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Brown, banks and bogeymen

Mark Mardell | 18:46 UK time, Friday, 22 January 2010

Senator-elect Scott Brown on his way to Capitol Hill

What a week. This anniversary of the president's year in office was always going to be a time for reflection.

The victory of Scott Brown in Republican-resistant Massachusetts turned it into a time for urgent reassessment for the president's party. The word "pivotal" has been used a fair bit. That's right. After twelve months the President has swung on his heel.

This may be, as many commentators contend, the beginning of the end for a one-term, flash-in-the-pan President. This is the third victory in a row for Republicans and they are on a roll. It certainly hints to sweeping Republican victories in November's mid-term elections.

But it may be just the kick the president and his party needed. After that stunning victory and the adulation that followed, he assumed his popularity gave him political invincibility. Although he has been accused of governing from further left than some expected, at heart he's a pragmatist.

He got his head down and got on with the new, serious, difficult and no doubt fascinating business of running the most powerful country in the world.

This week may have reminded him that these days, and especially in America, the political campaign can never stop. The most important thing about power is what you do with it. But a very close second is making sure you keep it.

There have been immediate changes. Whether they like it or not, the Democrats' number one priority, health care, has just slipped dramatically down the agenda.

Scott Brown's election left them with few options. The two main ones have now been ruled out. The president has said the plan must not be pushed through the Senate before Mr Brown takes his seat. Nancy Pelosi has said the Senate bill won't get enough votes in the House.

This surely means that healthcare reform, as currently proposed, is finished.

They deny it is dead, but it is certainly in a coma, only to be wakened if some Republican senators have an unlikely epiphany.

This will be very disappointing for some who voted for Obama. But many on the left thought the plan was too watered down to be worth much.

The opinion polls suggest a more complex picture than simply people hating the idea of any reform, but the current plan had become politically toxic.

The two bills are just too confusing, and the Democrats haven't tried to sell them clearly. I heard a fascinating piece on NPR this morning, an economist trying to convince a union member that taxing her Cadillac plan wouldn't hurt her.
His argument rested on the belief that her company would raise wages if it was forced to adopt a less expensive plan. Not surprisingly, she wasn't convinced.

Timothy Geithner, Barney Frank, President Obama, Paul Volcker

Then there is the president's radical plan for the banks. This looks like a dramatic policy shift. The White House says it was signed off before Christmas, so I'll just observe that by an amazing coincidence it is a perfect fit for this week's narrative.

The president has christened the new plan, so offensive to many big banks, the Volcker rules after former chairman of the Federal Reserve Tall Paul. This is kind of the president because by all accounts Paul Volcker had all but given up on his plan ever being adopted. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was apparently opposed. Now it seems he's been overruled.

The president knows getting this through congress will be hard. But this isn't a messy vote loser in the country. This is a populist clarion call.

He's predicting a swarm of lobbyists will descend on Capitol Hill and he's doing a good impression of a man relishing the scrap ahead.

He'll hope the American people will be cheering him on. He has called on Republicans to join in designing common sense rules to protect ordinary Americans.

They may well deride his plan as another example of government interference, but they are in a sticky position and they know it.

One senator has dismissively said he is creating a "bogeyman". But I bet it is a bogeyman that frightens many of his voters.

The Supreme Court ruling raises another spectre. Banks that feel threatened can spend their money running ads against the new laws.

There may be a torrent of them. But they will have to put their names on them, rather than saying "This advert was paid for by Americans for a nicer America" as happens at the moment. They will have to be very clever adverts to avoid public distain.

The White House no longer seems complacent in the face of bad opinion polls, disastrous elections and a re-invigorated Republican party. Late in the day, they are accepting the battle is serious and returning to the fray.

Comments

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  • 1. At 7:36pm on 22 Jan 2010, cynic555 wrote:

    If Obama had his bank plan ready to go in December he sure did a great job of keeping it secret. It's pretty clear that losing in Massachusetts was a wake up call and he desperately needs to do something that has popular appeal. Talk is cheap - it will be interesting to see if he can actually implement a plan that actually regulates these mega financial institutions.

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  • 2. At 7:42pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    How will histroy remember obama's four years as president? I guess, we should start thinking about history..Looks like obama is going give history a great opportunity to make bush's eight years looks not all that bad..

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  • 3. At 7:45pm on 22 Jan 2010, thicklady wrote:

    It's been a long time comin' and we were having our doubts, but at last Obama is showing the leadership, courage and intelligence we hoped for. It makes the loss of Bournville, and all it stands for, just a little bit more bearable !

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  • 4. At 8:18pm on 22 Jan 2010, Philly-Mom wrote:

    Sometimes the best way to make it to the moon is to shoot for the stars.
    Shhhh... don't tell, but I think Obama's actually a Closet MODERATE with a skilled chess game and an excellent poker face.
    Be vewy, vewy kwiet... the Liberally Left and Liberally Right awr watching!

    'No worries' as they say. The pendulum of public opinion and public policy will continue to wag. Legal proposals will be made and haggled over. Small decisions will become bigger ones. Change is a process, not a destination.

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  • 5. At 8:22pm on 22 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    I mostly agree with #3. As a Massachusetts voter, I did not vote against President Obama, I voted against the corrupt Massachusetts Democratic party and it's royalist, dynastic pretentions. Teddy wasn't as bad as the critics say, and far short of the sainthood bestowed on him by the faithful. But he was a senator far too long and the senate's seats are not noble titles to be inherited, awarded or bequeathed.

    As to the future, it is the corrupt local politicos who have more to fear. I would like to see Patrick and his placemen get the same treatment as the last royal governor and his cronies. [I wouldn't insist on deportation but certainly removal from office.]

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  • 6. At 8:40pm on 22 Jan 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    There is a report that Justice Stevens is going to retire.

    His timing may reflect the latest major decision but the irony is he waited untill a Dem was in office but now there is a fillibuster threat so Obama can't nominate an idelogical equal to him.

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  • 7. At 8:43pm on 22 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    JMM wrote [#5) "As a Massachusetts voter, I did not vote against President Obama, I voted against the corrupt Massachusetts Democratic party and it's royalist, dynastic pretentions."



    "corrupt Massachusetts Democratic party and it's royalist, dynastic pretentions"





    How dare you say such things!

    Next thing youre going to make derogatory comements about corrupt Democratic Party Machine in Chicago and its Daley dynasty.

    Or endemic proverbial corruption and ineptness of Democratic Party Machine and administration in Louisiana. :-)

    [you can't blame it all on the French, you know?]

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  • 8. At 8:43pm on 22 Jan 2010, Feohme wrote:

    Mark - interesting times in the US. The Supreme Court decision just baffles me! I mean I know that the Court is restricted to merely interpreting the Constitution, but to happily make a decision so adverse to the interest of the country as a whole is breath-taking

    I suspect it's due to living in an ever evolving democracy (over here) as opposed to an ossified republic. I can only believe that had such a decision been made in the UK, the next day all sides of the Commons would be clamouring to pass legislation to close off this clear danger to democracy. In the US - nope - not a thing - why? 'Cos it's in the Constitution stoopid'

    (Actually, it isn't, it's an illogical extension of a prior decision which classifies Corporations as 'individuals' under US Law). Dumb.

    The problem is that a significant number of Americans have deified the Constitution. It has become set in stone - don't believe me - take a look at the list of Constitutional amendments and the dates they were past. Notice anything? - yep - no meaning changes since the '70s.

    Now I don't know, maybe there has been no significant change in the US since the 1970's - no changes in the social or political arenas of US life which might have warranted a change - but I doubt it.

    Unfortunately, the document is now treated as a religious tract. Not to be questioned, not to be amended - ever!

    Question: Does the US need a 'Great Reform Act'?



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  • 9. At 8:44pm on 22 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    "But it may be just the kick the president and his party needed. After that stunning victory and the adulation that followed, he assumed his popularity gave him political invincibility."

    I don't think President Obama interpreted the enthusiasm that was evident nationwide after his victory as a message bestowing political invincibility, but he definitely misunderstood what the public wanted or their endorsement of his policies.

    The defeat of Sen. John McCain had more to do with the revulsion that so many people felt towards the Bush/Cheney regime and their excesses than endorsement of Democratic policies or a free pass to Barack Obama to pursue his agenda.

    The biggest blunder thus far was pursuing sweeping healthcare reform when most people only expected and wanted changes to the present system. The problem was compounded by President Obama's inability to articulate the benefits of the legislation that was being proposed, his decision to let Congress take the lead, and all the backroom deals that were negotiated to get the votes to pass the bill...only to find out that there are so many DEMOCRATIC defections that they don't have the votes to pass the bill in the House!

    The biggest problems, however, are the state of the economy, the high rate of unemployment, and the inability of Democrats to defend their record.

    Incredibly, President Obama is not only being blamed for economic problems that began years before his inauguration, he is being blamed for spending associated with the TARP and the FY09 budget signed by President Bush without anyone attempting to defend the President's record.

    President Obama must change course immediately and focus almost strictly on the economy and unemployment or he will, indeed, be a one-term President. As for congressional Democrats up for re-election, most of them should start packing their bags.

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  • 10. At 9:00pm on 22 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I could care less about the banks right now. The bankers have been villified, but I know they are not evil. The banks should have guidelines to follow, but I am not sure if President Obama's plan will help lending to small businesses, ect. In fact, it may make the banks not want to lend to anyone.

    President Obama should have focused on jobs and the economy from the start of his election, instead of costly healthcare.

    But I fear that he doesn't really have a good plan to bring jobs back. He is just hoping it will happen. There is nothing wrong with hope, but actions speak louder than words. SO far, there has only been more and more unemployed.

    The economic stimulus plan may have helped a little, but the effects are short-lived. For the majority of America, the stimulus plan has done nothing.

    President Obama and the Dems like to make things so complicated, when it should be simple and to the point. Instead, they talk in circles so that you don't really understand what the plan really is. They talk the talk, but can't walk the walk.

    I just haven't heard a good plan to create jobs yet from Pres. Obama. There's got to be something he or Congress can do.



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  • 11. At 9:17pm on 22 Jan 2010, U14309841 wrote:

    "But it may be just the kick the president and his party needed"

    I just posted this on the wrong thread. no matter.
    Didn't the general penitentiary say something about how this would galvanise the democrats to fight for their rights and party.
    Hard to tell now that the U boats have slunk into harbour.

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  • 12. At 9:17pm on 22 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "This surely means that healthcare reform, as currently proposed, is finished."

    Thank goodness for that. The process which actually matters as much as the results was badly flawed, undemocratic, and exactly the opposite of what President Obama had promised. If reform is going to be implimented and I think most Americans agree it is necessary, then the President and his party should do what he promised, a careful methodical bipartisan effort that most Americans can agree with and support. One that is arrived at openly, is fair to all Americans, and is affordable without resorting to voodoo economic tricks and lies. If they can't arrive at that, it is better to do nothing which is the way the Constitution has structured the government to function.

    "The president knows getting this [the Volker Rules] through congress will be hard."

    I don't agree. The overwhelming majority of Americans are furious at the banks and the way they've been treated. Many blame the state the economy is in on the banks. You can't fool all of the people all of the time according to Pesident Lincoln and I don't think this time most Americans will be fooled one bit. They know the banks have been gambling with their money. When it comes to choosing what the lobbyists and high rolling campaign contributors want and the ire most voters have, there will be no contest for most in Congress. Imagine an incumbant having to face voters in November against a challenger who says "my opponent voted to allow the banks and their highly paid high bonus executives to continue with the same business as usual policies that created the crisis while you worry about your mortgages, your jobs, your future." I don't think most in Congress will have to think long or hard to decide. And Paul Volcker is one of the most respected people in the United States when it comes to matters of finance and the economy. Geitner is still strongly associated with Goldman Sachs and his banker friends. A lot of America doesn't like him and would prefer to see him gone.

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  • 13. At 9:17pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Lucy - I agree about antagonising the banks having potential consequences on main street. While I do think the intent from Obama is laudable, I cannot shake the feeling he is setting himself up as a Don Quixote.

    The banks are not going to take this laying down, Obama is expecting a straight attack, but I hope that he doesn't come unstuck from the less obvious ones. The markets are uncertain, damaging companies beyond the financial sector. Obama needs the banks to lend money, but risks them going on the defensive and closing ranks.

    This could be his crowning moment shaping the economy, or the first shots of a lengthy battle. Especially since the judgement yesterday potentially frees the banks hands.

    At this moment I am undecided, but worried.

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  • 14. At 9:21pm on 22 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I am amazed that Hillary stood up to China's tight grip on the media.

    But is it really a good idea for us to criticize the country who we owe so much money to?

    The fact that China has the world's largest standing army also makes me nervous. We may have the best weaponry in the world, but they have way, way more people. China and India make up about half of the world's population.

    The USA wants to get along with China. But this statement makes us look like we are trying to push democracy on them. We all know China is no democracy. But isn't that their right?

    I hope that Hillary is kinder to China next time. If the Chinese want to stand up to China, then they should. We shouldn't be getting involved.

    I love the USA and think its the best country in the world. I have respect for all other countries, especially China and Russia. The "Big Three" need to get along, for the world's sake.

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  • 15. At 9:36pm on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    Lucyillinois we don't have to villify the banks they do fine all by themselves.

    "Goldman, which took $10 billion of US government aid during the financial crisis, has been the focal point of criticism over pay. Its chief executive, Lloyd Blankfein — who received $68 million in 2007 — caused controversy last year by saying that the bank was doing “God’s work”."
    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/banking_and_finance/article6997661.ece

    In foreclosure...""Upset," Barb Kubes said, choking back emotion, when she was asked how she felt when she found out Litton was owned by massively profitable Goldman Sachs..."
    http://abcnews.go.com/Business/goldman-sachs-leaves-family-cold/story?id=9403097

    http://www.adn.com/money/industries/story/996171.html

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  • 16. At 9:40pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Lucy - I think this was the US trying to show that it was still top dog. Unfortunately China did the same thing they have done each time they have been challanged recently stared right back.

    I think Mrs Clinton badly miscalculated on this occasion, China has nothing to lose and its government was never going to back down. Especially since the hacking was apparently possible due to an IE issue and Clinton's comments after Germany and France already issued warnings, giving China any get out it needed (not that it needed one).

    I think the lesson is don't pick a fight with China unless you are sure you can win. This was a loser and an unnecessary one.

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  • 17. At 9:55pm on 22 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Feohme #8. . .

    Exactly!! If the Supreme Court thought that it was so unfair that businesses didn't put their name at the end of their funded political advertisements, then they should have merely suggested that Congress perhaps consider passing legislation ensuring that future advertisements contain the name(s) of any and all funders on (or in) it. But instead, they rip away, in one fell swoop, what little flimsy legislation there was already to protect the voter and politician from the corporation. If its any concilation, Congress has already introduced 5 bills designed to try and limit the extent to which corporations will be permited to take this country over, but it remains to be seen if they will be passed, and if so if they (or the ones that do get passed) are significantly watered down in their final form due to Republican/corporation apesement. Although I feel I must correct you on one thing. We (well, rather the majority of the educated among us) don't view our constitution as a religious text which must be interpreted literally and cannot ever ever be amended. We believe that certain parts of it, such as the bill of rights, are and should remain permanent and unchangeable and should never, as the Supreme Court has just done, be misinterpreted. However there is a process by which to amend it. But given that it requires two thirds of both houses of Congress and of the states in the union's approval in order for an amendment to become law, of the 10000 or so proposals to amend our constitution since it has been adopted, only 27, to date, have become law. I know that the latest one was added in the 1970s, but the fact that there haven't been any subsequent ones is not because there hasn't been any change in this country (obviously there has!) But because we try to pass good law through all other means before attempting to amend the constitution as a last resort, because it is so difficult to do so. And its a good thing too!! Because no shortage of crazy people have tryed to amend it to make gay marrige illegal, abortion illegal (before Roe V. Wade,) and a whole host of other things.

    I have no doubt, too, that your Parlament would instintaniously act in the interests of the British voters should your Supreme Court have made that same decision. But you need not worry, remember, because your electoral campaigns are funded by tax payers money, not special interest groups! One of the many things that makes your country "great!!!"



    I believe that this will do a much better job than I can toward explaining why it is that those who apose this ruling do so so strongly.


    The most powerful country in the world is about to be run by corporations! Be afraid, be very afraid!!

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  • 18. At 9:56pm on 22 Jan 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #13
    David Murrell wrote:
    Lucy - I agree about antagonising the banks having potential consequences on main street. While I do think the intent from Obama is laudable, I cannot shake the feeling he is setting himself up as a Don Quixote.

    ________________-

    If Obama would tax Fannie, Fredie and the 3 big automakers and the union leadership we might take him a little more seriously

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  • 19. At 10:00pm on 22 Jan 2010, Kathryn Fruhling wrote:

    For many Europeans, Pres. Obama was a symbol of hope and inspiration. The Middle East was delighted with his speech in Cairo. He bowed before the Saudi king who bestowed upon the most expensive gift ever given to an American President by the Saudis. The Israeli thought him to be a friend to Israel. The dictator Hugo Chavez welcomed him with open arms. Here in America he was a rock star.The Danes presented him with the Nobel Peace Prize for a job not yet done. When you put someone so high on a pedastal he's bound to fall. Hope and change seems to be a distant memory. Transparency is invisible. Politics as usual is politics as usual. And the star isn't shining so bright anymore. His problem is simple, he doesn't listen to the voice of the people, he is a bit arrogant and his own left progressive ideology is against everything this Nation holds dear. Can he change? Perhaps ,he can follow in Clintons footsteps and come to the center. Pay-offs, bribes and threats obviously don't accomplish much and the American folks are tired of broken promises and never ending campaigning. Time will tell.

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  • 20. At 10:01pm on 22 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    As long as China feels it has something to gain from the USA, they will be friendly with us. But if we are derrogatory, this friendliness could vanish quick.

    China and Russia are the two countries that I never want to be in a war with. (Not that I want to be in a war at all) If two of the Big Three got in a war, it would be WW III. If all three were in a war, it would be the end of the world. That is why I have high respect. I want to live. So do they.

    I think China and Russia would have attacked us years ago, if not for our nuclear weapons. Our nuclear weapons are our protective shell.

    It is interesting that China and Russia are so close together, though, as China has overpopulation and Russia has underpopulation.

    I really just want to stay out of China's business. We have so many other things we can do that would be more productive for other parts of the world. SO why this?

    The USA should lead by good example, rather than by criticism.

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  • 21. At 10:05pm on 22 Jan 2010, shiveringofforgottenenemies wrote:

    You just don't get it, Mark! Obama is a cheerleader, an evangelist, a community organizer but NOT a leader! You are such a fanboy!

    The first thing he did after the shameful run down to Massachusetts to push the Democrat's puppet candidate was run off to Elyria, Ohio...not Loraine, not Cleveland where the idle steel mills are, but the nice, whitebread county seat of Loraine County and do some community organizing! All of those ex-steelworkers are probably eager to get their government required certifications to install solar panels so they can charge big bucks to do what any carpenter is capable of doing better!

    Or maybe they will get their government mandated insulation installation specialist certification so they don't put the insulation in wrong side out! Or maybe they need a government mandated thermal window installation certificate so that they can force the new homeowners to buy triple-pane argon-filled hyper-expensive windows that have NO payback but meet the soon to be universal CALIFORNIA building rules!

    Obama is doing EVERYTHING WRONG...and let's just hope he continues because the American public is getting wise to him. We've seen him running to Congress and peddling pork, we've seen him approving massive pork barrel projects, and now, after making a bunch of dirty deals we are seeing him beating the drum for legislation that the banks can circumvent. Legislation that is meaningless if it is not vigorously enforced.

    The idea of "punishing the banks" and not the criminals who ran them and profited from what amounts to racketeering is laughable. It's a slap on the wrist and a get out of jail free card!

    A leader? Obama is a LOSER!

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  • 22. At 10:05pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Magic - I really should know this but are the car makers doing well enough to cope with a similar tax? My understanding was that they wee still trying to cut their losses outside America, getting your money back is all well and good but if that means more unemployment it is a self defeating exercise.

    When did the labor unions get a bail out?

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  • 23. At 10:07pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Shivering..... - Really cut back on the coffee.

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  • 24. At 10:19pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    Obama should attack..and hit hard...

    forget this being nice ...

    its nonsense

    Get Hillary to attack....someone should hit hard...

    And China is no friend to the US. Its an economic war. China has had little eruptions of rebellion in the countrysides that have been hidden by their media..The Chinese recently stopped showing Avatar in a number of theaters because it made some Chinese remember how their government pushes them around.

    The Chinese government has evicted their own people ruthlessly from their land.

    For the US... the question is whether to accept the Senate health bill and cover more Americans with health care by giving even more money to the blood sucking insurance companies or kill the bill entirely and continue to watch 18,000 Americans die every year because America is incompetent and can't provide adequate health care for its own people.

    18,000 AMERICANS DIE EVERY YEAR BECAUSE OF NO HEALTH CARE

    Fire dog lake wants to kill the bill

    http://action.firedoglake.com/page/s/signhprog

    How many people have ever heard of Rep. Grijalva? He is leading the progressive caucus opposing the bill apparently..not that anyone would hear about any opinion outside of the far right and the moderates!!!!

    Some free press..no dialogue at all



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  • 25. At 10:19pm on 22 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    14. At 9:21pm on 22 Jan 2010, LucyIllinois wrote:

    I am amazed that Hillary stood up to China's tight grip on the media.

    But is it really a good idea for us to criticize the country who we owe so much money to?

    Of course it is, when you need the money it's your problem, however, once you've spent the money, well, that's their problem now :)

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  • 26. At 10:20pm on 22 Jan 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Absolutely on the money, Mr Mardell. It will get very interesting if the White House & those Democrats who value being in power actually start doing the right thing for a change -- or perhaps for more change.

    In the US, many of us have been wondering how the hawkers of credit default swaps, for one thing, could carry on for so long with impunity.

    Maybe the other shoe is finally dropping. A welcome sound.

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  • 27. At 10:20pm on 22 Jan 2010, rodidog wrote:

    I'm not against the financial industry paying for their government bail-out. They should. But the idea that Obama will now make sweeping changes in banking regulations, at a time he desperately needs the economy to show improvement, is short sighted at best, IMO.

    Since Obama gave his speech yesterday, the DOW is down over 400 points. Couple this with rumors Bernanke might not be reconfirmed, unemployment still going up, along with 77% of American investors believing Obama is anti-business (per Bloomberg poll), he will only end up exasperating the feeling of instability and uncertainty that already exists in the economy. The end result will most likely achieve the very opposite of what he intended.

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  • 28. At 10:23pm on 22 Jan 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    14 lucyillinois.

    China is playing a long patient game,for the time being she will not want to antagonize her best customer,even if that same customer is running up a large bill.But a time will soon arrive as she gets stronger,when she is going to say how its going to be.Taiwan will be taken back first.The US will have to come to terms with seismic shifts,as there is not any thing any one can do to stop them..

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  • 29. At 10:24pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    I see that some A listers are getting in on the game, asking that each international transaction be taxed. The justification is again that the banks are making a profit.

    Fine as long as all the bandwagon jumping A Listers get taxed as well, it annoys me when multi-millionaires complain about other people making money.

    Ignoring the Haitian campaign (since many of those involved have already donated), it is like those telethons were stars try an emotionally blackmail people into giving money. I tell you what rather than self promoting and 'generously' giving your time for for free (when they do), how about sticking your hand in your own pockets, after all you can better afford.

    Apologies if US telethons are different, but having to suffer years of Children in Need has worn down my patience. I am not against giving money to charity I give regularly to a number of causes. I just hate being patronised by some has been radio DJ.

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  • 30. At 10:26pm on 22 Jan 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #22
    David Murrell wrote:
    Magic - I really should know this but are the car makers doing well enough to cope with a similar tax? My understanding was that they wee still trying to cut their losses outside America, getting your money back is all well and good but if that means more unemployment it is a self defeating exercise.

    When did the labor unions get a bail out?

    _______________________

    well the labor unions are part owners of the car companies and I don't care about the car company having to cut their losses. If they are not financially viable let them file a controlled chapter 11. they can restruture eliminate debt and best of all destroy the UAW!

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  • 31. At 10:33pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    People should be moving their money out of this behemoth banks that are "too big to fail" and into local banks that represent the local community.

    http://moveyourmoney.info/

    "It’s a grassroots effort that has the potential to shift power in the financial system away from Wall Street and back to Main Street."

    You can plug in your zip code and find the names and locations of local banks where you live in the US.

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  • 32. At 10:48pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Bepa - All that will happen is that the DOW will drop and your big banks will either fold or get taken over by foreign banks.

    The biggest problem is that local banks don't do international business. Might not seem a problem, but you get a lot of money from abroad (China get mentioned a lot) you really think they are going to send money to a local bank in Kansas?

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  • 33. At 10:57pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    If you don't think liberals are religious then watch this...

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-january-20-2010/jim-wallis

    Jim Wallis
    "Jim Wallis says we won't get an economic recovery without a moral recovery as well."

    Rev. Jim Wallis quotes:

    "Underneath this economic crisis is a values crisis"

    "a sin of Biblical proportions"

    "The God I believe in is with those who suffer"

    "What do you do when the invisible hand lets go of the common good?"

    "We decided to fire Bank of America"

    "put the money into banks that are more responsible. If banks are too big to fail then make them smaller"

    ..........................

    ...and Sojourners has a guide about how Christians might deal with the economic crisis

    http://store.sojo.net/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=DG_CRI&Click=3415

    "As Christians, we are charged to be good stewards of our finances and to direct them in the service of others, especially the poor. But what about when the economy no longer serves the common good? How do we deepen our trust in God when our financial security is weakened? "

    Get that? let me repeat it...

    "what about when the economy no longer serves the common good?"

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  • 34. At 10:57pm on 22 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 25, zaphodian

    "Of course it is, when you need the money it's your problem, however, once you've spent the money, well, that's their problem now :)"

    Especially when the next step to revive our economy, mitigate the effects of out of control debt, and make our products more competitive will probably be the devaluation of the dollar.

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  • 35. At 11:01pm on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    "This depression has exposed many weaknesses in our economic system. There has been exploitation and abuse of financial power. We will fearlessly and unremittingly reform these abuses. I have recommended to the Congress the reform of our banking laws. Unfortunately this legislation has not yet been enacted. The American people must have protection from insecure banking through a stronger banking system. They must be relieved from conditions which permit the credit machinery of the country to be made available without check for wholesale speculation in securities with ruinous consequence to millions of our citizens and to our national economy." - Hoover, 1932

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  • 36. At 11:05pm on 22 Jan 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I have no problem with telethons, but the US people have already donated over 350 million dollars to the Haitians. Even people I know who don't have much have donated what little they could. That is just the way Americans are: generous to a T. But even we have only so much to donate.

    It is kind of strange to see millionaires asking for money. It is a good cause. Haiti needs it. But it would be nice to know that the celebrities asking for money donated money, too, as they are some of the richest people in the world. The average American does not have that kind of salary, especially because we are coming out of a recession right now and with unemployment levels so high. There are people here, too, as well as all around the world, who are starving and barely surviving.

    The news keeps showing people who say they do not have enough food or water. But they have all day to interview whoever they like. I wonder if they are showing these people particularily because they know that if we think they are doing okay, people will forget about them and stop the effort to help. Don't get me wrong: I feel for Haiti, but no one can perform miracles. An earthquake is an extreme natural disaster.

    The riots are bad, though. I know the people are doing it because they are starving, but it does not spread the aid around. Because of this kind of activity, the UN forces will have to step up. The UN likely will have to stay for a long time in Haiti.

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  • 37. At 11:08pm on 22 Jan 2010, relee33 wrote:

    Mr Mardell

    You know very little of America. Obama is a one termer...and you and most of the leftists are in self denial. America is a conservative nation regardless of what you think. The economy is tanking, we will not stand for terrorists to be tried in NY let alone be housed in Illinois. The man in a word is JIMMy Cater light....he is a light weight and history will show a socialist does not cut it here in America...I can;t wait unitl 2012 then we can send him to you Brits and you can have him.....a total failure and he will continue to tank with middle America...he is toast!

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  • 38. At 11:10pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Sorry can I show my slightly self satisfied amusement at Marcus's tacit support of Obama's announcement. If this goes ahead this this will be the biggest bit of large government in decades. The US government will impose it will on a whole section of the economy.

    Even the 'socialist' governments are reluctant to go head to head against the banks.

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  • 39. At 11:11pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #32 David Murrell

    Its a question of values.
    Some states also are considering putting their money into more local banks.

    The DOW is going to go down. Who will trust what has been going on? They might be able to keep it up for a while but imo its not staying up.

    Look at the back pages of the magazine The Economist and compare the US stock market with the stock markets in other nations...and think ...where would you put your money? (There are better returns in other nations)

    Funny how some on the right are so eager to allow failure when it hurts the little guy..but big guys should be protected from failure. Some of these corporations should go the way of Univac.

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  • 40. At 11:16pm on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    #37 I quite like and respect Barack Obama so far, and I am very American. And not a Democrat. So please don't use the word "we" that way, it embarrasses me.

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  • 41. At 11:25pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #34 Saint Dominick

    Yes the dollar will be devalued..and some Americans will think the stock market is going up ...but the dollar's value will go down and by world standards they will not gain on their US stocks.

    As an example... the value of the dollar might go down 10% and a US stock might go up 10% (valued in the US dollar) and so there is no gain..but US tv shows will say the stock has gone up 10% and ignore how the dollar was devalued, providing more evidence of how the news is massaged.

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  • 42. At 11:25pm on 22 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    #38..the age-old never-ending battle against the big nasty amoral (and immoral) banks..at least Obama is willing to try - is he the first since FDR (didn't Carter try to switch to Keynesian theory which worked...but then after the recovery Reagan tweaked us back to the good old ways?)

    "They drive away the orphan's donkey and take the widow's ox in pledge." Job 24:3

    "Others were saying, 'We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our homes to get grain during the famine.'" Nehemiah 5:3

    "Do not take a pair of millstones – not even the upper one – as security for a debt, because that would be taking a man's livelihood as security." Deuteronomy 24:6

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  • 43. At 11:26pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Bepa - I guess you haven't noticed but the DOW drop has rippled across the world and RBS (the bank which is mostly owned by the British taxpayer) value has effectively dropped over £1 billion in the last couple of days.

    Now I am not expecting anyone in the US to care, indeed I am expecting Marcus to crow with glee. The point is that the markets are all interconnected so that option aint fantastic. Though it would make my company a shed load of profit in the short term.

    Oh and did you suggest I was right wing!?! I think that sound is Magic having a heart attack!

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  • 44. At 11:34pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #43 No you are not right wing : ) David Murrell

    Read this to get an idea of what some religious people are saying:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/paul-raushenbush/the-religious-case-for-mo_b_417782.html

    The Religious Case for Moving Your Money Where Your Heart Is

    "My great grandfather, Louis D. Brandeis, wrote a series of essays in 1914 called "Other People's Money, and How the Bankers Use It." Brandeis warned of the 'curse of bigness' in the banks as they orient themselves to the interest of big business at the expense of the individual consumer, and gamble with the collective money of the small investor."

    Paul Raushenbush
    American Baptist minister

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  • 45. At 11:37pm on 22 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    I quite like and respect Barack Obama so far, and I am very American. And not a Democrat. So please don't use the word "we" that way, it embarrasses me.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Respect him for what? for doing nothing? or for making the buck stop with him, or for winning the noble peace price on the promises he made in his election campaign?

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  • 46. At 11:42pm on 22 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Frayedcat - As I said I think the plan is laudable, I am just not convinced that it is a good move. Banks are ruthless all they and their shareholders care about is making a profit. Breaking them apart, interferring with the products they can trade interfers with their profits. I don't know how many in the Capitol are linked with these banks but I am willing to bet the number is high.

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  • 47. At 11:52pm on 22 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #43 David

    http://www.bloomberg.com/markets/stocks/wei.html

    The FTSE went down .6% today

    The DOW went down 2.09% today

    Its having an effect across the stock markets..but its hitting the US hardest imo so where should people put their money?

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  • 48. At 11:54pm on 22 Jan 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    I think one of the problems with the Democrat's health care plan is that they have lost the moral high ground. When they first proposed a system that guarunteed access to health care for everyone that message carried a certain moral weight that even opponents of big government had to acknowledge. And, Democrats argued, it makes more sense to provide health care to all rather than treat the uninsured in emergency rooms; that too had a certain logic to it that couldn't be dismissed even by people who opposed government health care.

    What they ended up with instead is a plan that will still leave 15 million people without medical insurance of any kind according to the Congressional Budget Office's own numbers which are based on the content of the House's health care reform bill. That undercuts both the logical and moral arguments for the Democrat's health care reform plan.

    We can argue about whether or not the government should be doing this at all but if some form of government health care is going to imposed on us it shouldn't leave 15 million people still dependent on emergency rooms for health care.

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  • 49. At 00:08am on 23 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Bepa - But the RBS lost 10% and Barclays 11% in a day, which is significant and the markets are worried.

    Oh and thanks for the reasurence, the only person who normally thinks I am right wing, then again he is an old guard UK union man. He could show people who think Obama is a socialist a thing or two. Also he dispells any notion that socialist and liberal are the same thing, at times he makes Marcus look like Ghandi!

    Partly its because I work in the City and I earn a fair amount of money. I got a reasonable bonus this year, I support the idea of a fair tax, but is surprising how disheatening it is to see the figure your paid and realise that about half of it will instantly disappear! It does try your moral stance I can tell you! Not that I expect a lot of sympathy!! :-)

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  • 50. At 00:10am on 23 Jan 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 41, bepa:

    "Yes the dollar will be devalued..and some Americans will think the stock market is going up ...but the dollar's value will go down and by world standards they will not gain on their US stocks."

    By world standards, yes, but in America domestic products would become relatively cheaper when compared to foreign products, boosting their appeal. The same effect would be felt overseas. So we'd be OK, if not better off. We don't need to import anything other than oil as far as I know, and everything we require is priced in dollars (even oil).

    China has used controls on its own currency to keep its currency artificially under valued, in the process boosting itself to the number two economy in the world. There are Americans who would like to see us do the same thing.

    Unfortunately, such a devaluation would be met with hue and cry around the world. The U.S. can't pull a China. We'd bankrupt everybody (including China). Unlike China, the U.S. (along with the U.K.) is still responsible for health of the world's economy, and we can't walk away from that.

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  • 51. At 00:22am on 23 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #49 David

    You might enjoy this series of articles in Bloomburg

    And the louder they squawk the more I love it.

    http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=specialreport

    JPMorgan, Goldman May Be Forced to Shed Buyout Units Under Obama Proposal JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. may have to sell some private-equity businesses and stop investing in buyouts under a proposal by President Barack Obama to limit bets made by banks with their own capital.

    Meredith Whitney Predicts Obama's Bank Plan Will Pass, Cut Trading Revenue Meredith Whitney, the banking analyst who forecast Citigroup Inc.’s dividend cut in 2008, said plans to limit risk-taking at financial companies will probably be approved and may “dramatically” reduce trading profits.

    Plan May Cost U.S. Banks $13 Billion in Revenue Next Year, JPMorgan Says President Barack Obama’s plan to curb proprietary trading will cost Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse Group AG, UBS AG and Deutsche Bank AG about $13 billion in revenue next year, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co. analysts.

    Morgan Stanley's Roach Says Obama Is `Bank Bashing,' Calls for Moderation Morgan Stanley Asia Chairman Stephen Roach said President Barack Obama’s plan to restrict banks’ investment activities amounts to “bank bashing” and called on politicians to take a more balanced approach.

    UBS, BNP Among European Banks That May Be Hit by Obama Plan, Analysts Say UBS AG, Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and BNP Paribas SA are among European banks that may be hit by President Barack Obama’s plan to limit banks’ risk taking because they have deposits insured by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

    etc...

    If the FDIC insures a bank then that bank has to answer to the federal government. They can not take risks and expect to be protected by the federal government.

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  • 52. At 00:24am on 23 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    D Mure;

    "Sorry can I show my slightly self satisfied amusement at Marcus's tacit support of Obama's announcement. If this goes ahead this this will be the biggest bit of large government in decades. The US government will impose it will on a whole section of the economy."

    No it will just be a reversion to what we had before the Glass-Steagall act was repealed. It will be a reversion to two different kinds of banks. One soundly run and conservative whose deposits are guaranteed by an agency of the United States government and one which can gamble with its investors' money to its heart's content but won't get one dime of government aid if it gets into trouble or even goes broke. That is how it was before the Republicans and Democrats conspired to make it possible for people who couldn't afford to buy houses to get loans for them anyway and for insurance companies to place huge bets that these millions of defective loans would mostly be paid back. The government has to put it back the way it was before it broke it or it will surely happen again. There is absolutely nothing the banks or anyone else can do to stop it, this will happen and I'd bet rather quickly especially since the banks themselves have imprudently gone back to their old tricks, paid out big bonuses, and the economy still stinks.

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  • 53. At 00:32am on 23 Jan 2010, Rather_Be_Cycling wrote:

    Well that didn't long now did it? In less than a year, The Annointed One has found governing and get your fingernails dirty political leadership to be as tedious as we've found him to be ineffectual in doing what we pay him to do: be President of the United States. For all his glib suaveness, the ability to "talk in complete sentences" his accolytes keep reminding his predecessor could not, Obama has been proven to be remarkably unable to close the sale. We nod in rapture but we don't listen. It's much more fun and far more suited to his shallow inexperience to, as he has now returned to in recent days, to campaign stumping, podium pounding, sideline railing. Obama once again a Howard Beal "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" ranter against anything we all love to hate: insurance companies, bankers, those meanie Republicans, static cling and impossible to open cd packaging. He just needs to feel our love again. Time to dust off the styrofoam Doric columns...

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  • 54. At 00:34am on 23 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 47, bepa

    "The DOW went down 2.09% today"

    The reason stocks went down precipitously this week is because of the distinct possibility that additional regulation and closer scrutiny of financial institutions and corporate activites will be in place in the not too distant future...and not a moment too soon!

    Another reason for the jittery DOW is the possibility that Ben Bernanke, the Chairman of the Fed, may not be renominated.

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  • 55. At 00:48am on 23 Jan 2010, Nossnevs wrote:

    To Kathryn Fruhling:
    1. Danes don't give out nobel prizes.
    2. Hugo Chavez has been elected president several times by the people of Venezuela, though not by the US government, which failed to have him ousted in a military coup.
    To Feohme:
    The American constitution has no doubt been handed down by God. George Washington is Moses and Abe Lincoln is John the Baptist. There are two holly lands on Earth: The biblical Palestine, and USA.

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  • 56. At 00:53am on 23 Jan 2010, modernJan wrote:

    " "This surely means that healthcare reform, as currently proposed, is finished."

    Thank goodness for that. The process which actually matters as much as the results was badly flawed, undemocratic, and exactly the opposite of what President Obama had promised. If reform is going to be implimented and I think most Americans agree it is necessary, then the President and his party should do what he promised, a careful methodical bipartisan effort that most Americans can agree with and support. One that is arrived at openly, is fair to all Americans, and is affordable without resorting to voodoo economic tricks and lies. If they can't arrive at that, it is better to do nothing which is the way the Constitution has structured the government to function."

    That's not how it works: no, it's not certain most Americans agree healthcare reform is necessary. The Republicans in the senate and the house certainly don't agree and they and their corporate allies can fool the people with scaremongering and ads as they have done for decades.

    There will never be a bipartisan effort on healthcare reform since the Republicans consider any kind of government involvement in the health sector a bad thing. They are ideologically opposed to the reforms, not because it would be too expensive or impractical: they only need to take one look at the French or Dutch systems to see that the current American system is both inferior and more expensive than a system in which the government plays a role (which is how things work in every developed nation except America).

    Remember that Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930's forced electrification of rural America, even though it wasn't very profitable at the time. There was opposition against this as well, but now you won't hear any red-state Republican complaining about the fact he/she has electricity. It will be no different after the healthcare reforms.

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  • 57. At 01:00am on 23 Jan 2010, modernJan wrote:

    On the banking side: most of them went under because they lent too much (in proportion to their reserves) and at too great a risk. The fact that risky behavior would get rewarded by bonuses (booked as expenses instead of being subtracted from the profit) which ran into the billions of dollars also didn't help much.

    Solution: restrict the amount that banks can lend (in proportion to their proven reserves) and force companies to pay bonuses after all other expenses have been accounted for, effectively meaning bonuses would be detracted from profit. So no profit=no bonuses.

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  • 58. At 01:00am on 23 Jan 2010, bepa wrote:

    #50 Andy

    I am thinking in a greedy way in order to predict where investors will go.....where is the best place to invest money?

    Truthfully I do not understand the interconnections of the world's markets...and my suspicion is that it is not well understood by people who are much more clever than I am. There has been some talk about China being in a bubble..and the Chinese government has reacted by tightening up on loans for houses in China...



    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/10/AR2010011002767.html



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  • 59. At 01:15am on 23 Jan 2010, zj wrote:

    I love how the majority of comments are focused on the President's failings. Yes, he has not been as forceful as he should have been in his first year (a failing which the administration is now fixing). Yet noone seems to be focusing on the efforts of the Republican minority in this country to undermine anything and everything that is Barack Obama. I have heard and seen nothing but vile, and evil, comments and actions from a whole host of people, Conservatives, the "disappointed," and tea baggers. Whether it be healthcare, climate change, bank reform, the economy, the budget- these people have made every attempt and spent millions to ensure that he does not get one success. These self-righteous "patriots" calm to be saving our country from this evil dictator in the White House, and yet you said nothing when YOUR party was ripping the country to shreads! I constantly here about "the anger" over the Obama Administration's spending, and yet you said nothing when Bush spent more money than any other person in recorded human history. The diference is he is spending money to save the entire country, not just line white, middle and upper class pockets. As a supporter and Liberal, I admit he has made mistakes (for instance, not taking control of the heathcare debate and leaving it to Congress) but my countrymen make it sound like we are living under a Herbert Hoover in 1938 Germany. People (all Americans), grow up. We blew ourselves a 12 trillion dollar hole (in the economy)- recovery is taking time. Stop being so ignorant.

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  • 60. At 01:37am on 23 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    Magically; Mark, I believe I have had my own epiphany.
    Instead of voting like a RINO- republican in name only-
    Americans may instate the –IPOP- new Independent Party Of the People.
    That would relieve some of the Venom and crow the people have had to eat.
    Personally I have nothing real bad to say about President Obama.
    So I’ll just detail what I don’t agree with about his choices or policies.

    What a disconnected person and a dissociated following 'do' believe, in spite of what an overwhelming consensus, know to be true, are two different and distinct possible realities.
    Assuming that Brown is going to be a pushover may become another link to the false sensation regarding power. Ignoring that some of the senators are now divided and quite possibly attuned to the general population in this country, may add to the perceived but unrealistic list of imaginary mode of acceptance by the real people.

    Almost literal Suicide awaits such arrogance.
    The next step in political evolution is the first and only step to ever make any sense, ask the people to return the stimulus money. Do it with a sense of patriotism and seed the clouds over the area giving the speech with a little cannabis. When they return the money and the auto industry, Banks, special interests and others… has also done it-with interest- then, Go back to the Medicaid raid, Social Security Robbery and re-infuse them.--so long as the funds aren’t diverted secretly again—Great if this plan works we ought to be in great shape. Now Obama, I have plenty of experience in failed institutions, although not as a professional. Nobody expects me to be perfect and I am not so we get along fine. The only way to organize an otherwise disorganized situation is to look at it, standing removed from it.
    The big picture can only be seen completely from a reasonable distance.
    Go back, if only to gain momentum; forget the prideful hurrah's of achieving the first HC reform. Become a friend to the people and not the heel in a pivotal people issue.

    Our issues In America have to come before the issues of the entire world.
    The truth is that unless we are in good shape, we cannot help anyone else.
    Try giving to someone the dollar that you don’t have and see how that works. Try feeding the hungry elsewhere, while starving to death yourself.
    We are or we aren’t, the most powerful nation of the world.
    I am not trying to negate the needs of the many around this globe.
    But if things continue to deteriorate, and government continues to only highlight the lending institutions, the influential and the well to do, ignore the semi comatose, the middle class and also the lower financial class, as life here has Gotten worse and worse; We may need to join the Chinese in a belief of communism, just to stay alive a little longer.

    Politics aside, unpopular things attract unpopular people.
    The captain usually goes down with his ship, and in the president’s case,
    Most of the crew has already jumped onto the lifeboats.
    What’s it going to be O. Sink or swim?




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  • 61. At 02:21am on 23 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    55. At 00:48am on 23 Jan 2010, Nossnevs wrote:
    "To Kathryn Fruhling:
    1. Danes don't give out nobel prizes.
    2. Hugo Chavez has been elected president several times by the people of Venezuela, though not by the US government, which failed to have him ousted in a military coup.
    To Feohme:
    The American constitution has no doubt been handed down by God. George Washington is Moses and Abe Lincoln is John the Baptist. There are two holly lands on Earth: The biblical Palestine, and USA."

    If the US had been directly behind the coup, Chavez would not now be running Venezuela [reference Chile and various other places, including Iraq and Afghanistan]. This is typical Marxist revisionist history.

    The Chavez' Marxist Revolution is classic Marxist insanity. Marxist economics is not only pre-modern, but has been shown to be unworkable everywhere they have tried to implement it. The list of failed Marxist states is very long, the list of successes has yet to have a single entry [NOTE: China still calls itself Marxist, but it is economically cutthroat capitalist, while remaining Marxist only in its political despotism].

    When Marxists acknowledge this failure, they inevitable blame the US. The bogeyman* of the left/superman of the Neocons has never been so powerful as to have been able to sabotage ALL of those regimes, they have done themselves in.

    China calls itself a "People's Republic," as does North Korea. I don't see shiploads of revolutionary Marxists flocking there to help the revolution, particularly to the latter. Perhaps, despite the rhetoric, they understand that real socialists are unwelcome in the Socialist Peoples Republics, and would receive the same enthusiastic embrace given by the Bolsheviks to the Mensheviks.

    They do keep faith with the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat," however. And the need for the party to stay in power by whatever means necessary.
    Marxists and Fascists are known for one time free elections. Once they get in, the people lose the right to change their government. Of course this is "for the good of the people, as they are too backward to govern themselves and require the enlightened guidance of the party cadres."

    *Moderators, lest there be misunderstanding of this term, though it can be used in a number of ways it is used here in a well documented meaning, i.e. as a frightening mythological creature used to terrify children into obedience to authority.

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  • 62. At 02:53am on 23 Jan 2010, nik wrote:

    It's not Obama. I think the Democratic Party has a huge problem.

    I am certainly no friend to the Republicans but the Democrats in congress are annoying even me - I'd not vote for them, and I hope they go away. The Republicans had eight years to show how horrible they are, and they did not disappoint - Bush and his Neo-cons leaving the country in shambles.

    Now Obama is doing his best to fix things up, and his team is a great one. But the house democrats - they will lose all elections, and deservedly so. I don't know if the new incoming house republicans will be any better, but these people need to go. The sense of entitlement, the hubris, but most of all the prevalent idea that because President and house are now democrat, they're going to actually implement each and every one of their far-out schemes. I don't even support them and I am more left than right.

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  • 63. At 03:04am on 23 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    Mr. Murrell #46 OR perhaps the bank directors, officers and controlling shareholders could evolve, if not to some minimal basic standard of civilized 'morality', then a sense of balance? At least to the standard of the farmer who knows not to kill the milk cow or the laying hen?

    Or, as Keynes put it 'The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.'

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  • 64. At 03:14am on 23 Jan 2010, David Cunard wrote:

    It certainly hints to sweeping Republican victories in November's mid-term elections.

    If a week is a long time in politics, consider what nine months would be.

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  • 65. At 03:44am on 23 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    I have one more important point to make.

    Given that any media attention given to Scott Brown 'and his having posed for Cosmo Magazine', has proved to be a positive move.

    Then I will uphold that from this day forward 'NO' repercussions should ever follow any Woman who has ever done the same, past, present and future.

    I don't advocate nudity--and it sure is transparent-- but we were born naked.
    How much could he have to hide in the senate, if he bared it all in Cosmopolitan?

    Obama needs to take the Cue, not literally!

    Who's next and where? Is the bunny next for Brown.

    Lets see Washington as it is.

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  • 66. At 03:54am on 23 Jan 2010, nik wrote:

    "If the FDIC insures a bank then that bank has to answer to the federal government. They can not take risks and expect to be protected by the federal government. "

    In other words, we can't have a system in which profits are private and losses are public. This only makes sense and I love the Obama proposal to simply take it all back from the banks. It's the right thing to do, populist, but nevertheless the right thing.

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  • 67. At 04:06am on 23 Jan 2010, John Galt wrote:

    Massachusetts showed the way; “People Have Taken A Measure of The Man”.

    America is, however, in a precarious transition. The people are speaking, but President Obama is not listening. A confrontation is on the works.

    How do we know he is not listening? From him: "the people are mad at the last year or two, and at the last eight years. The same forces that put me into office have put Mr. Brown in". He is in denial mode. But he is also entering desperation mode.

    He is increasingly taking pages from shady characters like Hugo Chavez’s ‘populists’ methods to stay in power - demonize and punish the most unpopular sectors of the economy, even if at the end, the country, its economy, and the American people will pay for it.

    Without entering into the merits of financial regulation, draconian methods that diverge from free market principles - even if popular - are a danger to free societies. They are also questionable, if like with healthcare reform, they come at a time when they are more liable to hurt than to help an economy that is already in trouble.

    The Blogger… http://www.robbingamerica.blogspot.com

    has anticipated all this in the piece, “10 actions President Obama must Take to Save His Presidency”.

    Unless these measures are implemented, the Obama "Wrecking Ball" will keep on swinging in increasing cycles of desperation.

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  • 68. At 04:38am on 23 Jan 2010, JDsmiff1994 wrote:

    The Republican opposition platform seems rather strange at late, and that is because it, at the moment, is to simply oppose anything that Obama says and does without question.
    Once upon a time, in spring and summer 2009, the GOP were chewing out Obama over him being too soft on the banks, and were still doing that up to a certain time. Now, however, since Obama is taking a tougher stance against the banks, this opposition is saying that they can't do that as it will jeaprodise the economy.
    The same with Healthcare. In terms of coverage and reform, the GOP's plan was appalling compared to either the House or Senate bill, and now that Senator Brown has vowed to block any attempts at healthcare reform, there is no chance of bipartisanship happening.
    Also, even more scarily, any signs of moderation are being purged from the party. As many moderates, such as Gov. Schwarzeneggar is being pushed out by his party and extremists are taking hold, it seems that there is no voice of moderation in the party.
    The only reason why Obama hasn't gottena anything done in this last year, for better or for worse, is firstly that sweeping economic changes take a while to sink in (e.g. the New Deal) and because there is too little of a margin for the democrats and the republicans vehemently oppose anything he says or does.

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  • 69. At 05:22am on 23 Jan 2010, Patrick wrote:

    Obama, needs to build a solid popularity base by focussing on measures that will build his popularity before trying to implement reforms that whilst necessary will swing voers away.
    Build the US economy and get America working, get more wealth into the economy and people may be more generous with their new found wealth and health reforms and the like could be easier to swallow, measures which make already struggling voters feel poorer are bound to be unpopular.
    Support US manufacturing
    Level the competitive playing field with China i.e. China and other competitors should have similar environmental legislation and human rights to export.
    Focus on the new economy, move away from Petrochemical based industry, become a global leader in this tarea and at the same time build new jobs.
    In short this term should be about re-buillding the US and then with a solid base the next can be focussing on reform of health etc.

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  • 70. At 05:23am on 23 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    So many of these posts look like vapid party mouthings...Oy get a life.

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  • 71. At 05:28am on 23 Jan 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    "Scott Brown was elected by the same movement that elected me." (I paraphrase) This is the first whisper that Barak Obama is beginning to be himself, the president he led us to believe he would be.

    A year ago, the biggest obstacle to the Obama agenda was the Democratic old guard in congress, whom he knew would be in control of his first congress. The third obstacle would be the Republicans, if they could assemble themselves against him after their shattering defeat. The second would surely be the entrenched special interests, who had grown deep roots throughout the power structures of the nation.

    Now, a year later, most Americans are clearly aware that Pelosi, Reed, and their cadres represent the worst traditions of representative government - backroom deals, purposefully arcane and obfuscatory laws, and narrow selfishness that is determined to be blind to the public interests. They are as disinterested in serving the majority's objectives as are the Republicans. Only the Republican leadership believes Brown won because he was Republican.

    And the Supreme Court, at a time when no one trusts either congress or big business, has ordered that they are free to peddle interest at will, only they must do it openly.

    Now we see the Democratic leadership for what it is, we see the Republican leadership as the vicious political hacks they are, and we see Finance for the scruple averse greedy liars they are, and the medical industry for the cabal it is, and mega corporations moving off shore - because that is who they at heart really are.

    Enough rope has now been played out and coiled about their necks and feet - and their own efforts will cause it to tighten inevitably around their hands and their necks. Now the public, the taxpayers, the cattle in a thousand fields, whose milk, calves, flesh and blood are the real basis of wealth and security for the world, will be watching them all.

    President Obama has let them each and all do their thing, and we are conscious of how we smart from it. What has been lacking is the public resolve, and now we are resolved. He can do something with that. We can now take our country back.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 72. At 05:47am on 23 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    Jdsmiff, 68
    When the administration forces the banks to pay excessive penalties, ie: Like the uninsured having to pay fines if they don't buy HC insurance, they would be forced to file for another humongous bailout, resulting in more ludicrous bonuses for the banking geniuses.
    So it looks like Obama is trying to help the public, but is leaning towards making sure his bank account is secure.
    No crime there except it is like bush protecting grannies oil fields.
    A conflict of interest, but guess some can't blame him for trying.
    I agree with post 66 and 67.
    Staling HC reform is the job of the President because his remedy and cure leads to disastrous condition for all of us who want to get what we have always thought would be there for us.
    There is a problem with some HC sections and addressing them should not send middle class people into the stratosphere of a tax bracket.
    On the other hand, One thing should not be confused with the other as in a surging amount of recently resident, but non tax paying dead beats. A person or persons that have payed into a secure and supposedly guaranteed plan ought not be told that luck has run out on them.
    For the sake of helping others around the world at the expense of people right here in God's country. And if any are atheists or agnostics or whatever but still American citizens then for them also
    It's economics for all and not economics for the whole entire non tax paying folks. If and when they become legal American Tax paying or tax contributors then they too should have what we all want.
    Forceful conduct towards those representing their interests, is not becoming an image from a recipient of the Nobel peace prize.
    Our concern for now has to be, for what we elected Obama to do, and what he has understood to be is not what we wanted.
    Granted Obama started like a Thoroughbred Champ.
    His glorious moment in history made a shinning star into fading illumination. A narrow display on a 4th of July celebration.
    Just my assessment.
    The expectation of a nation giving the President reasonable options and time to reconsider his agenda is now demanding that he changes course.
    We like what he started doing and then stopped liking what he is doing now.
    Romney though not my candidate will most certainly take him down by a landslide in 2012.
    That would put a damper on his level of confidence, which is so misguided.
    If this HC Bill gets shot down, we have just sponsored scores of billions of dollars that would have been better invested in the original but improved HC system we all want to have.
    Yet that is precisely what we now want.
    The alternative is much worse, If this was a company doing business as usual and I were the boss, I would have to fire him for incompetence and no excuse for inexperience. I know it sounds a lot like the peters principles but that's just the way business goes. If it were your company what would you do after a year of losses?

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  • 73. At 06:36am on 23 Jan 2010, frayedcat wrote:

    dont gib up

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgy1VGA2BE8&feature=related

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  • 74. At 08:00am on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    The next thing some of our British cousins may advise us here is to move our accounts to and do our banking in - Iceland.

    [ safe small country with safe small banks]



    P.S. The UK terror threat level is being raised from "substantial" to "severe", Home Secretary Alan Johnson has said.

    Another British bank bank is about to...?

    But if not, then why raise the threat level?

    After all Jim McCormick has been arested, hasn't he?




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  • 75. At 08:07am on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re# 65, ranter 22 asks:

    How much could he have to hide in the senate, if he bared it all in Cosmopolitan?

    Obama needs to take the Cue, not literally!






    Perhaps Dems suspect that Scott is not patriotic enough but is, in reality - cosmopolitan?

    And that's what bothers them?

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  • 76. At 08:44am on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#72


    "Welcome the new boss; the same as old boss"

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  • 77. At 09:07am on 23 Jan 2010, U14310279 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 78. At 10:11am on 23 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    2. colonelartist:

    What are you posing as now? For weeks, it was the 'radical Muslim' until:

    "What a Difference a Year Makes" Post 297. 6.59pm 21st January

    "Personally I couldnt have cared if americans had killed all the muslims or whoever they wanted to kill"

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  • 79. At 10:18am on 23 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    All:

    If people want to get a measure of the colonel's artistry, I refer them to the weird and wonderful conspiracy theories of one 'counterpunch' which he evidently reads, if not writes.

    (Some readers may find some of them somewhat disturbing.)

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  • 80. At 10:24am on 23 Jan 2010, zaphodian wrote:

    78. At 10:11am on 23 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    What are you posing as now? For weeks, it was the 'radical Muslim' until:


    Well, if people are going to remember what other people have said then they're making a mockery out of the whole show, Mr Artist works very hard on being repugnant & on a daily basis risks the wrath of his dad catching him on the PC. We should all admire his brave stance as if he didn't turn up on here one of us would have to be the idiot. :)

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  • 81. At 10:39am on 23 Jan 2010, crash wrote:

    How ironic the president and both houses of congress are going to lecture the banks on their spending practices!!!

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  • 82. At 11:12am on 23 Jan 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    Well lets see, the stockmarket is down, worldwide after Obama goes on his next project. Lets see close the prison, healthcare, take over banks, auto industry, pass a stimulus package ("hey joe, where you going with that unemployment claim in your hand.") where are the jobs? New speak SAVED JOBS (what is the formula for saved jobs? How do you count them).
    Goggle now part of US Foreign Policy. Russia developing new generation Nukes. China hacking into electrial grids, and wagging a fiscal finger at US no, no, no, be good or we stopping buying your debt.
    15 million illegals chilling in the US. Homegrown terrorist acts by US born Muslims. Intelligence failures, underwear bombers. Flying air force one around the Statue of Liberty. Millions for Palua, Bermuda, relocate terrorists to Fantasy islands (Boss, diee plane, get the money Tattoo). Big bonuses to AIG, American executive give back the bonuses, European execs take their bonuses and run, payback to American taxpayers.
    Georgia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Nigeria."Where have you gone Joe Biden, a liberal nation wants to know, woo, woo, woo." Billions for ACORN, opps, voter fraud, prostitution, bad ACORN. No money for NASA, why explore the future, when we have ACORN. One year in office, little done, other than ROCK STAR style. Watching Ted Kennedy's MA seat (dynasty)fall in an election, cracks in the Berlin Wall. Tear down the wall, let the people vote. 12 trillion in debt and climbing. Rabid liberals spitting venomous reasons, George Bush, WMD, Cheney, radical tea partiers, birthers, racists, right wing extremists, BLUE MEANIES....
    Accountability, transparency, bumper stickers on a rusting car bumper. Obama hope and change bumper sticker faded by ultra violet, weather, and disgust decaying, failing to stick any longer. Solution to all these problems. Obama back on campaign trail................
    "And we'll have fun, fun, fun, 'til her Daddy takes the T-Bird away...." Beach Boys

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  • 83. At 11:59am on 23 Jan 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Ref 52, nik

    "It's not Obama. I think the Democratic Party has a huge problem"

    Public opinion and political fortunes change more often than the direction of the wind. A few months ago all the talk was about the GOP being in disarray and engaged in an internal battle between its most radical wing and moderate members of the party. The truth is that they were as disciplined and determined as ever.

    Today the talk is about the Democratic party finding a permanent home in Jurassic Park. Don't be surprised if in a couple of months they become the champions of the little guy.

    In the interim, the Independent movement is gaining ground and rapidly becoming the deciding factor between political victory and defeat. Personally, I hope they do more than just vote for Republican or Democratics candidates to express their dissatisfction with what the incumbents are doing, and create a third party that is more representative of what most Americans are: centrists.

    We remain very conservative on social issues, very liberal on fiscal matters, and fearful of anything foreign...but determined in expanding or at least preserving our sphere of influence.

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  • 84. At 1:09pm on 23 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    JMM - Just a small point the Chinese are not Marxists nor have the ever been, they are Maoists (or were, they are currently the new face of Communism one which embraces certain aspects of capitalism). Mao the architect of the Communist Revolution wrote his own book and rules.

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  • 85. At 1:19pm on 23 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    Powermeerkat - You are a person of strange obsessions, not quite communists quotes and the Icelandic banks.

    While a few people in the UK did invest in Icelandic banks, as did many people across the world. Everyone in the UK is getting their money back, the small investors already have (that would be the general public), the big investors (local authorities in the main) have an agreement in place which means Iceland will be paying back the money. As you will note no UK local authority went belly up. While annoying for some and causing a small amount of panic at the time, the fall of the Icelandic banks was minor and very few people in the UK care anymore, unlike some Americans apparently!

    The UK terrorist threat rating, which is now as high as Americas, has been raised due to 'chatter' coming from the ME, this follows the US attempt and a similar threat in India. Really if you going to pay attention to UK news, read past the headlines.

    As for UK banks, all of them just like the US have made profits, hence the governments penalty tax on excessive banks, even those who did not take any public money. The only thing that is causing them difficulties is that a couple of banks in the UK have have business in the US and shareholders are worried about Obama might do to their US opperations.

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  • 86. At 1:31pm on 23 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    President Obama has performed a true miracle. He's brought the Republican party back from the dead.

    His little speech about jobs etc. the other day sounded more like a campaign speech from a man running for the office of President than like the President running his office. This is the same rhetoric we heard 18 months ago during the campaign. Mr. President, the time for talk is over and the time for taking action that works to put Americans back to work, money in their pockets, and allows them to pay their debts is long overdue. In fact for many Americans time is rapidly running out while for others it already has. Drastic situations call for drastic actions, not more speeches.

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  • 87. At 2:08pm on 23 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    86. At 1:31pm on 23 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "President Obama has performed a true miracle. He's brought the Republican party back from the dead."
    __________

    Sad, but largely true.

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  • 88. At 2:26pm on 23 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:

    87. Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "Sad, but largely true." Well, bringing people back from the dead is the one thing Marcus really does know about ;-D

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  • 89. At 2:37pm on 23 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Sorry squirrelbrain, I'm not the magician and frankly I don't think it will work on pea sized rodent brains. When they are dead, they're dead forever. No great loss to the world though, they were never any too valuable or powerful when they were alive. I don't really know if a rodent ever had a clever or original idea. Their brains were so feeble, they never found a way to communicate with humans. Who really knows if they could communicate with each other.

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  • 90. At 3:05pm on 23 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    Sigh! I thought Obama ran on the republican ticket, too.
    It's till not too late. I mean forget HC, war and economy, Cosmopolitan 2010.
    ------------------------------------------------
    76. At 08:44am on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#72


    "Welcome the new boss; the same as old boss
    -------------------------------------------------
    He's no Springsteen, though I thought I heard a high note on election night, May be it was that guy, yelling "you lie" you know, that looney!

    Wish I could say, 'same as it ever was'.

    Indeed we slay the dragons offspring and cannot find the pregnant Harlot.

    Since Osama Bi Ladden was Saudi and since he was largely responsible for the twin tower affair, Then the US should hold saudi arabia and his parents liable for the rebuilding of two oopps we could argue more, buildings. Say for instance the price of a few good oil fields there?
    And one first class trip home on AF-1.
    Even.
    For the cost, not for the lives of non combatants.
    Assuming we didn't blow up our own SS Maine again.
    Yes the distraction ha to be big to be done right.
    Cosmo would draw more attention and the money could go to charity. Nobody would be offended by it, people have given up being offended as too Risqué.

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  • 91. At 4:48pm on 23 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    David Murrell #43: '"the DOW drop has rippled across the world and RBS (the bank which is mostly owned by the British taxpayer) value has effectively dropped over £1 billion in the last couple of days. Now I am not expecting anyone in the US to care...The point is that the markets are all interconnected."


    I'm sorry, but I've got to say that I don't particularly care for your presumptuous tone, claiming to know what "all" Americans feel, or will feel, about the inevitable negative impact that Wallstreet's plummit has had on the rest of the world, and especially Britain, as it is our largest invester and vice versa!! I care, I care a lot! And I think, as 'Saint Dominick has already expressed in post #54, that this new regulatory legislation, if (and that's a big "if") it ever passes, will be not a moment too soon so as to never hurt your businesses in this severe fashon again!!

    I find your posts very informative, and don't think you crazy at all for spending most of your time on this blog racking your brain trying to understand this often hypocritical wrech of a nation!! But I implore you, please don't make generalisations of others like that...it only serves to hurt.



    P.S. If health care reform doesn't get passed, then the Democrats in Congress can kiss their seats goodbye. They can't spend the better part of a year exclusively talking about noting but health care, travel around to their constituants convincing them that this is a good thing, and at the 11th hour simply drop it and walk away. Especially when this very well may be the only chance we ever have to get health care reform, of any kind. Its political suicide. They must find some way to pass the Senate version through the House and remove the parts they don't like later.

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  • 92. At 5:00pm on 23 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    88. At 2:26pm on 23 Jan 2010, squirrelist wrote:
    87. Interestedforeigner wrote:

    "Sad, but largely true." Well, bringing people back from the dead is the one thing Marcus really does know about ;-D
    __________

    Just so.
    There is this revival-of-the-republicans image - zombies, Bela Lugosi, the un-dead, or the invasion of the body snatchers, that kind of stuff.

    Reminds me of that old joke:

    There was once a miserable old curmudgeon (not from Kansas) who threatened his family and neighbours that after he had died, he would come back from the dead, scratch his way out of the grave, and seek vengeance on them all.

    So they buried him face down.

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  • 93. At 5:21pm on 23 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    Interestedforeigner 92

    Was that before or after he died??

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  • 94. At 5:24pm on 23 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    93. R22

    Just a minute, I'll put in a call to Rush ...

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  • 95. At 5:43pm on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Ranter22.

    I have to correct you, for which I'm genuinly sorry, on one thing:

    Osama ibn Laden's family is not Saudi. They are from Y E M E N.

    And still have quite a few connections in that country. ;-)

    His daddy moved to SA and made a fortune in construction business in SA, but his sonny fell out of favour with the House of Saudis and vouched a revenge.

    Thus - al-Qaida was born.


    Besides allegedly altruistic motives there's often a deeply personal resentment.


    E.g., there's no Nobel prize in mathematics (in case you wondered) because, according to many reliable sources, Nobel's wife had a romance with a mathematician.

    Sic transit gloria mundi. :-(

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  • 96. At 5:49pm on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    David Murrell

    Please, don't touch any of the communist stuff with a 10 ft poll.


    I've forgotten more about the subject (Sovietology) than you'll ever learn. Even if you take post-grad courses.

    And manage to learn couple of East-European languages, including Russian.

    Capisci?

    Or should I draw it for ya? Like that Danish cartoonist?

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  • 97. At 6:09pm on 23 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    95. At 5:43pm on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Ranter22.

    I have to correct you, for which I'm genuinly sorry, on one thing:

    Osama ibn Laden's family is not Saudi. They are from Y E M E N.
    ------------------------------------------------


    OBL was born in SA, But His mom and pop came from Yemen that is what I have read.
    Right now we couldn't pay them to go back home.
    That is their comfort zone.

    What's a few oil fields among friends though.

    Nobel prizes in 'Chemistry' work out just fine.
    Mr. Nobel deserved one himself.

    Good point.

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  • 98. At 7:12pm on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #97

    Quite a few members of OBL's family were given a safe haven in Islamic Republic of Uran..err..Iran, by its ayatollahs.

    Including a son who was daddy's liaison to the al-Qaida in the Arab Peninsula.

    This was necessary since OBL' deputy (Ayman Zawahiri) cannot travel to the ME (Egyptians would get him in a New York minute) and Osama himself is in a deep hiding in a cave somewhere in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province, perhaps in Parachinar area.

    [Some awful people suggest that he's being protected there not so much by Parachinkani tribe, as by some elements of Pakistani ISI.

    Which of course is an outrageous and totally unjustified claim.]
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "HERE?! IN CASABLANCA? SHOCK! SHOCK!"

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  • 99. At 7:31pm on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re 82 American Grizzly wrote:

    Goggle now part of US Foreign Policy. Russia developing new generation Nukes. China hacking into electrial grids.



    Russia ATTEMPTS to develop a new generation of nukes.

    Whether she's going so be as succesful in that endaavour as in building new SLBMs (cf. " Bulava"s humiliating fiascos) is another story.


    However it is true that PRC's regime has been trying for quite some time -and until a recent creation of Cyber Command with total impunity -not only to find out (through repeated attempts at penetration) not only how to sabotage East Coast power grid,if need be, but also, to steal American state-of-the-art technologies from to Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos and Sandia Labs, Boeing, Harris, Lockheed, GE, Raytheon, and similar, corporations, and so on.

    Unless the current Administration finally retaliates (rather than merely moaning and registering "strong protests") one day Beijing regime's hackers will succeed.

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  • 100. At 7:52pm on 23 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    Our agendas will never end when we can always find a reason to either disagree or fight about, any reason or compulsion.

    Uncorroborated and presumptuous momentum's got us the sort of thing we lust and crave to continue to do, in spite of the blaring truth, factual knowledge, that some of our enemies and detractors, dwell elsewhere. The obsidian machine that has no reassessment.

    In the name of revenge we hurt the same people we seek to protect and protect the ones we shouldn't.

    Teachings from a father seeking to enlighten his family by example, fraught with damning contradictions.

    We learn to kill in wars, we come home-if lucky or unlucky- and we find justification that we killed the enemy and that, that enemy, was a true belief.

    We beg for legislation's to shield us from knowing too much and want to know too little because it would affect and muddy our conscience.

    Ignorance is bliss and bliss is Ignorant.

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  • 101. At 8:56pm on 23 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Ignorance is bliss and bliss is Ignorant."




    'And the Truth shall make you free' .


    Now, 'bout Hugh Gaitskell's strange and untimely (or perhaps timely)demise...

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  • 102. At 9:22pm on 23 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    84. At 1:09pm on 23 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:
    "JMM - Just a small point the Chinese are not Marxists nor have the ever been, they are Maoists (or were, they are currently the new face of Communism one which embraces certain aspects of capitalism). Mao the architect of the Communist Revolution wrote his own book and rules."

    One could subdivide the species into Marxist, neo-Marxist, Leninist, Stalinist, Maoist, etc. But the important issuus are:
    1. do they advocate violence
    2. once in power will they voluntarily relinquish it
    3. will they allow free, fair and multiple party elections
    4. do they subscribe to human rights
    a. freedom of speech
    b. freedom of the press
    c. freedom of religion, conscience and thought
    5. Do they believe in equality or are some [party cadres] privileged

    You may quibble about the Chinese being Maoists not Marxists, but using the above criteria there's not a lot of difference between them. In any case, you can apply the same criteria to the Fascists and get the same result. Totalitarian idiologies are basically the same poison, whatever they call themselves.

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  • 103. At 9:25pm on 23 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    I didn't know him and hadn't heard of him.

    Happy birthday Hugh Gaitskell!

    What would you like to say about him?

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  • 104. At 9:34pm on 23 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    87. At 2:08pm on 23 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote RE:
    86. At 1:31pm on 23 Jan 2010, MarcusAureliusII

    "’President Obama has performed a true miracle. He's brought the Republican party back from the dead.
    __________

    Sad, but largely true.”
    Sorry to quibble, but if you are talking [or hinting] about the effect of the Massachusetts election, I must, respectfully, disagree.

    It was our royal governor Patrick and the Corruptocrats on Beacon Hill that have performed the miracle of being so rotten the comatose Boston mobs have awakened. Should it spread [as I hope it will] a lot of incumbents of both parties should get their walking papers. An some should be doing their walking in an institutional exercise yard.

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  • 105. At 9:47pm on 23 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    104. JMM

    I think Marcus was speaking in a wider context, and so was I. He is a little cheerier about it than I am.

    To me, it is profoundly depressing how easily the rabid right has been able ignore the results of the election, and nonetheless to neuter the Obama administration by the loud and obnoxious repetition of "arguments" that are either intellectually dishonest; transparently misrepresentative of the facts or of the opponent's positions; reliant on voter ignorance in areas of skill specialization; utterly self-serving; or, often enough, all of the above.

    By contrast, it seems to me that Marcus considers derailment of many, if not all, of the initiatives of the Obama administration to be a cause for happiness if not celebration.

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  • 106. At 9:49pm on 23 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    Jmm, then the question will be, the republicans knowing why the people are anxious to elect them, and handing out unemployment benefits to the democrats.
    Hopefully the course will not continue in this awful direction. But if it did, either the people march right in there and drag them out by their long necks or they stay home and hope it doesn't get worse. My money is in they stay home.
    I still think a third party should be on standby.
    The new -IPOP- Independent People's Party. Real Independents, not temporary republicans or democrats. If we could only go back to at lest the Clinton years of prosperity for all.

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  • 107. At 00:12am on 24 Jan 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    Well Air America filed for bankruptcy. What will they do for jobs? Opps I forgot Al Franken has a job! Senator Al has a job helping spend US taxpayers money now. Wow! I like to live in America!
    Third party is long overdue. I am so tired of listening to whining Democrats and Republicans. All they do is paint decent people with broad mud slinging brushes. Tea Party people, independents, anyone they can't control. Where are all the truely qualified, and decent candidate. Unfortunately something like 95% of elected officals are lawyers. So much for the other folks to participate.
    " We remain very conservative on social issues, very liberal on fiscal matters, and fearful of anything foreign...but determined in expanding or at least preserving our sphere of influence." Saint Dominick
    I think we need to be more conservative on fiscal matters, somewhat liberal on social matters, how can we be fearful of foreigner when they are investing in America. Japan, Germany, China, the three big hitters and India too. We have failed in our sphere of influence... Basically too
    ideological sticking our nose in other people business. Influence is one thing, wasting our people and money to nation build. Nato we carry an inordinate burden. Even the UN greases the UN for money. Let someone else carry the stone for awhile. I say all troops and support should be withheld for a period of 5 years. The US needs to put its own house in order. I am not saying we can't do business. Just withdraw an see how the world spins without the US for 5 years. Hang a gone fishing sign on the UN, keep our presence but limit it to only our vote, add nothing, say nothing. Basically protect our safety, interests, and stop the handouts. I wonder what would happen.....

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  • 108. At 00:15am on 24 Jan 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    "It was our royal governor Patrick and the Corruptocrats on Beacon Hill that have performed the miracle of being so rotten the comatose Boston mobs have awakened. Should it spread [as I hope it will] a lot of incumbents of both parties should get their walking papers. An some should be doing their walking in an institutional exercise yard." JMM

    Yeah, power to the people.... Don't ask them to be accountable, MAKE THEM! Right on JMM.

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  • 109. At 06:20am on 24 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#102

    [Chinese Commies denying freedom of the press,]



    I'm sure, JMM, that you included under that 'press' rubric freedom of Internet, and of Internet access. ;-)


    And would include kimist, North-Korean Juche as subcatgegory of the leftist totalitarianism, had it not been such a bad joke.

    [I will skip Castratism here, for more reasons than one]

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  • 110. At 06:31am on 24 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #103 ranter22 wrote:

    "I didn't know him and hadn't heard of him [HG].

    Happy birthday Hugh Gaitskell!

    What would you like to say about him?"





    Only that according to some, he was made to die to make room for Harold Wilson (whom quite a few, including some at MI5, suspected of being a KGB agent) at the rudder of the Labour Party.

    Which, of course, was never proved.

    [just as it was never proved that it was FSB which killed Litvinenko. ;)]

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  • 111. At 5:56pm on 24 Jan 2010, McJakome wrote:

    109. At 06:20am on 24 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote Ref#102:

    “And would include kimist, North-Korean Juche as subcatgegory of the leftist totalitarianism, had it not been such a bad joke.”

    I’m not sure whether I agree or disagree with you. The Kims still proclaim themselves to be the “dear leaders” of the “Choson Kong Hwa Ren Min Gook,”
    The Korean [Socialist/Communist] Peoples Democratic Republic.

    The name is certainly a joke, the same bad joke as every other “Peoples Republic.” But the Kims are already orchestrating the second family succession, which makes NK a Socialist Peoples Monarchy. The Cubans seem to be following suit with Prince of Wiles Raul following after Fidelius Rex.

    The reason leftists don’t like to consider NK is because it rather punctures their notion of the philosopher cadres [more like philistine dacoits] leading the people on to an egalitarian future workers' paradise.

    But NK is even worse yet. Not satisfied with mere hereditary monarchy [what’s so special if even the Brits and Scandinavians can have it], the Kims have turned themselves into gods. The people are required to bow to and leave offerings at their shrines [pictures and statues conveniently placed everywhere for the adulation of masses thankful for their healthful, guaranteed non-fattening diet, and other benefits too numerous to be mentioned, but decidedly unhealthy not to mention in NK].

    People who deride hereditary monarchy, exploitation of the masses, religion and healthful non-fattening diets of grass and tree bark really have a problem acknowledging the Kims as of their own ilk [albeit, to be fair, somewhat extreme examples].

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  • 112. At 7:59pm on 24 Jan 2010, starFloridian wrote:

    Is there just one campaign promise that dripped from that smooth tongue that has NOT been broken? Maybe the Obama disciples can find one, but I could not. The most egregious of course was his fervent vow to make Washington "transparent", and that all the goings-on there would be on C-Span for all to see. The fact that the health care plans of both bodies were put together behind closed doors, effectively denying Republicans input, is the most glaring example of a broken campaign promise. Then of course was Obama's promise to deny all the "pork" that would come up for his signature, while the health care plans of both bodies were loaded down with that foul-smelling ingredient. The people of Massachusetts spoke for all of us - and roll on November so that we can all echo their sentiments.

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  • 113. At 8:26pm on 24 Jan 2010, ranter22 wrote:

    All victims, like the Myth, realities, die within their purpose or conveniences, just maybe both. Those whose need and wants matter more than the truth. The world may never know Who killed JFK, MLK or RFK.
    We know what has been said or what we either hear or see. Even that is subjective.

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  • 114. At 11:22pm on 24 Jan 2010, EJD830 wrote:

    Health Care is dead in the water, the house wont pass the senate bill and the Dems in the senate will face a republican filibuster on any reconciled legislation. Obama is Jimmy Carter 2.0 and will be remembered as a terrible president. The Democratic party will splinter and republicans will be on the offensive this november. we Americans Know that Capitalism and Limited government is the way forward. to all who push socialism, name a socialist country that is nearly as prosperous as the Good Ol' USA

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  • 115. At 11:25pm on 24 Jan 2010, jobsw32 wrote:

    just 'cos we don#t like being told what to do? All I ever expected of a bank was an account to dump money in so that I wouldn't need to handle cash. That to me was the advantage, I never dreamed that it would give others the opportunity to take advantage.

    Do the Americans complain about people being out of work when they know that the economy is being reformed and people are competing for fewer jobs?

    Our little kiddies seem to complain about everything!

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  • 116. At 11:52pm on 24 Jan 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    114. At 11:22pm on 24 Jan 2010, EJD830 wrote:

    "Health Care is dead in the water, the house wont pass the senate bill and the Dems in the senate will face a republican filibuster on any reconciled legislation. ... to all who push socialism, name a socialist country that is nearly as prosperous as the Good Ol' USA".
    __________

    Well, if you really believe that public healthcare is "Socialism", then by European standards, what you consider "socialism" is actually middle of the road or slightly right of center. It would include, for example, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, all of which have higher per capita income .... There are lots of European countries that are richer than America on a per capita basis. They all have public healthcare, and most have public services, particularly public transit, education, and crime prevention, better than, and sometimes far better than, what is found in America.

    Note also that medicare is the very kind of thing you decry as "socialism". Are you then in favour of abolishing medicare?

    But don't let the truth get in the way of your thinking.

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  • 117. At 1:00pm on 25 Jan 2010, Rico111 wrote:

    First for those that think Obama or the party had some magic wand to wave and create jobs lets look at the reason of the losses.

    1. Housing and construction markets began their crash in May of 2006, preditory lending and absolutly no government oversight since the repeal of the Glass/Steegle Act in 1998. Unregulated Banks doing business however they felt.

    2. 700 Billion Dollars in Bush's bill handed to unregulated banks that used that cash to start consolidating, i.e. J.P. Morgan buys out Bear Sterns on a Sunday far from visibility, then buys out Chase which buys out Washington Mutual! Hence three of the largest failures under one hat, JP Morgan/Chase!

    3. Job gains require small business to expand which has always been Small Business loans, the banks ARE NOT LENDING MONEY! Fact!

    4. Obama, no let me back up, Bush should have never let 700 Billion go without the institutions that recieved it agreeing to FULL GOVERNMENT REINSTATEMENT to the Glass/Steegle or something similar.

    5. Obama is finally getting around to the most important thing he can do to change this mess and that is to break up the big banks and levy government banking regulations just like in 1933 [seems the banks talked a good one in 1998 but proved they are not worthy].

    If Clinton could break up Microsoft in Ant-Trust in fall of 2000 JP Morgan and the likes are well in that arena!

    You want jobs, start your own business go down to your local bank for a SBA Loan and hire a few unemployed people, let me know how the loan request went.

    Regan deregulates the S&L's in 1985, by 1990 there was a S&L Crisis that saw RTC [resoultion trust corp. a government agency] closing down banks and dumping the holdings for pennies on the dollar [it destoyed the appraisal values and drove down the markets].

    In 1998 Clinton under complete Bi-Partisan pressure deregulates the big banks and by 2004 their failures were mounting at God Speed!

    We learn nothing from History because it was in the past!

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  • 118. At 1:03pm on 25 Jan 2010, Rico111 wrote:

    I agree with the interestedforeigner, Socialism is another worthless Fear Tactic cry made by the unknowing.

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  • 119. At 1:10pm on 25 Jan 2010, Rico111 wrote:

    Is there just one campaign promise that dripped from that smooth tongue that has NOT been broken? Maybe the Obama disciples can find one, but I could not. The most egregious of course was his fervent vow to make Washington "transparent", and that all the goings-on there would be on C-Span for all to see. The fact that the health care plans of both bodies were put together behind closed doors, effectively denying Republicans input, is the most glaring example of a broken campaign promise. Then of course was Obama's promise to deny all the "pork" that would come up for his signature, while the health care plans of both bodies were loaded down with that foul-smelling ingredient. The people of Massachusetts spoke for all of us - and roll on November so that we can all echo their sentiments.

    Spoke for you maybe, not for me......and yes there were 13 laws Obama signed into law in his first year, Child Care, Credit card reform act, in a week or so the Troops will begin the drawdown in Iraq, his now on the table banking regulations, he took a good shot at reforming heath care and I will let you find the others....I know you missed them while you stared hoplessly at C-Span waiting for some door to open.

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  • 120. At 4:01pm on 25 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#111 [I have a fondness for the number since days of US air raids on Qaddafi's Libya]


    JMM

    I'm sure you know that there is already an annointed heir to Kim-Jong-il as well.

    His youngest sonny, Kim-Jong-un [on], a kid educatated in posh private schools in Switzerland, a country, in which Kim Jong-il has a splendid palace (by the Lac Leman) administered by the North Korean Embassy.

    [So many personal sacrifices have always been made by leftist dictators for the benefit of the proletariat they've been starv...errr...serving]

    BTW. I've noticed that nobody wants to touch an issue of another success story: a liberated, socialist 'free' Vietnam. :-))))))))))))))))))))))))

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  • 121. At 4:23pm on 25 Jan 2010, GH1618 wrote:

    "If the FDIC insures a bank then that bank has to answer to the federal government." (from bepa at #51)

    The FDIC does not insure banks, it insures depositors.

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  • 122. At 6:51pm on 25 Jan 2010, puma732 wrote:

    colonelartist,
    you really think Bush's 8yrs are better than Obama's 1yr? Obama saved the US from a depression that was almost created by 8yrs of non-regulation of the finance sector. Bush illegally invaded Iraq over WMD that never existed. He also ignored Katrina victims. he redistributed wealth from the working class to the rich when he gave the well-to-do and sweet taxcut. he stole two elections and brought fanaticism to the US like never before.

    seems like you'd rather break your neck than stub a toe, LOL

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  • 123. At 7:24pm on 25 Jan 2010, David Murrell wrote:

    PursuitofLove (91) - I apologise, I didn't mean that in a negative fashion. What I meant was that I don't expect most people in the US to be interested, no more than I am really that interested in what happens on the Tokyo exchange.

    Because of my job i have to take an interest in the markets and legistlation, because it affects how my company runs. Basically these big bank are our customers, if they disappear then potentially so does our business.

    The trouble is, for me, I have a greater understanding than many lay people. This is a business that I got into mostly by accident and I have to deal with people I would not normally ever have wanted to deal with, not because in and of themselves they are nasty people, but the business is amoral (truely if you used morality you would find it hard to do, most traders and brokers I know treat it as a game), to make money someone else has to lose money, but very rarely is it that persons money to lose.

    Yes the markets need regulations more than they have now, if nothing else the more time they spend trying to legally get round the rules, the less time they have dreaming up new instruments. My issue is that attacking the markets has become an easy game, all to often it is not thought out. It should be less about getting even with the banks and more about rebuilding the system. Personally I don't think Obama has thought this through enough. I also think he has underestimated how ruthless these bankers can be, they are used to dealing with numbers and people as numbers. This could get very nasty and in the end it will be main street that suffers.

    Once again apologies that I was not clearer, as I said it was not an attack just an acknowledgement that most people are not interested in a bank in another country - unless you are Power then obviously those Icelandic banks are incredibly important, for some reason.

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  • 124. At 7:37pm on 25 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    you really think Bush's 8yrs are better than Obama's 1yr? Obama saved the US from a depression that was almost created by 8yrs of non-regulation of the finance sector. Bush illegally invaded Iraq over WMD that never existed. He also ignored Katrina victims. he redistributed wealth from the working class to the rich when he gave the well-to-do and sweet taxcut. he stole two elections and brought fanaticism to the US like never before.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    and bush said he was the decider and took all the responsiblities of everything that happened during his rule on to his shoulders...Obama, on the other hand sometimes puts the blame on everyone else..You elected him to fix the problems because he said he would, your fault, you didnt grind him into telling you how...But blaming others, the way he does, is not how things are fixed..

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  • 125. At 8:27pm on 25 Jan 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    David Murrell #123. . .

    Apology accepted. Just so long as you don't presume me to be the typical yank, with all the negative stereotypical character trates that Americans, as a whole, have come to be known for all around the world.

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  • 126. At 8:30pm on 25 Jan 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re: Icelandic banks'crisis/ Iceland insolvency


    The issue seemed to be of rather great importance in U.K. judging by attention so many British reputable media paid to it;
    much more, incidentally, than American ones.

    And that would include a BBC special report from Iceland (quite interesting I must say), and an interview with that country's president, who, as I recall, has managed to get an interviewer visibly outraged.

    I also happen to think that an issue of having a national referendum on whether to repay the money a country owes to foreign investors/depositors - is very relevant in the current international financial crisis, and is most certainly newsworthy.[even as a curiosum]

    Again, judging by the extensive coverage of it by the British media - I haven't been the only one who happened to think so.


    By the way I've also followed with great interest the saga of Swiss UBS behemoth's problems, particularly since we've been always told that Swiss banks are much more prudent in their investments than banks of any other country, and they most certainly enjoyed such an opinion for a very long time.

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  • 127. At 10:53pm on 25 Jan 2010, MDshooter wrote:

    My, how the pundits sway with just the faintest breath of conservatism.
    Americans are not nor will ever be socialists. Obama will not relinquish his ideals for the will of the people, and this inability to "do his job" will be his downfall.
    Overregulating banks, corporations and especially small business is biting the hand that feeds you. We can all stand around pontificating about the "evil" Wall St. and the "greedy" banks and the "selfish" small businessman complaining about unions, but what is so often ignored is the reality that they are the very system that, because of unrestrained opportunity, has created the wealthiest country in the history of the world. To "change" such an environment will be disastrous, and not easily reversible.
    I never got a job from a poor person.

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  • 128. At 11:03pm on 25 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Apology accepted. Just so long as you don't presume me to be the typical yank, with all the negative stereotypical character trates that Americans, as a whole, have come to be known for all around the world.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And the poor mother, who insisted that his out of step son in a military parade was the only one who was correct, and the rest were all out of step..Or, would you prefer to be, " are you american? but you are so different from the rest of them."

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  • 129. At 11:06pm on 25 Jan 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    And this is the time, when obama should quietly produce joe the plumber, who was for weeks symbol of the republican campaign..Furthermore he should start saying that his universal health reforms also will benefit joe the plumber..

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  • 130. At 11:12pm on 25 Jan 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    Over the weekend Gail Collins in the NYT spread the myth that Coakley was a good AG.

    Sorry she hasn't been. she refused to investigate corruption and also caved on big dig prosecutions.

    The sad thing is if she loses Deval Patrick who we have 10.5 months of will appoint her to the courts.

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  • 131. At 04:01am on 26 Jan 2010, John Galt wrote:

    "The most important thing about power is what you do with it. But a very close second is making sure you keep it", says this liberal Washington correspondent.

    He is wrong, it might be so to a philosopher, but to a politician, the most important thing is to keep the power. President Obama is fully cognizant of this and is turning his powers of demagoguery fully to that end.

    That is why the country is entering a more dangerous facet of the Obama presidency; the "Desperation Mode". Every move and every helter-skelter proposal will be carefully measured to strike a popular theme. The Hugo Chavez school of populism and how to stay in power will be at full display.

    In the meantime no sign of taking the hard choices named in, “10 Actions President Obama Must Take To Save His Presidency” that can be found at

    http://www.robbingamerica.blogspot.com

    The Country is without clear honest guidance!

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  • 132. At 04:21am on 26 Jan 2010, David wrote:

    I am a Massachusetts voter and have been a registered Democrat most of my like. This election has shown a major change in Mass. politics. Most people I know in my town and at work voted for Brown for a number of issues. Health care is a major issue and I saw a huge health care plan requiring 2000 pages of legislation being rushed through to give the President a chance to show an accomplishment in his first year. I doubt if any member of congress had read the entire bill before voting. People here are not opposed to providing some sort of insurance for the uninsured. What upsets me is that I have good health coverage and that coverage would be changed and made more expensive. There are oddities. The man in the next office to mine makes about 20k more than I do but this plan would tax me on my plan and not tax him as he is union and I am management. That is not fair.

    Some campaign issues also were involved. Late in the campaign, when Martha Coakley was running scared she started airing attack commercials against Brown rather than positive ads about herself. The commercials had a lot of obvious untruths/distortions about Brown. I have met Martha a number of time and know her husband. She is a nice lady and smart but the vicious ads turned me off. She hurt herself when she attacked Brown for allowing Catholic hospitals an exemtion from a law providing for abortion procedures. Brown is Protestant but picked up votes from devout Catholics instead of the Catholic Coakley. Bad move by Martha to put that in an ad.

    If you look at a map of Massachusetts several congressmen will have problems in next Novembers election. In my district the Democrats only won three towns and in the district in the north of the state, where Nikki Tsongas is the Congressperson every single city and town in her district voted Republican.

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  • 133. At 04:56am on 26 Jan 2010, SRK wrote:

    Run to a bible, its all relevant to Rev!! TRUTH, in 1

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  • 134. At 05:01am on 26 Jan 2010, SRK wrote:

    AMERICA is NOT in a good spot, look up for help.

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