolton again, but he does not appear to have the votes this time. AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, now backs Bolton, and the usually partisan Democrat Sen. Charles Schumer has indicated he will change his vote from last year and vote for cloture to end debate.

New America Foundation's Steve Clemons, who led the effort to defeat Bolton's nomination, reported that Schumer was leading the way trying to pressure Democrats to support the nomination:

During the "third" major effort by the administration to get John Bolton confirmed as US Ambassador to the United Nations, one of the shocking parts of that battle was not only trying to get Republicans like former Senator Lincoln Chafee to stand strong against Bolton -- but to undo the damage that Schumer was doing inside the Democratic Caucus.

Two Democratic Senators involved in that part of the Bolton battle -- one on the Foreign Relations Committee and one not -- told me personally that Senator Schumer called them to say "a vote against Bolton is a vote against Israel" . . . .

Fortunately, Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Christopher Dodd undid the damage done by Schumer in a Democratic Caucus Luncheon and Dodd got the Dems to stand strong on Bolton despite Schumer's lobbying against Democratic Party and American national interests.

That allowed Senator Lincoln Chafee -- and behind the scenes Senator Richard Lugar -- to deploy the final coup de grace to the Bolton confirmation effort.



* Charles Freeman as Obama's Director of the NIC:

Yesterday, Schumer proudly boasted of the role he played in torpedoing the Freeman nomination on the ground that Freeman made "statements against Israel" that Schumer deemed to be "way over the top." Along those same lines, Politico's Ben Smith baselessly granted anonymity to someone Smith described as "an official at a major Jewish organization," who hid behind his anonymity and thundered: "What [the failure of the Freeman nomination] showed is that there's no place for that kind of hostility to America's closest friend and most loyal ally." And Antony Loewenstein notes that neocon fanatic Daniel Pipes is sending out mass emails crediting indicted AIPAC official/espionage suspect Steven Rosen with being the catalyst of the anti-Freeman campaign.

* * * * *

So, to review the beliefs of Chuck Schumer -- a leading Democrat from one of the bluest, most liberal states in the country (and Wall Street's most loyal and most rewarded servant) -- with regard to what does and does not disqualify one from high political office in the United States:

You can break the law when spying on Americans. You can store massive amounts of data about the activities of American citizens without the Congress authorizing or even knowing about it. You can give cover to torture, endorse the idea that Americans can be imprisoned without charges, and assert that the President can attack Iran without Congressional authority. You can advocate aggressive wars against Iraq and Iran and even take positions too extremist and belligerent even for the Bush administration.

That's all perfectly fine for Chuck Schumer. All of that is perfectly consistent with occupying the highest and most powerful positions in Government.

But you can't make "statements against Israel." Even for far less important and influential positions, even for positions that require far-ranging debates of ideas, that will cause Chuck Schumer to call Rahm Emanuel and -- echoing the views of the further-right members of the Senate -- demand that you be disqualified from serving in the American government, and then run around boasting that making "over-the-top" statements "against Israel" is the supreme sin in American politics.

Chuck Schumer represents nothing other than the rotted ways of Washington. He embodies everything that is broken and sleazy about our political system. That's the faction he speaks for most. As The Atlantic's James Fallows wrote last night:

I do not know Freeman and had never paid attention to him before this controversy. But it turns out that nearly twenty people I know well enough to respect and trust have themselves known and worked with Freeman. Every one of them supported his nomination. And -- as it is unfortunately relevant to point out in these circumstances -- most of them are Jewish.

We'll all think about this episode for a while.

As I documented the other day at length, it was a diverse set of commentators who were not only speaking in defense of Freeman this week, but also explicitly acknowledging the obvious: that most of the attacks on him were motivated by the effort to maintain the stranglehold on our debates over Israel and, in particular, to continue to make criticisms of American policy towards Israel career-ending events for any political figures (Greg Sargent noted the same diverse range of pro-Freeman voices here). If there's any silver lining in what just happened, it's that this episode was so flagrant and extreme that this recognition will only continue to grow. In the meantime, though, real damage has been done, as Time's Joe Klein noted:

[Freeman] pins his departure on "the Israel Lobby," which is imprecise. He was the victim of a mob, not a lobby. The mob was composed primarily of Jewish neoconservatives--abetted by less than courageous public servants like Senator Chuck Schumer, who has publicly taken credit for the hit. . . .

Schumer should know that he has taken a scalp in the name of closed-mindedness, which is not a well-known Jewish tradition. He has made Washington even less hospitable for those who aren't afraid to speak their minds, for those who are reflexively contentious, who would defy the conventional wisdom.

Freeman's most important point in his statement is this one:

I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.

Barack Obama should take note. The thugs have taken out Chas Freeman. They will not rest. Their real target is you, Mr. President.

The real goal, as always, was to ensure that there is no debate over America's indescribably self-destructive, blind support for Israeli actions. Freeman critics may have scored a short-term victory in that regard, but the more obvious it becomes what is really driving these scandals, the more difficult it will be to maintain this suffocating control over American debates and American policy.



UPDATE: Regarding Armando's point here: I have never heard anyone argue, and I certainly don't believe, that there's anything wrong or illegitimate about Americans with devotion to Israel trying to influence American policy and debates to ensure greater American allegiance to Israel. All American citizens have the right to engage in whatever sort of advocacy they want. Petitioning the Government is a core First Amendment right.

The point isn't that the power they exercise is illegitimate. The point is that it's harmful in the extreme. They use it to squelch debate, destroy the careers and reputations of those who deviate from their orthodoxies, and compel both political parties to maintain strict adherence to an agenda that is held by a minority of Americans; that is principally concerned with the interests of a foreign country; and that results in serious cost and harm to the United States. In doing so, they ensure not only that our policies towards Israel remain firmly in place no matter the outcome of our elections, but also that those policies remain beyond the realm of what can be questioned or debated by those who want to have a political future.

You can criticize someone's ideas without suggesting that they should be barred from expressing them. Identically, you can criticize someone's political activism and the effects of that activism without suggesting that the activism itself is illegitimate. People who believe in the AIPAC agenda have every right to engage in political activism to advance that agenda, and critics of that agenda have every right to point out the stranglehold they are exercising and the damage they are creating.



UPDATE II: To see why the exertion of this influence is so damaging, see here.



UPDATE III: The Washington Post's Dan Froomkin, who interviewed Freeman several years ago, has some worthwhile observations on what the U.S. lost as a result of this failed appointment.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

If the USA hits 10% unemployment (up ~33%), expect high-beta Oregon to hit 15.3%, and Super-Beta Bend to go to an eye-popping 18-22%.

This is no shit folks. Easily possible, and really probable at this point. Everything is coming inat 2 STD's below expectations & there's no reason to think that'll change soon.

GO TO WYOMING. 3.7% UNEMPLOYMENT.

If you think this place will survive 20% unemployment and look remotely like it has in the past 5-10 yrs, you got another thing coming. There'll be tent cities in Drake Park by next year, cuz China Hat will be full up.

IHateToBurstYourBubble said...

By Pedro Nicolaci Da Costa

Jeebus H Christmas, they're everywhere!

Anonymous said...

> GO TO WYOMING. 3.7% UNEMPLOYMENT.

I concur, but IIRC their boom is related to the mining of commodities.

Now that demand for all such stuff is plummeting, perhaps Wyoming may not be such a good place for long.

Anonymous said...

Hey Doh!

Don't be so negative on Bend, there is plenty of opportunity here.

You could get in on the ACN video phone sales program. Some of our local great real estate pros are doing it now. Mr Tuscany Pines is getting people set up at a rapid pace as well as Mr Mercato developer. Here is a little news story that SP posted over at BBB.

http://www.myfoxla.com/dpp/news/investigative/ACN_Good_Opportunity_or_Pyramid_Scheme_20091129

Anonymous said...

http://www.myfoxla.com/dpp/news/investigative/ACN_Good_Opportunity_or_Pyramid_Scheme_20091129

Anonymous said...

Buffet is a 'made-off' and going the way of Madoff.

Jesse can only do what he knows, and that is to pimp stock, albeit given he's a charter, rather than a fundamentalist is akin to saying he's a quack rather than a real doctor.

Buffet bought his way into insurance in the 1960's ( Berkshire ), and knew nothing about insurance, other than you could take OPM ( other peoples money ), as 'premiums' and play the horses-races with such. Buffet got his start like Madoff by hustling rich Jewish Golf courses ( fact ).

For forty years ( just like made-off ) Buffet did fine. My beef is for all the talk of Ben Graham, buffet is NO ben graham, Graham hated 'holding companys', and buffet is just a holding company, everything that graham despised is what Buffet is, yet Buffet continues to claim that he is a student of Graham. To me this is like Hitler claiming he is a student of the Torah.

Today the WSJ has said the Life-Insurance companys are the next to collapse. They're the biggest purchaser of US CORP BOND's, and now that most Fortune500 is going BK ( See Moodys list 2 days ago, 280 of the 500 are insolvent ).

All insurance is a PONZI today, the old days of actuarial fiduciary are over, in the last 40 years crooks got into insurance so they could invest premiums in the stock-market, and then DENY-CLAIMS.

It worked for Madoff for 40+ years, and it has worked for Buffet for 40+ years, and today its all imploding.

Jesse? He's Bend he's doing all that he knows how to do, PIMP for HOPE&CHANGE. Trouble is wall-st, and Moody's know the unfortunate truth, that most US CORP stock&bonds today are worthless.

So ALL go buy falling knives, catch them if you can, ... trouble is MADE-OFF & BUFFET are losing OPM ( other peoples money ), Jesse wants people in Bend to lose more of their own money.

Great argument today by Madoff, he can't possible go to prison, as the other 'inmates' might blame him for the depression. I hope Bend-1031, Sawyer, and all of Bend's bankers, realtors, and stock-brokers are studying the Made-Off strategy for home incarceration.

It's all going down, the USA government is a ponzi, and so is all the US corporations.

Ben Graham argued for transparency, and value investment. Non of these stock-ho's today have anything to do with Graham. Jesse is the worst, being a 'chartist', they're the snake-oil of the sewer-pit of wall-street.

Confidence? Has been completely lost. 10, 20 and more years of billion dollar bonuses that came from OPM ( other peoples money ) is/was the rule of the day, and that day is now over. All the money is GONE. Where did it go?? 100's and 100's of billions of dollars of bonuses paid out to everyone on wall-st and main-st that PIMPED stocks, no wonder these guys can't quit, like CORA or COBA its all they know PR&MARKET, and expect it to all come back.

It's not coming back. Re-Invent yourself, and find a new vocation.

Debt Collection of the the dead by preying on the living is said to be the #1 growth industry in Bend, go for it, make some real money. #2 is foreclosures, hooking up 'investors' who have cash, with banks that don't want to be landlords. There are lots of ways to make money in BEND, but PIMPING stocks & bonds will not be one of them for a generation, or amnesia.

Two days ago Moody's published a list of 280 US corps that are 'insolvent', think about that. These are companys, that are incapable of making debt payments today, because they can NO LONGER borrow money to service their debt.

Anonymous said...

All insurance is a PONZI today, the old days of actuarial fiduciary are over, in the last 40 years crooks got into insurance so they could invest premiums in the stock-market, and then DENY-CLAIMS.

It worked for Madoff for 40+ years, and it has worked for Buffet for 40+ years, and today its all imploding.

##

Even today BUFFET is still selling CDS's why? Even though he's losing Billions of dollars a day on paper claims.

He's selling cuz its the only way he knows how to raise cash.

He's not worrying about paying out on the claims in his lifetime.

Of course BUFFET is PIMPING for Wall-St of course BUFFET is begging ameriKKKan's to buy stock, cuz buffet needs the market to recover, the more it goes down, the more claims that buffet has pay out on.

He's not worried about not being able to pay the claims, cuz he's TOO BIG TO FAIL, he knows the US government will cover his debts, just like it does for AIG, LEHMAN, and GS, ...


Even in HEALTH 'INSURANCE' is the problem, today many folks spend $1k/mo for 'health-insurance', where there is $5k/yr deductible. Everybody got into the business of 'insuring' cuz they could put the premiums to work in 1031 or the stock-market, and now with that paper being worthless, there is NO money to cover claims.

The ENTIRE INSURANCE racket that BUFFET created is collapsing.

This is the greatest threat today to the US economy, as INSURANCE is who buys all the worthless US stocks & bonds.

With the implosion of the insurance racket ( health, life, auto, security, CDS, ... derivative, contract ) so goes the entire US economy.

HOLD ON for some fun.

hbm said...

Anon 7:49: While I don't buy into Buster's psychotic/paranoid "DA JOOS CONTROL EVERYTHING!!!" delusion, I too am alarmed by the power of AIPAC and the rest of the Zionist lobby in America. By choking off all debate on Israeli policy and American-Israeli relations they damage America and, in the long run, Israel.

hbm said...

The Dow has crept above 7,000 again. Is this a rally ... or just another dead cat bounce? Thoughts?

(I know I ain't jumping back into the market yet.)

Bewert said...

Dear Reader:

As many of you may know, Charles Freeman has "has requested that his selection to be Chairman of the National Intelligence Council not proceed."

What you may not know is that Steven J. Rosen of the Middle East Forum was the person who first brought attention to the problematic nature of Freeman's appointment, in a February 19 blog titled "Alarming appointment at the CIA." Within hours, the word was out; and three weeks later Freeman has conceded defeat. Only someone with Steve's stature and credibility could have made this happen.

Even those who backed the Freeman appointment acknowledge Steve's leadership in this effort. For example:

* Andrew Sullivan, former editor of The New Republic, calls Steve "the leader of the anti-Freeman brigade."
* The director of policy for the Israel Policy Forum calls him the "quarterback" of the effort.
* Max Blumenfeld of The Nation Institute calls him "leader of the campaign against Freeman's appointment."

I congratulate Steve and am proud of this early achievement by the Forum's newly created Washington Project.

Yours sincerely,

Daniel Pipes

###

hbm, it's called a "dead cat bounce"...

Anonymous said...

Unrelated to any of this...I haven't read this blog in a while and was wondering what ever became of the missing Bulletin ad? I'm guessing someone made a reference to it and I just missed it? Or does the mystery continue? I found the whole thing quite interesting.

Bewert said...

Re: BULL ad

See bendgazette.com

There is apparently on copy in existence, which was shown to me by Sean Tate, ad manager at the Bill. He was kind enough to make me a copy, but informed me he could not discuss anything to do with the ad, especially any payment for it.

Bewert said...

...only one...

Brain fart--I'm compiling C++ code on the other machine...

Bewert said...

And in yet another window, someone told me about this site:
http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/

Some great nuggets of info there.

###

• The $173 billion government rescue of American International Group Inc is stoking resentment among investors who see it as a backdoor taxpayer bailout of Goldman Sachs Group Inc and other banks.

###

No, $173B to the company that had the greatest counterparty risk to Goldman Sachs? Resentment?

Wall St. bankers are headed for the shitpile almost as fast as Israel.

###

• Sixteen years ago, two economists published a research paper with a delightfully simple title: "Looting."[..] In the paper, they argued that several financial crises in the 1980s, like the Texas real estate bust, had been the result of private investors taking advantage of the government. The investors had borrowed huge amounts of money, made big profits when times were good and then left the government holding the bag for their eventual (and predictable) losses. In a word, the investors looted. Someone trying to make an honest profit, [..] would have operated in a completely different manner. The investors displayed a "total disregard for even the most basic principles of lending," failing to verify standard information about their borrowers or, in some cases, even to ask for that information. The investors "acted as if future losses were somebody else’s problem," the economists wrote. "They were right."

###

History repeats itself. Ad nauseum.

Bewert said...

On a local note, if you want to give the City Council an earful:

The Monday, March 16th Work Session with[sic] be held at Hollinshead Barn (1235 NE Jones Rd) beginning at 6 PM. The meeting format is "Open Line with the Bend City Council."

###

In the next session, a reference to "work session" on March 30th, about "water issues".

Amazingly unprofessional.

Bewert said...

From autoearth:


• A wave of US companies are suspending payments to their staff 401(k) retirement plans in a bid to cut costs amid the economic downturn. Saks, General Motors, newspaper group McClatchy, clothing company J.Crew, FedEx, UPS, Coca-ColaBottling, Reader's Digest, Motorola, Regions Financial and Sprint Nextel are among the growing list of companies which have suspended contributions. [..] The growing number of suspensions appears to strike a blow against the viability of 401(k) plans, which were introduced 30 years ago as the main way that Americans should save for retirement, replacing defined benefit pension plans.

###

One more brick in the wall.

LavaBear said...

>>>The Dow has crept above 7,000 again. Is this a rally ... or just another dead cat bounce? Thoughts?

My thoughts... an old favorite.

Bewert said...

On Jesse: he needs people to trade. Period.

Check out http://mybackpagesbyjessefelder.blogspot.com/2009/03/td-indicators-another-tool-for-traders.html

A missive to come back, to invest again.

Yet the fundamentals have not change one fucking iota.

Bewert said...

...changed...

Bewert said...

LB, right on.

I wish Jesse would use his obvious intelligence to create value, rather than leech profits from others. I made that choice myself 20+ years ago.

Jesse is no dumb ass.

Anonymous said...

Buster's psychotic/paranoid "DA JOOS CONTROL EVERYTHING!!!" delusion - jude HBowelMovement

*

Buster never said 'da jooz run everything'.

What buster said was Jews names is on most shit that is rotten and stinks in the USA.

Me being a left-wing nut thinks this is VERY dangerous for Jews.

Buster has also said his 'favorite' political icon is Emma Goldman, a very ugly jewish woman. Hardly fair to infer buster anti-semitic a crime worse than baby-rape. When in fact buster in worships with Emma Goldman.

Obviously 'rotten jooz' are the right-wing jooz.

Since hbm jude like jooz I'm confused, but to me, jooz is like witches, there are good witches and bad witches. In the 'Israel debate' which is 'verboten' there are Bad Jews and Good Jews. It just happens that for the most part the left-wing are good people, and the right wing are 'bad people'.

Now to the fact that +90% of OREO's anointed ones are right-wing jews, am I too blame??


Because +90% of the people who run the FEDERAL-RESERVE are right-wing jews, am I too blame?

Not busters fault that 99% of USA hair-lip consumers conceded power to ADL, JDL, & AIPAC back in the 1920's.

Anonymous said...

Jesse is no dumb ass.

*

Two or three times I have visited 'jesses site'.

I'm a computational-physicist, and its quite clear that Jesse is a 'Chartist' that is somebody that reads the 'historical stock charts' the way gypsy's read tea leaves.

Now there are some folks that believe in this SHIT, but historical evidence shows that if SCIENCE was based on such HORSE-SHIT, that the industrial world would collapse.

Jesse may not be a 'dumb ass' for pulling the wool over tons of BEND HAIR-LIPS, but the fact is he's clearly an idiot performing stock-market voodoo.

Come on BY, don't tell me you believe 'charting' I know your always quoting black-scholes, ... you have studied real stock-market theory based on probability and statistics, you must know that Jesse is a fucking idiot.

Anonymous said...

Ok, so S&P dropped GE from 'AAA' to 'AA' that made the wall-st happy, and the fact that made-off went to jail, finally albeit just for the weekend, and then he'll be released until june 2009 for sentencing, and then he'll be deferred cuz he's dying from prostrate-cancer ( are we all? ).

What you KUNT's are ignoring is that on monday the WSJ reported that Moodys has gotten TOUGH on US-CORP's after getting in trouble for treating HOME-MTG rating's with kid gloves, thus on monday Moodys released a list of 280 US-CORPS that are ALREADY if default of their MASSIVE DEBT.

Of course S&P isn't MOODY's, and S&P is still trying to act like everything is ok.

The fact is GE has $750B in assets, and most of it is TOXIC.

Not a good time to believe in Fairy Tales, but if you MUST throw away your money on the DOW, then use dunc's money, as he's hauling in $12/day.

hbm said...

Buster never said 'da jooz run everything'. What buster said was Jews names is on most shit that is rotten and stinks in the USA.

Oh, excuse me very much! That's a HUGE difference.

Buster has also said his 'favorite' political icon is Emma Goldman, a very ugly jewish woman.

That's up there with "some of my best friends are ..."

Bewert said...

Re:
Jesse may not be a 'dumb ass' for pulling the wool over tons of BEND HAIR-LIPS, but the fact is he's clearly an idiot performing stock-market voodoo.

###

That is true. Jesse does a good job of "interpreting technical" movements of the market. Which means he can think.

But like Black-Scholes, tech charting is a con game in the long run. It always comes back to fundamentals. The balance sheet is more important than the P/L.

The problem we have right now is that the balance sheet has been rigged. Lots of liabilites are not even on the balance sheet. So how the fuck can you credibly value something?

hbm said...

So are they really going to try to keep Made-off out of jail on the grounds that he's dying of prostate cancer? Shit, he could take 20 YEARS to die from that!

Made-off probably will get a suspended sentence and live out the rest of his days on the Cote d'Azur. These rich cocksuckers never do hard time.

Who was it that said "Never steal anything small"?

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 285   Newer› Newest»