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|Year Three Day 56 Obama Administration March 16,, 2011|
President Barack Obama talks on the phone with Prime Minister Naoto Kan of Japan from the Treaty Room office in the White House Residence, Wednesday night, March 16, 2011.
10:00AM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
3:05PM THE PRESIDENT and THE VICE PRESIDENT meet with Secretary of Defense Gates
Benghazi shows that if we are ever attacked while obama is President, we are absolutely f**cked
Today terrorists attacked Attacked airport in Istanbul, Turkey, at last count leaving 28 dead and at least 60 injured:
— At least 28 people have been killed and 60 others wounded in the attack on Istanbul Ataturk Airport in Turkey, Istanbul Gov. Vasip Sahin told Turkey’s state-run news agency TRT. It is unclear if the total includes the bombers. Another report, from semi-official news agency Anadolu, said six of the wounded are in critical condition. A total of 49 ambulances were sent to the site.
— Turkey’s Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag earlier said at least 10 people were killed and 20 others injured. The suicide bombers were also killed. Bozdag said one attacker “first opened fire with a Kalashnikov then detonated himself” at the airport entrance.
— In total three bombs exploded, the governor told TRT.
–One of them was located just outside a terminal on the pavement, while the other was at the security gate at the entrance to the airport, Bozdag told CNN.
— Authorities said no bombs exploded within airport buildings, according to the minister.
— A video posted to Twitter shows a view from a camera inside an airport terminal. A few dozen people are walking around when a bright flash and fireball erupt in the background.
— A Turkish official told CNN that police fired shots at suspects near the international terminal in an effort to neutralize them.
— Videos posted on social media show travelers sitting on the airport floor. A man shouts, “Get down! Get down!” Someone cries as a gunshot rings out.
As I write, the estimated death toll is now 50.
It remains to be seen how the Turkish government will respond but it’s pretty likely they won’t take the Obama route and blame “lone wolf” bad actors. They won’t likely blame their own people as did Obama. I’ll wager big money that they don’t say that the best response to the attack will be love and compassion as did our idiot Attorney General. It’s unlikely that Turkish President Erdogan will fight and thought of linking the attack to ISIS. But one thing from the Benghazi report positively leaps off the page- if we are attacked again while Obama is President, we are totally f**ked.
There was no rescue attempt for those under attack in Benghazi, but it wasn’t for lack of assets. The problem was that those assets were being utterly mismanaged. It’s hard to overestimate the stupidity:
“At the end of the day, no military assets were ever moving toward Benghazi,” she said. “But for the bravery of a few Americans and the unexpected response of Qaddafi’s underground militia … there would have been an even greater loss of life that night.”
The report, more broadly, described a disconnect between the “bureaucratic” response at upper levels and in Washington, and the urgent response on the ground that night.
The report said despite orders from President Obama and then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to deploy, the first military force did not do so until more than 13 hours after the attack started.
The report said one anti-terrorism security team known as the FAST unit sat waiting for three hours in Rota, Spain, as Marines changed “in and out of their uniforms four times,” and even debated whether they should carry personal weapons, according to one witness. All together, the report said, “it would take nearly 18 hours” for that team to move.
In the end, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans — foreign service officer Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Ty Woods and Glen Doherty — were killed in the attacks.
Political correctness trumped the safety and well being of US personnel:
The administration’s policy of no boots on the ground shaped the type of military assistance provided to State Department personnel in Libya. The Executive Secretariats for both the Defense Department and State Department exchanged communications outlining the diplomatic capacity in which the Defense Department SST security team members would serve, which included wearing civilian clothes so as not to offend the Libyans. [pg. 60]
The Obama regime spent two hours debating how to mount a rescue without offending Libya:
Brooks said, “I, and members of the committee are very concerned as to why the secretary and the State Department didn’t follow recommendations that have made — been made by previous ARBs or Accountability Review Boards. First and foremost, the secretary of state, whether it was Secretary Clinton at the time or Secretary Kerry now, is responsible for security of their people. Security should be a top priority. And in fact, in 2010, when Secretary Clinton ordered a review of processes, there was a strong recommendation made that changes should be made about how the State Department handled security. That was rejected by Under Secretary Kennedy, and they went with the status quo, or what they call regular order. So things should have changed before this incident ever happened. And once Ambassador Stevens…went to Libya, he went with no military assistance. He went and requested multiple times, he and other diplomatic security, to have more agents, to have more physical security, and quite frankly, it was rejected by the State Department.”
She added, “[I]t was really unbelievable to us, that in fact the Defense Department, had no assets, moving toward Benghazi at the time that the annex was attacked. So almost eight hours after the initial attack on the mission compound, and after our brave men had moved to the annex, there were still no military assets moving directly to Benghazi. We also learned that there was a White House secure video conference that took place, we did not know that previously. That Secretary Clinton participated in, and other White House officials, although Secretary Panetta did not, the president did not, and they had discussions for over two hours about how to go in without truly offending Libya, how to send people to Tripoli, never to Benghazi. And so there were some significant, I think, deficiencies and mistakes made, and decisions that were made about how to go rescue our people.”
Obama claimed to have made three directives:
I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure we are securing our personnel and that we are doing whatever we need to. Number two, we are going to investigate exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.
It makes you shudder to think what could happen in the event of another attack on the US. Obama would spend weeks dithering over the possibility of offending the attackers and their home countries.(Witness obama’s complete lack of reaction to Russia playing chicken with our military) He would probably blame the US and apologize to the attackers. Hillary Clinton would figure out how to profit from the attack, destroy some emails and assert “What difference at this point does it make?”
Who are these Unaccompanied Alien Children and where are they from?
Unaccompanied alien children are children under 18 who have lawful immigration status in the United States - that is, they are illegal aliens who are children. In 2013, only 24 percent were under 14 years old, and 73 percent were male. 24 (In June, 2014, ICE caved in to political correctness by dropping the word "alien" from the term "unaccompanied alien child".) 26 The following chart shows official unaccompanied alien child referrals through the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR):
The following chart from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) shows where these alien children are sent from: 24
A Pacific president: Obama’s Pivot
US–China relations, former Secretary of State Colin Powell declared in 2004, were ‘the best they have been since President Richard Nixon first visited Beijing more than 30 years ago’. 15 That is decidedly not how Chinese at the time viewed the relationship. 16 Bush had come into office in January 2001 with a team of neoconservatives who were hawkish on China, and the April 2001 Hainan spy plane collision sent bilateral relations to lows not seen since the Tiananmen Massacre of 1989. Then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, muzzled during the delicate negotiations over the release of the plane’s US crew, held a press conference immediately upon their release to lambast China and blame the dead Chinese pilot Wang Wei for both the crash and his own death. The Chinese government continued to place full blame for Wang Wei’s death on the United States.
Five months later, the US terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001 changed everything. The Chinese government sent its condolences, and the Bush administration and its neocons turned their gaze towards Afghanistan and Iraq. Powell is correct that on the surface US–China relations seemed to improve, but most Chinese security analysts viewed 9/11 merely as a reprieve from the wrath of the neocons. America, in their view, was 霸道 (hegemonic/ bullying) by nature, and only temporarily directing its innate aggression elsewhere. 17 After seven years of the war on terror and a Bush Doctrine that emphasised unilateralism and a provocative policy of preventative war, Obama ran for president on a platform of extricating the United States from the Middle East. Where Bush was willing to go it alone in Iraq with or without UN support, and even that of US allies, Obama was far more of an internationalist, believing that global problems required diplomatic and multilateral solutions.
Obama billed himself “the first Pacific President” in November 2009, and first announced his Pivot to Asia in November 2011. Michael Green argues that Barack Obama was not actually the first Pacific president, but the first to pursue a genuinely Asia-first strategy. 18 Regardless, it is no coincidence that Obama’s first foreign visitor was Japanese Prime Minister Tarō Aso. South Korean President Myung-Bak Lee received the Obama administration’s first formal state visit, and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s first trip abroad was to Asia.
Having grown up in Indonesia and Hawaii, Obama may have been better placed than many East Coast American statesmen and women to recognise the growing geopolitical importance of a rising Asia, and he and Clinton set about Pivoting to Asia. Kurt Campbell, Obama’s Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, and the Pivot’s primary architect, has argued at length that Obama’s Pivot to Asia was a ‘necessary course correction’ after a decade focusing on terrorism and the Middle East. 19 Campbell further argues that as Asia grows the US role in Asia must evolve as well, from a ‘gardener’ dutifully tending to the region, to an ‘orchestra conductor’ coordinating the increasingly independent efforts of Asian states and their multilateral institutions, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). 20
Socialised into an anti-imperialist nationalism, 21 many Chinese feared the Pivot was an effort to block their country’s rise, and yet another effort to humiliate China and deny its rightful place atop the East Asian order. Pointing to Obama’s 2011 announcement of rotations of increasingly larger groups of US Marines through Darwin in northern Australia, these Chinese analysts argued that the Pivot was a policy of balancing against China’s rise, both through a US military build-up and reinforcing US alliances in Asia. Many Chinese considered the economic pillar of the Pivot, the TPP, to have been designed to exclude China and its state-centric economy, while drawing up an American-designed blueprint for regional trade. Many Chinese saw the TPP as a long-term threat to its interests and sought to create alternative economic arrangements like the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). 22 The Pivot, they claimed, was containment with a new name.
The Pivot was about ‘increasing ties to Asia’, Campbell responded to such critics, ‘not containing China’. 23 It sought to embed China policy within a broader regional framework, not to obstruct China’s rise. Campbell would not convince Chinese nationalists, and China’s overreaction to the Pivot only confirmed the worst fears of American nationalists, contributing to a hardening of many US China policies, from cyber security to the South China Sea. 24 Indeed, Campbell concludes his book, The Pivot: The Future of American Statecraft in Asia, with a metaphor: the United States must bolster its Asian partnerships by adding a ‘tire’ to the traditional hub and spokes alliance structure, joining each and every allied spoke. 25
For instance, the Obama administration worked hard to reconcile Japan and South Korea, America’s two closest allies in Northeast Asia. Though not particularly successful at overcoming their misgivings about each other, US efforts to bring Japan and South Korea together do suggest that external balancing against China was one driver of Obama’s Pivot to Asia. Indeed, the administration’s plans to install the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile system in South Korea drew criticism from China. The Obama administration claimed that it was needed to counter the threat of increasing missile launches from North Korea, but Beijing argued that it was actually directed against them. The Chinese government was consistent and systematic in its repeated criticisms of THAAD, extending formal diplomatic protests immediately after its announcement. 26 Beijing also allowed major Chinese nationalist protests and boycotts against South Korean companies, and put restrictions on tourism to South Korea, and the import of K-pop. The Obama administration further fuelled Beijing’s discontent when it approved arms sales to Taiwan, Singapore and other Chinese neighbours concerned about Beijing’s future ambitions. For instance, the Obama administration lifted a half-century embargo on lethal weapons sales to Vietnam.
Ultimately, the Pivot failed to live up to its full potential because Obama could not extricate the United States from the Middle Eastern challenges it had inherited from the Bush administration. Obama, and China’s new President Xi Jinping, appeared to strike an early friendship, manifest in the broadly positive messages which emanated from the 2013 Sunnylands Summit in California between the two. Their joint statement described a relationship which had the potential to become more cooperative and mutually beneficial, rather than antagonistic. 27 While Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan would continue to occupy Washington’s attention, however, China would begin rolling out its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Belt and Road, and other megaprojects, to take the initiative in East Asia.
First 100 days
Obama's 100th day in office was April 29, 2009. In his first post-election interview with 60 Minutes, Obama said that he had been studying Franklin Roosevelt's first 100 days, [ 18 ] while adding, "The first hundred days is going to be important, but it's probably going to be the first thousand days that makes the difference." [ 19 ]
Obama's first 100 days were highly anticipated ever since he became the presumptive nominee. [ 20 ] Several news outlets created web pages dedicated to covering the subject. [ 21 ] Commentators weighed in on challenges and priorities within domestic, foreign, economic, and environmental policy. [ 22 ] [ 23 ] [ 24 ] [ 25 ] CNN lists a number of economic issues that "Obama and his team will have to tackle in their first 100 days", foremost among which is passing and implementing a recovery package to deal with the financial crisis. [ 24 ] Clive Stafford Smith, a British human rights lawyer, expressed hopes that the new president will close Guantanamo Bay detention camp in his first 100 days in office. [ 23 ] After aides of the president announced his intention to give a major foreign policy speech in the capital of an Islamic country, there were speculations in Jakarta that he might return to his former home city within the first 100 days. [ 26 ]
The New York Times devoted a five-part series, which was spread out over two weeks, to anticipatory analysis of Obama's first hundred days. Each day, the analysis of a political expert was followed by freely edited blog postings from readers. The writers compared Obama's prospects with the situations of Franklin D. Roosevelt (January 16, Jean Edward Smith), [ 27 ] John F. Kennedy (January 19, Richard Reeves), [ 28 ] Lyndon B. Johnson (January 23, Robert Dallek), [ 29 ] Ronald Reagan (January 27, Lou Cannon), [ 30 ] and Richard Nixon (February 4, Roger Morris). [ 31 ]
Legislation and executive orders
Within minutes of taking the Oath of Office on January 20, Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, issued an order suspending last-minute federal regulations pushed through by outgoing President George W. Bush, planning to review everything still pending. [ 32 ] Due to the economic crisis, the President enacted a pay freeze for Senior White House Staff making more than $100,000 per year, [ 33 ] as well as announcing stricter guidelines regarding lobbyists in an effort to raise the ethical standards of the White House. [ 34 ] He asked for a waiver to his own new rules, however, for the appointments of William Lynn to the position of Deputy Defense Secretary, Jocelyn Frye to the position of director of policy and projects in the Office of the First Lady, and Cecilia Muñoz to the position of director of intergovernmental affairs in the executive office of the president, leading to some criticism of hypocrisy and violation of his pledge for governmental openness. [ 35 ] [ 36 ]
In his first week in office, Obama signed Executive Order 13492 suspending all the ongoing proceedings of Guantanamo military commission and ordering the detention facility to be shut down within the year. [ 37 ] [ 38 ] [ 39 ] He also signed Executive Order 13491 – Ensuring Lawful Interrogations requiring the Army Field Manual to be used as a guide for terror interrogations, banning torture and other coercive techniques, such as waterboarding. [ 40 ] Obama also issued an executive order entitled "Ethics Commitments by Executive Branch Personnel", setting stricter limitations on incoming executive branch employees and placing tighter restrictions on lobbying in the White House. [ 41 ] Obama signed two Presidential Memoranda concerning energy independence, ordering the Department of Transportation to establish higher fuel efficiency standards before 2011 models are released and allowing states to raise their emissions standards above the national standard. [ 42 ] He also ended the Mexico City Policy, which banned federal grants to international groups that provide abortion services or counseling. [ 43 ] [ 44 ]
In his first week he also established a policy of producing a weekly Saturday morning video address available on whitehouse.gov and YouTube, [ 45 ] [ 46 ] [ 47 ] much like those released during his transition period. [ 48 ] [ 49 ] The first address had been viewed by 600,000 YouTube viewers by the next afternoon. [ 50 ]
The first piece of legislation Obama signed was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 on January 29, which revised the statute of limitations for filing pay discrimination lawsuits. Lilly Ledbetter joined Obama and his wife, Michelle, as he signed the bill, fulfilling his campaign pledge to nullify Ledbetter v. Goodyear. [ 51 ] On February 3, he signed the Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIP), expanding health care from 7 million children under the plan to 11 million. [ 52 ]
After much debate, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was passed by both the House and Senate on February 13, 2009. Originally intended to be a bipartisan bill, the passage of the bill was largely along party lines. No Republicans voted for it in the House, and three moderate Republicans voted for it in the Senate (Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania). [ 53 ] The bill combined tax breaks with spending on infrastructure projects, extension of welfare benefits, and education. [ 54 ] [ 55 ] The final cost of the bill was $787 billion, and almost $1.2 trillion with debt service included. [ 56 ] Obama signed the Act into law on February 17, 2009, in Denver, Colorado. [ 57 ]
On March 9, 2009, Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding of embryonic stem cell research, [ 58 ] and in doing so, called into question some of George W. Bush's signing statements. Obama stated that he too would employ signing statements if he deems upon review that a portion of a bill is unconstitutional, [ 59 ] [ 60 ] and he has issued several signing statements. [ 61 ]
Early in his presidency, Obama signed a law raising the tobacco tax 62 cents on a pack of cigarettes. [ 62 ] The tax is to be "used to finance a major expansion of health insurance for children", and "help some [smokers] to quit and persuade young people not to start". [ 62 ]
Comment by WaitngForREO
A follow-up to my 3/17 post(s):
First, thanks to the HBB community for the many kind messages of support. I’ll soon be boarding my plane in Osaka and coming home from Japan. I’ll leave here emotionally healthier and spiritually richer from my experience. That’s a direct causal result of what the Japanese people showed me here. Can it be that healthy societies are as contagious as unhealthy ones?
And if so, then may I add one last observation from this trip - in Japan there’s no such thing as, “…this is pointless and I’m tired so I quit.” I guess that means I’ve got to keep trying to make ours a healthy one. Anyway, for some reason, I can’t seem to get this song out my head:
All my bags are packed I’m ready to go I’m standing here outside your door I hate to wake you up to say goodbye.
But the dawn is breaking it’s early morn’
The taxi’s waiting, he’s blowin’ his horn Already I’m so lonesome, I could cry So kiss me and smile for me Tell me that you’ll wait for me Hold me like you’ll never let me go I’m leaving on a jet plane I don’t know when I’ll be back again Oh babe I hate to go …
WaitingForREO ..Nice post…..The people in Japan show a great example for the World . I saw a tape where the flood waters were
raging toward a group of people walking .In spite of this danger one
person fell down and the others wouldn’t leave until they had picked
the fallen person up .People were yelling from a hill “Run ,Run,”,but the small group would not leave until they got the fallen person up ,and it took the longest time when seconds count . This flood of water was coming right at them where seconds count . I had to look at the tape over and over to see why they were stalled and not running away from the danger .They wouldn’t leave until they picked up the fallen person . I expected to see them all drown ,but they all made it .
I have admired the Japanese people and Japanese-Americans all my life. When I was born a Japanese-American family was in the hospital too, as their new male family member was born that hour too. We became family friends from that point, more than 51 years ago. Larry and I attended the same high school. Note that my father fought against the Japanese in WWII. That should tell you a lot about my dad’s benevolent character, even though he was a helluva strong man.Comment by CA renter
MikeinBend had a question yesterday about tax liability on a foreclosure.
“Another problem with mortgage foreclosure is possible income tax consequences. The general rule is that when a lender forgives or cancels a debt the borrower can incur income tax on the amount of debt forgiveness. When you arrange a discount in your mortgage in order to sell house (a so-called “short sale”) the mortgage lender will cancel part of your mortgage debt and you will receive a tax form 1099 telling the IRS that you have imputed income for the amount of debt reduction. You will also incur income tax liability for a deed in lieu of foreclosure. The taxable income will be the difference between the property value and the balance of the mortgage loan on the date you surrender the property to the bank.
A foreclosure may result in cancellation of debt income depending on whether the bank pursues a deficiency judgment. If the mortgage lender gets a deficiency judgment for the difference between the property value on foreclosure sale date and the mortgage balance the lender is not forgiving any part of the loan. If the bank chooses not to pursue a deficiency judgment, or pursues the judgment unsuccessfully, the borrower may incur income tax liability for debt foregiveness.
In December, 2007, Congress acted to protect many debtors from income tax liability associated with foreclosure avoidance. The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act of 2007 states that homeowners will not be subject to income tax from release from mortgage liability if and to the extent the mortgage proceeds were used to buy or improve their primary residence. There is no income tax shelter from foregiveness of mortgage debts for investment property, vacation homes, or mortgages used for businesses or to pay off credit card balances. You should speak with an attorney or CPA familiier with the new law to see if you qualify for income tax protection.
For those borrowers who do not qualify for protection of the new Act there is an insolvency exception to imputed income from the cancellation of mortgage debt. If a borrower is financially insolvent when he surrenders the mortgaged property to the lender voluntarily or through foreclosure there will be no imputed income. A borrower who files bankruptcy is presumed to be insolvent, so that a bankruptcy debtor cannot suffer imputed income tax liability because the bankruptcy discharges personal liability under a mortgage note. More information is available from IRS Publication 908 and IRS tax form 982. Both forms can be found at irs.gov.”Comment by salinasron
“A borrower who files bankruptcy is presumed to be insolvent”
I was listening to a local talk radio program yesterday about RE. Apparently there is a form to file for insolvency on your taxes even if you don’t suffer BK. All you have to do is show that you had virtually no assets (meaningful) at the time of a short sale or letting your property go back to the bank. Any windfall of assets after that date but before filing taxes does not count against your filing.Comment by poormancometh
There has been much talk about the foreclosures on properties by politicians and media and how it would affect individual’s tax returns.
Shockingly, this point has been overblown and most situations will result in little additional taxes. A couple of points to consider in determining the tax affects of the transaction. These points focus on investment/rental properties, the forgiveness of debt by bank/assumption of debt by purchaser are a component of gross proceeds from a sale. In the determination of taxable gain, the proceeds from sale are compared to the basis in the property. This is the point most gloss over. The cost basis of the property, not the amount owed on the debt is basis. If someone buys rental/investment property then value (fmv) goes down and they walk away, a 1099C or 1099A would be issued by the bank depending on circumstances. In the majority of this situations, the loan balance before foreclosure or short sale is normally less than the “purchase price” (not the situation on personal homes with HELOC’s) so total proceeds seldom exceed the basis in the property.
If anyone has any questions about this, would be glad to try and answer them this morning. If someone has a specific question, post your email and I will shoot you an email. Free advice so take it for what it is worth.
In closing, the tax consequences of the foreclosure storm will be very little. Not something that makes me happy but it is what it is.Comment by DennisN
So basically my friend, who HELOC’ed his house to buy 5 pieces of commercial RE in LA back in 2007, is hosed. When he defaults on those underwater commercial RE holdings, he will be 1099′ed for the deficiencies, probably around $1 million total.Comment by aNYCdj
And that’s the way it should be…..primary residence only…I see a BK in your friend’s future.Comment by poormancometh
He would receive a 1099, but receiving the 1099 is sign the property(ies) have been foreclosed on. The amount of the forgiveness and what they took back in at would be the sales price and what he purchased it for less any depreciation expense taken would be his basis. Tax wise, he would probably have a loss.Comment by pismoclam
This is ALL BS! By not giving the dead beats a 1099 you and I are paying for the foreclosuree’s taxes. Especially if the debt is a result of a refi ! Nonsense. The new Obama bail out economics. Oh, I’ve got it. LET’S BLAME BUSH and swifty Paulson.Comment by CA renter Comment by ecofeco
Uh, no. The taxes are “written off.” Since the revenue did not exist in the first place due to insolvency, there is nothing that needs to be “made up for.”Comment by Muggy
You guys will love this: one of the schools I work at just hired a math teacher… who… was… a… Wall Street banker.Comment by Diogenes (Tampa, Fl)
this should immediately disqualify him to teach math, as he obviously could not understand that lending more than someone had the capacity to pay back would result in negative cash flows.
since he probably expected a government bailout, regardless of the math, he would be more qualified to teach political science or a humanities course.
nonetheless, it is refreshing to see that Wallstreet is offloading its surplus papershufflers.
Obviously not qualified to teach Plane Geometry. Derivatives perhaps?Comment by mikey
“You guys will love this: one of the schools I work at just hired a math teacher… who… was… a… Wall Street banker.”
I’d love to see the CURVE that he uses to grade the results of his math tests !!Comment by Diogenes (Tampa, Fl)
Mikey, I think that the Curve grading isn’t going to work here.
I envision something more like this:
“Class, little Johnny just got a 7 out of 20 on his latest exam. That will mean he will fail and most likely will not advance in this class.
We just can’t have that.
Suzie, you got 19 out of 20, so I am going to take away 5 from you, and Nancy you got 18 out of 20, so I am taking 4 from you. Everyone that got over 15 will have points deducted and given to Johnny.
This will boost Johnny’s score to 18 out of 20 and gives him an A-minus.”
Those of you who are tallying, will realize that I have taken more points than Johnny needs to pass, but I am putting those scores into a “pool of scores” for future test failures, because Johnny hasn’t been doing too well and may need additional point in the future.”
I realize that this reduces many A and B grades down to a C-overall, but that way everyone can get a passing grade.”
After all, we’re all in this together.
That’s the new education philosophy gone bankster.Comment by combotechie
Don’t stop there. Go to the classroom next door and confiscate some of their grades and distribute them about your own classroom.
If the grades next door are not high enough to fill your needs then you need to put pressure on them to study harder.Comment by mikey
Or you could use Scott Walker’s quick n’ dirty
Wisconsin New Math.
You merely fire the teachers and close the schools.
His New Math Principles will eliminate all that needless counting for the kiddies plus save lots of money for his friends tax breaks too.
Our Scotty is the regular Bertrand Russell of the GOP/teabaggers.Comment by CA renter Comment by mikey
Wow…now even the Wisconsin Supreme Court is at War…
Hello mikey here, gimmie DHS
“Prosser says he was goaded into insulting chief justice As the deeply divided state Supreme Court wrestled over whether to force one member off criminal cases last year, Justice David Prosser exploded at Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson behind closed doors, calling her a “bitch” and threatening to “destroy” her.”
Not nice to call the female Chief Justice of the Wisconsin Supremo Court a “total bitch” with RECALLS running all around and and your re-election coming up April 5th GOP Judgeman Mr.David Prosser. ”
…and “destroy her”? Ooooh you naughty, naughty man!Comment by Professor Bear
Are his students too big to fail?Comment by Dale
Someone had better monitor the kids lunch accounts very closely.Comment by Muggy
Lol, maybe we can HELOC the school and free up some equity.Comment by Hard Rain
The housing bust left many things in its wake, but some of the most troubling detritus are the “zombie” and obsolete subdivisions sprawled across peripheral areas - approved and platted, some partially built but most just lots, unimproved roads and the occasional lone lamppost - all over the country but particularly prevalent in the South and Intermountain West.
Many developers rushed for entitlements in the real estate run-up to 2007, said Jim Holway, executive director of Western Lands and Communities, a joint venture of the Sonoran Instituteand the Lincoln Institute, speaking on the panel “Reshaping Development Patterns” at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Charlotte. The planned developments are typically in far-flung locations, make it difficult for others to get permitting in better locations, and lock in water allocations. Much of the land wouldn’t be developed for 5 or 10 years under the best of circumstances, let alone amid the plummeting demand.
The zombie subdivisions “are never going to move,” said Kathy Rinaldi, county commissioner for Teton County, Idaho, where nearly 5,000 homes and lots lie fallow in over 36 approved, unbuilt, and incomplete subdivisions across thousands of acres of environmentally valuable land. Some developers are changing their schemes to create more density and open space, but others, including a development around a golf course where the topsoil has been scraped for fairways, simply hope and wait for the market to come back. In the meantime, property tax collections are down over 80 percent, there are $250 million in foreclosures in the works, and the local paper is thick with legal notices reflecting extensive litigation. The county would like to figure out how to “incentivize replatting,” Rinaldi said. Public sentiment generally favors respect for property rights, though some want to see the subdivision developers’ entitlements revoked.Comment by polly
I don’t understand what meaning of the word “disturbing” is being used here. Is it disturbing because any platted subdivision is supposed to turn into construction jobs, residents and property taxes in less than a year or two? Is is disturbing because of the drug users that might be attracted to the partially finished houses if any? Is is disturbing because the town thinks that it is wasn’t platted for residential they could get some huge office park to take over the space?
Oh, and the unused subdivisions are “expected” not disturbing. Inevitable at the end of a bubble when the item subject to bubble psychology takes a long time to make/build. This is even more true when the financing happens in stages.
Bad reporter. Use your words more carefully.Comment by Diogenes (Tampa, Fl)
Polly, i think the disturbing part was about mis-allocations of resources, in particular they mention water allocations. The West is suffering from depletion of the water table and they have complicated formulas in some areas to allow for usage of water.
Apparently, since these subdivisions were approved, they got all their allocations, which are not being used, and will not for decades.
the consequence is that other people who need access to water resources are denied. I think this is part of the “government-business” partnerships we hear so much about in political discussions.
The Soviet Union had government/industry relations working well, too.
Ironically, Las Vegas, a city in the middle of the desert, with thousands of vacant houses, has Casinos with water fountains and boats floating in made-made harbors, with water-misters spraying valuable and scarce water into the dry, hot, desert air. Is this mismanagement of resources? You bet it is. Money talks.
If it is a water allocation thing, I guess that actually makes some sense. I don’t know anything about western water allocation rules except to know that they are complex, arcane and involve lots of money.
If we go 10 or 20 years and are still in a situation where no one wants to build out the subdivision, the western states might actually have to reform water rights laws/regulations. Could be a good thing.Comment by Montana
We had a bunch of improved lots here, left over from the 1981 bust, that went undeveloped nearly 20 years, to the recent bubble before being built out. I used to drive up and park my car at lunch next to the old curbs and overgrown lots in 1989. Now it’s solid crapboxes.
They had a good run up to 2006, not sure how many improved lots are left behind this time.Comment by pismoclam
Mark Twain had it right. ‘Whisky’s for drinking and water for fightin’. First in right, first in time.Comment by Patrick
I don’t understand why the Western United States doesn’t just pipeline fresh water requirements in from Western Canada - the lines wouldn’t be much longer than five or six hundred miles.
If we can be the biggest supplier of oil to the USA certainly we should be able to export water as well.Comment by Dale
“I don’t understand why the Western United States doesn’t just pipeline fresh water requirements in from Western Canada…”
Because Canadians would rather let it run into the ocean than sell it.Comment by mikey
“Bad reporter. Use your words more carefully.”
Gimmie your Issue + Facts + Analysis = Conclusion.
Just your issue, facts, analysis and the conclusion Ma’am !!Comment by polly Comment by scdave
The solution to the sale of rural subdivisions are quite simple in most cases…Same can be said for houses…Some number between zero and ?? and they should sell assuming they are legally sale-able…Comment by Diogenes (Tampa, Fl)
Unrelated to housing, I couldn’t help but notice that the US is shooting missiles into Libya, with the approval of our “Nobel Peace Prize” President, who is now overseeing 3 wars (I mean conflicts), after promising from “day one” to close Guantanimo and focus on Jobs “like a laser”. It’s refreshing to see that there is no military intervention that the Peace President isn’t willing to interject US troops into. And, of course, I am sure we will get a Rose Garden photo op interview explaining how all this fits in well with the “stimulus” programs. Amazing. Just amazing.
And then he promptly took off for Brazil.
“When my baby,
When my baby smiles at me,
I go to Rio
I go wild and then
I have to do the samba,
And la bamba.”
“our “Nobel Peace Prize” President, who is now overseeing 3 wars (I mean conflicts)”
On a more serious note, the administration declared war, without the vote of Congress. But what can you expect of a marketing construct?Comment by Diogenes (Tampa, Fl)
ONLY the Congress has the authority to declare war. The President has no Constitutional authority to declare a war. He must go to Congress, and they must approve a “war”. If they approve a war, then the President becomes Commander-in-Chief to administer the war that Congress has declared.
If Obama has “declared war”, he is overstepping his “authority”, which is really no surprise, since he sees himself as Caesar.
I believe even Franklin Roosevelt, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor said that “a state of war existed” when giving his famous day of infamy speech.
But, of course, Obama is a “Constitutional expert” so I guess he can skip over the finer points of law.
If Obama has “declared war”, he is overstepping his “authority” ??
Me thinks that 100 Tomahawk missiles lobbed into a sovereign country would be a act of war…Another group of the “few” leading the attack…Comment by Diogenes (Tampa, Fl)
It is a fine line with these “police actions” and wars. As far as I know, a “declaration of war” must be declared by Congress.
I don’t believe We have not done so since Vietnam or Korea, but it is still Constitutionally mandated.
So, technically we are not at war, and though this action was unprovoked on the opposing side, since no US interests have been threatened, I guess we will be involved in a state of war until we push out the latest leader and find another one more like the ones we’ve supported in the past.
GHaddafy? Didn’t we support him when he promised to play nice?
Congress hasn’t declared war since WW2, and only five times in our history (WW1&2, War of 1812, Spanish-American War, and The Mexican-American War.)
It would probably freak people out if Congress actually declared war. We’re not used to that anymore.Comment by Blue Skye
Perhaps he had a phonecon with GS’ CEO and got the go-ahead. Congressional approval would then be assured.Comment by CoSpgs4
Perhaps Obama has an important golf date in Rio, and answering questions about bombing Libya would delay him unnecessarily.Comment by 2banana
Obama’s action in Libya have EVEN LESS legitimacy than Bush’s Iraq/Afghanistan.
At least Bush got authority from Congress and UN with a one year debate.
Obama only got it from UN and then rushed to war.Comment by Ben Jones
‘Bush got authority from Congress’
Congress voted that Bush could decide. They didn’t declare war. And hiding behind the UN petticoat is nothing more than getting around the US constitution.
Look, I sympathize with what the Libyans are going through. But I also sympathize with the people in Yemen, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine, or even Mexico. The question as I see it is, should the US congress be declaring war, or the executive? There was a reason this power wasn’t left in one persons hands, and we seem to have forgotten that.
Should the US be the worlds policeman? I want my representative in congress to vote on that point, each and every time it arises. And then be accountable to the voters. I ask this what accountability does Clinton now have for the Kosovo war, or the Iraq no-fly zone, or Bush for the Iraq invasion or Afghanistan?
The answer is, none. And if this thing goes wrong years down the road, Obama won’t be around to clean up the mess.Comment by Bad Chile
I’m glad you mentioned that, Ben. Sitting here in Jordan I’m getting an interesting perspective.
(Interesting side note: the hotel I’m staying in is playing host to its second large - 30+ - group of US Air Force Officers and Enlisted men in the past two weeks. Unfortuantely, they stand out like a sore thumb, being somewhat impolite to the staff, with no knowledge of Arabic and little regard for local culture. Painful. No idea what they’re doing here, but they’re obviously consulting at the embassy given the route their busses takes. Of course, it begs the question: isn’t varying your routine one of the mainstays of security?)
AlJazeera had an interesting piece on the Libya action, almost condemming the Arab League for their about face on the no-fly zone. The Arab League was the first multi-national organization to call for a no-fly zone, and now that there are obvious casualties, is having second thoughts. the AlJazeera reporter finished the report with the statement: “What did the Arab League think a no-fly zone entailed?”
Part of what bugs me is the arbitary nature of the Libya action. Jordan is relatively peaceful as of now, with minor protests. The Police seem detatched from it all, and in my daily interactions with locals the protests are the last thing on their mind. It will be interesting to see where this whole thing goes, but I don’t see how the Libyian situation will end well.Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
You’re in a “Kingdom” right, maybe that’s the
problem “idea” “some folks” have issue with these day.
Is England still a “Kingdom, or have they “changed a bit” over the centuries”?Comment by 2banana
Wow, now I understand the Left when they say we are creating more terrorists. Lets examine the facts.
1.Qaddafi poses no threat at all to the US or his neighbors.
2. Based on what I have read, he probably wasn’t going to be a threat to the US anytime in the future.
3. He is pragmatic. After Iraq, he didn’t want anything to do with the US anymore and started playing nice.
4. He has killed US Citizens before and has the means to do it again.
5. Now he and 80% of his country is our enemy when before they didn’t care.
Now I understand the point. The left always said that we were making more terrorists, but I never saw the connection.Comment by bill in Tampa
If it was McSame who ordered attacks on Libya, there would be rioting in America. Somehow it is okay for a black wealth redistributor to be a hawk, but not a former POW. I don’t get it. Maybe Meathead can explain this.Comment by mikey
“…a black wealth redistributor to be a hawk, but not a former POW. I don’t get it.”
Yeah Fair and Balanced Bill and I can see why you just “don’t get it”.
Oh, you forgot to add the key adjective in as ” a former WHITE POW.
Ooops…it was said in code, now I get it.Comment by Housing Wizard
Ben Jones …All your points have great merit . The thing I think about is the emergency of the situation . Could one say that it was the UN that declared War ,rather than the United States ? I know this is a off-beat point ,and might not hold any water at all .Does the Executive Branch have any powers when time is of the essence in emergency type situations in which time does not allow for normal procedure .I know I might be making excuses for Obama because he clearly seems to be doing unconstitutional things . I thought a President could declare War ,but only Congress could vote on the financing of it . This is such a ironic situation that the peace President ,can we just talk President ,is doing what he just did .They are dealing with a mad hatter nut cake over there ,but there are many of these situations taking place World wide . Are we the Policemen of the World ,as you said Ben Jones ,it’s the big question.
Similar concept to why Nixon could make inroads to Red China because his conservative Republican status put him above suspicion of being a communist sympathizer.Comment by Bill in Tampa
Very true PB. And don’t forget a Capitalist in rhetoric only, Nixon, unhooked the US dollar from gold. Something a democrat could never get away with since FDR’s gold robbery. I think the Bretton Woods deal was a far bigger crime than Watergate.Comment by Professor Bear
Good point. If you want to pinpoint a single development which best explains why the dollar has gone into a freefall against gold since 1965, this would be a good candidate.Comment by MightyMike
If it was McSame who ordered attacks on Libya, there would be rioting in America.
Well Bush started two wars and there was no rioting.
Some sort of mass activity by the population would actually be a good idea. However, people are two busy with more important activities, like playing with their new gadgets ot watching college basketball on TV.
There in one thing that I admire about those Tea Party people. They don’t sit in their houses and rail about the government. They actaully get out there and protest and demonstrate and organize.Comment by Bill in Carolina
“Well Bush started two wars and there was no rioting.”
Have there really ever been any anti-war riots? Or just anti-draft riots? They had those even back in the Civil War.Comment by RioAmericanInBrasil
Somehow it is okay for a black wealth redistributor to be a hawk,
Since 2008 the more wealth has been distributed to the wealthy.
Do you like sounding dumb?Comment by exeter
I didn’t hear any objection to the US death machine from you apologists when we obliterated Iraq and Afghanistan pre-2007. To the contrary you championed the death right up until the election. Now all of a sudden you have problem with it because another President is making the same evil mistake?
Normal people are either pro-life or they’re not. Who declares war only matters to you brain dead ideologues and you can’t even be honest about it.Comment by Blue Skye
Hard to cram everybody into that tiny pigeon hole.Comment by Housing Wizard
exeter ,I really don’t have a problem with it because I was seeing that mad hatter just kill those people who had no guns . I think it might be just a issue of the lessor of 2 evils to stop that killer . I don’t know what it’s going to set off in the future ,that’s the problem . I think a lot of people have mixed feeling about it .Comment by mikey
“Normal people are either pro-life or they’re not. Who declares war only matters to you brain dead ideologues and you can’t even be honest about it.”
The 1986 United States bombing of Libya, code-named Operation El Dorado Canyon.
“After several days of diplomatic talks with European and Arab partners, President Ronald Reagan ordered a strike on Libya on April 14. Eighteen F-111F strike aircraft of the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, flying from RAF Lakenheath supported by four EF-111A Ravens of the 20th Tactical Fighter Wing, from RAF Upper Heyford in England, in conjunction with fifteen A-6, A-7, F/A-18 attack aircraft and EA-6B Prowler Electronic Warfare Aircraft from the aircraft carriers USS Saratoga, USS America and USS Coral Sea on station in the Gulf of Sidra, struck five targets at 02:00 on April 15, with the stated objective that their destruction would send a message and reduce Libya’s ability to support and train terrorists. Reagan warned that “if necessary, [they] shall do it again.””Comment by Blue Skye
It was a blatant attempt to assasinate the Col, and to test out some new toys IR imaging pinpoint target seeking missles. The pics of the targets (nighttime) just before they were blown up were awsome. The intel on where the Col. was was pathetic.Comment by neuromance
“Experience keeps a dear school but fools will learn in no other.” - Ben Franklin.
We learned. Iraq was a mistake. And we needed to focus on Afghanistan from the outset, not have it be the sideshow.
But then, this? Is it “Fools never learn?”Comment by exeter
As a good attorney knows, It is the simple question that condemns the guilty.
When will we stop killing brown people in Iraq and Afghanistan?
ANSWER THE QUESTION MR. OBAMA.Comment by Professor Bear
If Megabank, Inc can succeed politically with Republican-led efforts to gut funding of federal government operations, perhaps they can protect themselves from the rule of law which menaces their outlaw activities.
FBI chief defends mortgage fraud efforts
* Geithner seeks swift foreclosure pact with banks Tue, Mar 15 2011
* Rajaratnam defense attacks star U.S. trial witness
Tue, Mar 15 2011
* Affairs, tapes, bonus spill into Rajaratnam trial
Mon, Mar 14 2011
* Renault says sorry to execs over false spy claims
Mon, Mar 14 2011
* Analysis: Mortgage settlement proposal likely doomed
Fri, Mar 11 2011
Analysis & Opinion
* U.S. budget cut seen threatening state, local financial crime-fighting
* Home market isn’t on rebound yet
Wed Mar 16, 2011 3:14pm EDT
* FBI director says 3,000 mortgage fraud cases pending
* More than 55 probes into subprime mortgage industry-FBI
By Jeremy Pelofsky
WASHINGTON, March 16 (Reuters) - FBI Director Robert Mueller defended on Wednesday the Obama administration’s efforts to prosecute Wall Street executives responsible for the U.S. mortgage meltdown amid criticism from some lawmakers that not enough has been done.
The agency has more than 3,000 open investigations into mortgage fraud alone, with 94 task forces and some 340 agents assigned, Mueller told the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee.
Michigan Representative John Conyers, the committee’s top Democrat, questioned whether the FBI was responsible for the lack of prosecutions related to financial and mortgage fraud and if anyone has been held responsible for the meltdown.
“I would have to strongly disagree with that portrayal of our efforts,” Mueller said. “We have had takedowns about every six months, persons arrested for mortgage fraud, securities fraud, corporate fraud. There are ongoing trials in that arena.”
‘The agency has more than 3,000 open investigations into mortgage fraud alone, with 94 task forces and some 340 agents assigned’
I recently watched Client 9: The rise and fall of Eliot Spitzer
The show was a sly attempt at rehabilitating Spitzers reputation, and he comes across as over-ambitious and kind of a jerk, personally. But it was interesting that he was able to shake up wall street with a fraction of the resources the FBI has. And the manner that he was brought down looks to me like the PTB protecting their own.
I’m guessing that his wall street enemies did interviews on the program because they didn’t realize how the theme would play out. Their arrogance and indignation at being pursued were on display. Beyond all that, I came away with the notion that prosecuting these higher ups only takes the will to do so.Comment by Blue Skye
My impression of the spitzer takedown was that it was only a warning, a show of what was easy with an implication of what was possible. FBI massed to catch Spitzer in a Clinton moment, and no attention to the Wall St antics he was uncovering? Right.Comment by Professor Bear Comment by wmbz
MARCH 19, 2011
OBAMA: ‘Today we are part of a broad coalition. We are answering the calls of a threatened people. And we are acting in the interests of the United States and the world’…
MARCH 19, 2003
BUSH: ‘American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger’…
always in the name of democracy.The oil has to be protected.Comment by edgewaterjohn
There’s another angle to this particular action, the Euros and their concern over instability in North Africa leading to a deluge of sub-Saharan “visitors”. It was good to see this issue brought up on Meet the Press this morning, it is getting mention and role of Europe and European companies in this should be examined.
Those Euros, so progressive, so enlightened, but have they managed to lure America into another one of their messes?Comment by palmetto
+1, Edge. But the Euros supported Gaddafi precisely because he kept the sub-Saharan hordes at bay. I guess now that he’s not doing such a good job of it, he’s gotta go.Comment by Montana
Sub-saharan? I think in Europe, Saharan peoples are the problemComment by Diogenes (Tampa, Fl)
Now, let’s see how the rest of this plays out. Will we have daily coverage on all the networks talking about how reckless this is?
Where is the exit strategy?
How will we know when victory is achieved?
What is the plan to end the conflict?
How many soldiers have died?
How could the President get us involved in such a reckless war, with no end in sight? What will be the costs? What’s the exit strategy??
I don’t think so.
We’ll just get a play-by-play as the days unfold, because, after all, it’s “their guy” who’s sending in the troops and we NEED to SUPPORT our PRESIDENT.
‘it’s “their guy” who’s sending in the troops’
Were you asking these questions when the last president invaded two countries? Did the republicans question the nature of those wars? Both parties have walked all over the constitution in matters of war for decades now. To the point that now the executive branch can imprison and/or execute anyone he wants in the name of some vague, never ending war.
There is always some terrible group or person out there that needs to be taken out. For example, the 32 year dictator of Yemen is killing scores of protesters every day. Check out the recent videos of Bahrain’s “security” forces repeatedly running over corpses of protester’s and doing drive by shootings. Do you see that on the MSM?
As for Libya, when this all started, one of the first things announced was a UN halt to arm sales. Who the hell was selling arms to this nut-job? (Here’s a hint it wasn’t the Arabs). Can’t we see the hypocrisy of this situation, when the big powers jumped to get into oil deals with Libya a few years back?
We never learn from these things. We watch our “leaders” boast of morality and just violence when it suits them, ignoring their culpability.Comment by Diogenes (Tampa, Fl)
Ben, I agree we have a problem with both parties and an over-extension of military overtures. I didn’t need to ask these questions when the previous administration was making moves.
The “main-stream media” was doing it. I was simply parroting all the things that were “news” under the prior Republican Adminstrations.
When CLinton went into Kosovo, it was for “humanitarian” reasons and we bombed a lot of innocent people and did a lot of damage. Again, I don’t think the reactions were as strong as when Bush went into Iraq.
Daily, we heard those questions I wrote.
Now, let’s see if we get the same questions asked under Obama.
I seriously doubt it.
His intentions are noble they will say, and Bush just wanted the oil-money that Cheney was going to get for him and his buddies.
It’s all slanted “journalism”.
It’s like comparing FOX to NPR.
I think Dio’s point is well taken, Ben. Where’s all the outcry about Obama? What will the defense of Obama be? That Bush did it, too? That Big Oil companies are hypocrites so, therefore, it’s okay for Obama to behave similarly?
Are you going to post this comment, or shun it like 1/2 of the other posts I submit?
Funny how some people here can post limitless derogatory posts while others’ posts are censored.Comment by Ben Jones
‘I didn’t need to ask these questions when the previous administration was making moves…The “main-stream media” was doing it’
It doesn’t matter who speaks up, the executive branch does what it wants anyway. IMO, what should concern us immediately is that our military was sent into action with no vote in congress. Sometimes it’s justified by a UN resolution, or humanitarian concerns. But let’s take this case hasn’t this been going on for weeks? Couldn’t congress have considered the matter and voted? What’s at stake is the very checks and balances of the constitution in a very serious use of state power.
The longer term concern is the blindness to consequences of intervention. Recall the oppression of the Kurds by Iraq. And the phony testimony of the Kuwait girl about babies being killed. The US invaded, and then we got a 10 year no fly zone, with an embargo that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents. Then the US invaded again, and we’re there today. At each step our leaders spoke about the morality involved, the national interests.
After well over a trillion dollars spent, so many dead and wounded, I can’t help but remember one thing the CIA put Hussein in power in the first place!Comment by scdave Comment by Ben Jones
‘Are you going to post this comment, or shun it’
If some of your posts don’t show up, they weren’t shunned, they were deleted. If I’m deleting your posts, I have my reasons, and you should consider then what it is, and the tone, of what you are posting.Comment by mikey
“If some of your posts don’t show up, they weren’t shunned, they were deleted. If I’m deleting your posts, I have my reasons, and you should consider then what it is, and the tone, of what you are posting.”
You should be very grateful that only 0.0162% of my insane rants manage to sneak under the AZ Purple Haze Filtration Curtain of Doom.Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
Ike & Carter tried to warn us…
The 120 year story between National “Easy Energy Extraction/Consumption” & World Population Demands.
Britain hopes Libya operation command will shift to NATO:
Mar 20, 2011
London - Britain’s defence minister said Sunday he hoped the command of the military operation in Libya to enforce a no-fly zone and protect civilians would be taken over by NATO ‘within the next few days.’
NATO members were meeting in Brussels on Sunday to discuss whether the military alliance should take a formal role in the campaign and the logistics of the operation - which was approved by the United Nations last week.
‘I hope that we will now fold into NATO command and control, but it’s not a NATO mission,’ Defence Minister Liam Fox told the BBC. ‘It is still a UN coalition of the willing nations who want to defend the Libyan people, but we will co-ordinate it hopefully through the command and control structures that NATO already has.’
$700 Billion …per year,… to keep exactly who from landing on the beaches in Miami with an organized military assault?
Who “controls” the “extracted storage” of Oil?
It’s name has been mentioned many, many times in various monikers on this HBBlog.
How is that the Chinese are able to get the “black-goo” they need for 1 Billion, 370 Million soon-to-b-non-moped-riders without a global military presence?Comment by Housing Wizard
Everybody wants the oil
Everybody isn’t very loyal
Everybody faking it out
Everybody looking for clout
Everybody willing to kill for oil
Everybody not wanting to toil
Everybody wants the oil in the corals
Everybody wanting to change their morals
The CIA also boosted the Taliban from an obscure, powerless sect harassing the Russians, to a serious guerrilla army.Comment by SaladSD
I keep hearing that song “from the shores of Tripoli…” and tried to research our military history toward the region, which goes back to at least WWI. Very confusing– the Italians, the British, the French all had interests in Libya and Egypt over the past 100 years. Oil makes for very toxic bedfellows.Comment by alpha-sloth
This will be at least our fourth undeclared act of war against the Barbary pirates. (Reagan’s bombing, the two Barbary Wars, there are probably others…)
Given the small population of Libya, clustered as it is along the coastline, this will be a turkey-shoot for our military, especially the navy, who could pretty much enforce the no-fly zone from offshore, as soon as we take out their air defense systems.
Libya damn sure ain’t no Afghanistan or Iraq. It’s more of a Grenada or Panama.Comment by ecofeco
That reference in the Marine hymn refers to the Battle of Derne.
The Battle of Derne was a decisive victory of a mercenary army led by a detachment of United States Marines and soldiers over pirate forces along the Barbary coast nation of Tripoli during the First Barbary War (1805). It was the first recorded land battle of the United States fought overseas.
W was a stooge just as O is a stooge.Comment by Bill in Tampa
Which one? I say Bush is Moe, while Big O is Curly!Comment by X-GSfixr
We haven’t imposed a “no fly zone” over Mexico, even though the total number of deaths in Mexico is a lot higher. Not to mention the fact that we share a border, and currently have a de facto “refugee crisis”.
Looks to me that if we HAD to intervene ANYWHERE, it would be Mexico. If nothing else, the logistics would be easier. Instead, we seem to be intervening into a country halfway around the world, that is no threat to the USA. Or at least no worse than Iran or Saudi Arabia.
Note that nobody is pushing for intervention in Saudi Arabia or Bahrain.
Good thing the numbnutz running things now weren’t around during WWII. If they were, we would have retaliated for Pearl Harbor by declaring war on Bulgaria.
Obviously, us unsophisticated peons must not understand the big picture.Comment by Ben Jones
‘even though the total number of deaths in Mexico is a lot higher’
34,000 drug related deaths since 2006. And counting. We’re talking gangland stuff done to terrify police and the population, with much of it so grisly US media won’t dare show it. It could be argued that Mexico is a failed state. And in the past, when people protested, the govt shot them.
I am not advocating intervening in Mexico or anywhere else. But I agree that if you follow the reasoning of those who do want to jump into this mess or that, Mexico would be higher on the list than any place we have troops today.
There isn’t any end to military actions we could rationalize our way into. But IMO, we would be better off if we took care of our problems and didn’t meddle around the world.Comment by Bill in Tampa
I agree with you Ben, and X-GSfixr. The US Government is probably considered “the Lord,” because “the Lord works in mysterious ways” - I love that phrase that Bible thumpers always used when confronted with logic that contradicts the flying spaghetti monster!
I’m not advocating intervention in Mexico either. What I’d prefer to see is M-1s and Bradleys lined up track-to-track from San Diego to the Gulf of Mexico, and let the Mexicans fix their own problems. Without exporting them to us.
This means making the Mexican PTB deal with the rabble, instead of making them our problem, and without giving them a free pass into the USA Safe Haven when the rabble gets tired of hearing “let them eat cake.”
If that were to happen, it might upset a few NAFTA apple carts. I personally don’t see that as being a problem.Comment by X-GSfixr
Part of the problem is that “war” has become too nice a job. Our expenditures to minimize casualties (on both sides, with precision weapons) makes the decision for the PTB “painless”. So, we forget what we were told about “foreign entanglements” an stick our nose into everyone else’s business.
We forget that a lot of our forefathers came to America to get away from all the crazy azz people back in the “old country”.
Don’t have time to research it, but I’m betting that statistically, you are safer being an average soldier in Afghanistan than you are, say, the typical convenience store clerk.
I remember seeing rates of 300+ KIA a week on the news during 1967-68. We lost something like 50K KIA in Korea in something like 3 years, most of those during the first 18 month of combat.
And everyone forgets how the home front became less enthusiastic about WWII, when we got into major ground combat in Europe and started taking islands in the Pacific, rather than bypassing them, in mid/late 1944-1945.
If we had seen KIA numbers even half that seen in Vietnam in 2004-2005, we’d have GTFOOD a long time ago.
Of course, some FauxNews/Beck worshipper will say this means I advocate higher KIA numbers.Comment by Montana
if you follow the reasoning of those who do want to jump into this mess or that,
So much of it was just political taunting, turnabout-is-fair-play crap. I dumped on my side for whining that Obama wasn’t “doing” anything, I mean what’s wrong with that. I am so tired of the game. It was similar taunting that got us into Viet Nam.
And everyone forgets how the home front became less enthusiastic about WWII,
Can you imagine how the homefront would have reacted had they known the true casualties? Lots of govt secrecy then.Comment by alpha-sloth
Well, there are many, many people in Libya begging us for military assistance, who will be killed if we don’t provide it. I don’t see a similar sentiment nor situation in Mexico. It’s ugly down there, but they seem to want to settle it themselves and not drag us into it. And there’s no one about to be destroyed that we could effectively save- the violence is random and unpredicatble, not a line of tanks heading towards lightly armed freedom fighters.
They could censor the “military news”, like ships lost, squadrons of B-17s with no fighter escort wiped out over Europe…….and a lot of these guys were considered “MIA” until after the war.
Harder to hide/ignore all those telegrams when the number being sent out goes up by a factor of about 10.
A stat I came across a few years back…….general rule of thumb when taking Japanese held territory was to assume one US casualty for every Japanese soldier on the island….. 1/3 of those casualties would be KIA.Comment by 2banana
Obama’s action in Libya have EVEN LESS legitimacy than Bush’s Iraq/Afghanistan.
At least Bush got authority from Congress and UN with a one year debate.
Obama only got it from UN and then rushed to warComment by In Colorado
I love it when people argue over who is more legit: Tweedle Dee or Tweedle Dum.Comment by GH
Oh come on… Give the man a Nobel Peace prize. Can’t we all just get alongComment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
Libya = Iraq… tain’t necessarily gonna be the same “Sit-u-ation” (H’smhO)
US Named Dead 4,282
US Reported Dead 5
US Wounded 30,182
Was the behavior merely shabby, or was it actually illegal? Hopefully those who work inside the Beltway realize there is a difference. Lots of these charges sound to me like illegal financial fraud (especially encouraging debtors to stop making payments, then foreclosing on them because they stopped making payments), but I don’t claim to be an expert on what kinds of financial fraud are legal and what kinds are not.
Lots of these charges sound to me like illegal financial fraud (especially encouraging debtors to stop making payments, then foreclosing on them because they stopped making payments), but I don’t claim to be an expert on what kinds of financial fraud are legal and what kinds are not.
When you take out a home mortgage, do you expect to be treated fairly and competently by your bank or loan servicer?
Most likely you do. But the widely publicized “robo-signing” and foreclosure scandals suggest that for thousands of homeowners, fair dealing and competence have not been routinely available at some of the largest mortgage servicing operations in the country.
According to witnesses at recent congressional hearings:
* Borrowers with on-time payment histories who sought loan modifications frequently were told they needed to stop payments for two to three months before they would be eligible to even discuss possible changes to their loan terms. When they applied for modifications, they were sent foreclosure notices because they were in default.
* Major lenders and servicers often put borrowers on a “dual track” system — negotiating loan modifications and trial payment plans under federal programs while simultaneously initiating foreclosure procedures.
I think virtually nothing the big insiders do in DC can be construed as illegal.
After all, they (via their lobbyists) write the rules.Comment by Professor Bear
See my post below on the article “The Rule of Law or the Rule of Central Bankers?” by Lawrence H. White, in the Cato Journal.Comment by salinasron
Had to go to a dinner last evening with my wife. She intro’d me to a banker (small/local) and it didn’t take long to turn the topic to the current state of affairs (housing/banking).
One thing of interest to me was FDIC insurance. Banks and thrifts must pay premiums for FDIC insurance coverage, and their monies collected by the agency are invested in Treasury Department securities. The combination of mandatory premium payments and profits earned on the securities investments goes into the FDIC insurance fund. However, according to my source the banks only pay premiums on domestic accounts which for small banks is 100%. BofA on the other hand supposedly only holds about 27% domestic accounts and only pays premiums on those accounts and thus has a hugh liability hanging on the remaining balances if this too-big-to-fail bank were to go under. This one bank failure to virtually wipe out FDIC.
Are non-citizens/residents accounts protected by FDIC?Comment by Housing Wizard
They need to collect more for FDIC . I’m getting sick and tired of this illusion of protection that the financial industry gives off when the small prints has loopholes . Look at how AIG made Credit Default bets without reserves to back it . Why should they allow a Insurance Co. to operate
in this manner .
The whole financial industry is the Masters of Illusion with no actual
substance . It’s this World of form over substance that I’m deploring
these days .
‘The lender that financed Orange County Choppers’ new headquarters in the Town of Newburgh has filed a foreclosure action against the builder of custom motorcycles, alleging that it missed its July mortgage payments…The Choppers stopped making mortgage payments in order to put pressure on the lender to modify the terms of the loans, according to Choppers’ lawyer Richard Mahon. Mahon said that when the headquarters was built in 2007, it was valued at about $12 million. Because of the economic downturn, the building is now worth between $7 million and $8 million, he estimated.’
‘He also said that it would be wrong to assume that Paul Teutul Sr. is broke because of his company’s failure to pay. “Orange County Choppers and Paul have substantial assets,” he said.’
Was it jr’s building? I know the son and dad are now battleing it out.Dont really watch the show but they build nice bikes.Comment by combotechie
“I know the son and dad are now battling it out.”
You “know” they are battling it out because the show needs drama and father and son battling it out on TV is drama.
In Hollywood nothing can be counted on as being real.Comment by Diogenes (Tampa, Fl)
Once again, real estate is “special”. If the shoe was on the other foot, and Mr. Teutul had sold one of his grossly overpriced motorcycles to a customer on a payment plan, I would bet he would be raving mad when the monthly payment did not arrive and would be at the buyers house the next day with a tow truck.
You “bought” it, Paul. Just because you haven’t finished the payments, you think you can make the bank pick up the difference between what you owe and the “current market value” by some extortion scheme. Why should the bank be the loser?
Make mental note: Cut off all purchases from Orange County Choppers.
oh, that’s right, i’m still riding my honda. damn.
“He also said that it would be wrong to assume that Paul Teutul Sr. is broke because of his company’s failure to pay.”
Huh? This is the lawyer’s strategy: yes, they are rich as hell, but they just don’t feel like paying. Anyway, let’s talk about modifying that loan.Comment by exeter
Have any of you ever been to Newburgh, NY? It’s a smoldering shell of poverty that looks like a post-riot inner city. I can’t imagine the entire city worth $12 million. It’s laughable.Comment by Professor Bear
SAN ONOFRE: Nuke plant re-licensing under spotlight
Some lawmakers raise new questions after of Japan disaster
By PAUL SISSON
North County Times - The Californian
Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2011 7:12 pm
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station’s plan to extend its operating license to keep the plant running past 2022 could face new hurdles in light of the unfolding nuclear crisis in Japan.
To get the license extension, plant owner Southern California Edison needs approval from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, as well as various permits and approvals from state agencies such as the California Coastal Commission and Public Utilities Commission.
According to the NRC, nuclear plants must undergo a rigorous 22-month process, which includes new studies aimed at making sure the plant’s materials and procedures are robust enough to continue operating for an additional 20 years.
Both of San Onofre’s reactors started generating electricity in 1982.
There has been no decision to halt or modify the extension process, NRC spokeswoman Lara Uselding said Friday.
“Right now, the chairman has said we are continuing with these reviews,” Uselding wrote in an e-mail response, referring to NRC chief Gregory Jaszko.
These days, for some reason, my desire to move to Big Sur has lessened. I am reminded that the Diablo Canyon Nuke plant is on an earthquake fault. If I am not mistaken the same about San Onofre.
The safest nuke seems to be Ranch Seco near Sacramento. The California farm belt is notorious for it’s lack of severe earthquakes. Coalinga is in the western part, and can be considered part of coastal.Comment by cactus
Coalinga is that on the San Andres fault ?
The western part of the central Valley is the dryer side I think? I look down on it when flying from Burbank to San Jose and it looks pretty sparse. Don’t think I’ve ever explored that part of CA
Diablo Canyon Nuke plant is at least near a fault line.Comment by Bill in Tampa
I think Coalinga is not on the fault, but on a spur fault from the San Andreas.
Yes, I drove on I-5 a few times from Kettleman City to San Jose. Almost everyone goes ten or fifteen miles per hour above the speed limit on that section of I-5. It’s a higher speed limit than old 99 through Fresno. You see nothing but hoed-down dirt for dozens of miles (I can add a joke about ho’s here, but will let someone else). But sometimes it’s neat being out there after an early spring rainstorm and you see breaks in the clouds and can even see the Sierra Nevada 14,000 foot peaks 100 miles to the east.
Even in the 1980s back in my 20s though, driving between Bakersfield and Fresno, I would get so drowsy that I’d have to slap myself to keep awake. The scenery of crops is very boring. Somehow heading through the Lake Isabella area or the Tehachapi pass, I would get wide awake. Curvy roads I suppose?Comment by GH
Nuclear technology has come a LONG way since San Onofre was built. My guess is that San Onofre is about as safe as the Japanese nuke plants and basically the same water cooled technology.
I am not opposed to nuclear power based on the new technology, but the older plants are probably not safe in a very large quake such as that which hit Japan recently.Comment by Professor Bear
Luckily, since the SoCal coast is not a subduction zone, we are not likely to see a magnitude 9.0 quake in San Diego County over the next few million years.Comment by Professor Bear
Japan’s crisis and the U.S. energy future
Saturday, March 19, 2011 at midnight
What’s happening in Japan is a tragedy (“Japan nuclear crisis worsens,” March 17), and the consequences are terrible.
At the same time, the nuclear industry is being used as the whipping boy. The media, with their insatiable appetite for finding the worst in every story, are attacking one of the proven best sources of electrical power.
In the U.S. over about 50 years, there has been one serious accident with a release of nuclear fallout. How many serious oil-refinery fires and other failures have occurred during that same period?
one of the proven most dangerous sources of electrical power….
I have personally fought a major refinery fire. There is no hundred year or hundred mile aspect to it.Comment by bill in Tampa
Agreed. Somehow I think the Palo Verde nuclear plants around Tonopah are less risky of an earthquake-caused meltdown than the California coastal nukes.
Arizona’s energy systems are in far better shape than California’s, by virtue of the environmentalists only recently infecting Arizona.Comment by Housing Wizard
I’m wanting more back up systems to deal with Fall out ,however costly they are . I’m not feeling as comfortable with nuclear as I did in the past . I”m not even trusting what the authority figures say . There was one time in the 50’s where they were doing nuclear tests and just throwing it out into the environment to see what would happen (they try to cover this up ). People can be blinded by necessity or greed,such as in warfare ,or cost cutting in business that poses
Yeah I understand what you mean. Also the LSD tests the Army did on black men in the 1950s. Seriously I don’t think that was made up, so I don’t have any Pollyanish trust of Uncle Sam either. Or the little minions, which are state governmentsComment by arizonadude
These are desperate times:Comment by Professor Bear
Is Suzanne the bikini-clad babe tied down to the chair?Comment by Professor Bear
Does the huge black title cloud provide adequate cover for squatters who stopped paying their mortgages to live rent-free forever?
Why the Foreclosure Mess Settlement Proposal Can’t Fix the Damage
By ABIGAIL FIELD
Posted 6:00 PM 03/18/11
Ever since this fall, when the mortgage industry’s robo-signing scandal first broke, people have been aware that banks have been illegally foreclosing on homes.
Now there’s a huge fight over what to do about that, mostly focused on a 27-page proposal that was supposed to represent the consensus of the 50 state attorneys general, but apparently doesn’t. On top of that effort came a report of a “shock and awe” modification push from the federal government, but as Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism details, it’s neither good policy nor practical.
One feature of both the attorneys general’s proposal and the “shock and awe” maneuver is speed.
The attorneys general are in such a hurry to find a solution that they haven’t even investigated the banks: They’re just relying on consumer complaints to define the problem. Similarly, the shock-and-awe plan involves an impossible six month deadline. As Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner explained to Congress: “All parties have a stake in bringing this to resolution as quickly as possible” and “It’s very important that we try to bring this to bed as quickly as we can.”
At least part of this desire for a fast fix is rooted in the belief that an agreement will help the housing market recover, which in turn will help straighten out the overall economy. That’s true to some extent: If millions of mortgages were successfully modified and unnecessary and servicer-driven foreclosures were halted, as the settlement proposes, that would be good for the economy and the real estate market.
The Enormous Clouded Title Problem
But the settlement doesn’t go nearly far enough to save the housing market. In fact, it can’t go far enough, because it can’t address one of the most confounding problems the banks have created: the millions of properties nationwide that now have “clouded” titles.
To put it plainly: Because of these bad titles, property owners can’t prove they own the properties they think they bought, and banks can’t prove they had the right to sell them.
Even though it’s impossible to know how many properties are affected, I have confidence in saying millions nationally for the following reasons:
* More than 1 million foreclosures have been completed since 2005 nearly 200,000 were completed in the third quarter of 2010 alone.
* Foreclosures involving securitized mortgages seem to be flawed as a rule, not the exception.
* Even when foreclosures may have been otherwise valid, the practices of foreclosure attorneys have clouded titles.
* The problems are ongoing. More flawed foreclosures are completed every day.
* The clouded title problem extends well beyond foreclosures. Both MERS, the electronic database that holds more than half the mortgages nationally, and possible securitization failures could have damaged the titles of the properties even though the borrowers are current on their mortgages.
All parties have a stake in bringing this to resolution as quickly as possible” and “It’s very important that we try to bring this to bed as quickly as we can.”
I had to read it 3 times.
Is the Treasury Secretary mixing business with pleasure? Or is he fixated on some hot chick he just met during a recent trip?
Bring this to bed as quickly as we can.
resolution as quickly as possible.
Pleeze, mr. secretary!!
“…try to bring this to bed as quickly as we can.”
It seems entirely plausible that behind the propaganda smoke screen of an urgent need to get the housing market back on its feet as quickly as possible, the real concern is to cover up Wall Street crimes.Comment by Housing Wizard
Quick ,quick ,FIRE ,FIRE ,put out the flame ,give me 700 billion ,I need a big gun and a fire hose ……no moral hazard here …….
Good Bank /Bad Bank, lets bail out the Bad Bank …..no time for Justice .
When in danger
or in doubt
Run in circles
Scream and shout!
Bofa says it was the robo-signing issue review from last fall that prompted them to rescind 1000s of scheduled non-judicial auctions suddenly in March, in OR. Our March Trustee Sale simply went missing one day there have been no communications from the bank regarding what to expect, yet. These scheduled sales simply vanished into the ether searching for my wife’s TS# now yields nothing.
Coincidentally, 5 OR judges ruled in March that MERS related transfers of note that occurred, since they avoided local municipal transfer fees, preclude the foreclosing authority from executing a non-judicial foreclosure. So thousands of deadbeats like us continue to dangle in the wind awaiting bank action.
Sweep, sweep, sweep, and under the rug she goes.
Coincidental, my arse. You gotta believe that they are lying regarding this(why the sudden recision of homes otherwise going to auction and then back to bank. Who would pay 304k at the courthouse steps for a home that you can pick up for 200k from well heeled owners wanting out or from the bank?). Bank of Amerika must not want too much attention called to this little MERS issue it could apply to the right-to-foreclose by agencies like Recontrust(actually BofA subsidiary one of its tentacles paralyzed in OR for the time being) not only in Oregon but also in any other non-judicial state.
We will continue the judge-imposed legally-sanctioned vacation we have been ready to leave since November BTW. Just waiting for the foreclosure action on our property. Not valiently trying to save anything seems fair that we did not pay so we must go. The question in when and how wife’s unit will be processed. Will it be judicial foreclosure or will foreclosing rights by Recontrust be re-established, overruling these judges decisions? Since her condo was supposed to be auctioned in November the extra time seems like free money.Comment by Professor Bear
“Sweep, sweep, sweep, and under the rug she goes.”
Nothing new here. Megabank, Inc has already hidden the shadow inventory elephant under the living room rug for half a decade and counting.
In the near future I can see a for sale ad listing “Clear Title!” as a feature, the way they might have listed “Waterfront” or “golf course lot” in the past.Comment by ecofeco
I’d say you are probably right.Comment by Montana
So hasn’t anyone drafted some kind of workaround for this yet? Look for the banksters to squash 10,000 county clerks to rectify this. Then blowback in SCOTUS. Oh I can’t wait.Comment by alpha-sloth Comment by Professor Bear
With rising commodity prices, farmland has become a hot commodity itself. Farmland values have doubled in the past decade, reaching a national average of $2,140 an acre in 2010.
Farmland values in areas of Illinois jumped more than 20 percent last year, according to a new report. Farmland increases of 14 to 18 percent were reported from 2009 to 2010 across parts of northern Illinois, while the central part of the state saw increases in values between 10 percent to 22 percent, according to a new report by the Illinois Society of Professional Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. The increasing value on farmland is expected to continue throughout the year.
“Illinois farmland values were driven higher by increasing expectations of farm income as the 2010 year progressed and commodity prices increased,” says Don McCabe of Soy Capital Agricultural Services.
Good…I am happy for the farmers….So, I guess its times to eliminate all subsidies…Comment by Hwy50ina49Dodge
Reemembers when eyes asked ya Mr. Bear what was gonna be the next “method” for millions of folks to get financial distributions of $50,000+ / $100,000+ / $175,000+ / $250,000+ ?
re loans had quite the “distribution” “coverage” in the US of A for a while,…didn’t it?
Farmland & “reverse mortgages”?
Seems, the “Financial Vector Effect” is running out of “flesh & blood” to spread their in-curable disease: debtComment by X-GSfixr
The good thing is, farmers have a long, sad history of being fooked over by banksters.
That, and they don’t get cable TV, so they haven’t been brainwashed by the MSM.Comment by cactus
And last time farm land busted Willie nelson sang songs to help indebted farmers.
Money seems to just flow around causing this boom, that bust , another boom, etc.
Some folks are getting rich. I know who’s getting poorer.Comment by combotechie
“Money seems to just flow around causing this boom, that bust, another boom, etc.”
“Some folks are getting rich. I know who’s getting poorer.”
So do I: They are the folks who don’t understand the first line of what you wrote above.
If there is money made available to drive a boom then you will have a boom. If the money for the boom dries up then you will have a bust.
It is really not all that complicated.Comment by alpha-sloth
Timing it is the hard part. The market can remain irrational for a long, long time.Comment by jeff saturday
5 housing trends in early 2011
By Marcie Geffner • Bankrate.com
Selling a home will be a challenge due in part to a dearth of qualified buyers and the huge “shadow inventory” of homes that are stuck in the foreclosure process, but not yet on the market. If those dynamics and high rates of unemployment persist, so will the downward pressure on home prices.
Lower prices may attract more buyers, but many of them won’t be able to qualify for a home loan. Lower prices could also increase the supply of for-sale homes if more owners walk away from their mortgages.
“I don’t see any positives” for home sellers, O’Toole says.Comment by Professor Bear
Here is a positive for sellers: By slowing the pace of foreclosures, the robo-signing scandal has reduced the rate of housing price declines, giving FBs more time to clear the decks before the point of no return when the housing bubble enters its final death throws, driving prices to lower-than-expected levels which nobody could have seen coming.Comment by SaladSD
The next edition of the DSM (The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) should include a diagnosis for “dream house” psychosis. Here’s a case study:Comment by Professor Bear
A shift in demand towards lower-quality housing and away from upscale housing should ideally be reflected as deflation, as consumers are choosing to substitute less desirable (more affordable) housing for more desirable (less affordable) housing in their household expenditures. To the extent this shows up in official statistics as inflation is a reflection of the inability of price indexes in use to properly reflect housing costs (e.g. a shift in relative prices of rentals compared to more expensive owner-occupied housing).
Not all real estate is in the dumps.
Housing data due this week aren’t likely to be encouraging. Figures Monday are expected to show sales of existing homes fell nearly 4% in February from January. On Tuesday, the government’s index of home prices is forecast to register its seventh drop in eight months. And on Wednesday, economists anticipate new home sales in February will post a monthly increase of about 2% monthly increase, which will do little to dent January’s nearly 13% decline.
Partly because of this, the rental market is heating up. Average U.S. apartment vacancy rates dropped to 6.6% last year from 8%, according to property-research firm Reis, while rents rose 2.3%. This has developers salivating over the potential for a multiyear rental boom. After all, the glut of foreclosed, single-family homes so far isn’t proving much competition. Occupied apartments rose by about 58,000 in the fourth quarter, the biggest increase for that period in 10 years, according to Reis.
It is “very good to be in the apartment business today,” David Neithercut, chief executive of Equity Residential, the biggest public U.S. real-estate investment trust, remarked at a recent conference. Population growth, a gradual firming of the labor market and a drop in the U.S. homeownership rate to 65% from its near-70% peak could generate about 4.5 million new renter households over the next five years, according to Greenstreet Advisors.
That level of demand “will far outstrip supply” through 2015, Greenstreet reckons, given the relatively low level of multifamily homebuilding in recent years. No wonder developers are itching to get in on the action. A multifamily production index from the National Association of Home Builders to track developer sentiment jumped to 40.8 in the fourth quarter, its highest reading since 2006.
It’s not all wine and roses, though. Because real-estate construction is a relatively small part of the U.S. economy now and the single-family market remains depressed, the rental boom isn’t likely to boost overall economic growth. And increased rental activity may increase inflation. Shelter accounts for nearly a third of the consumer-price index.
* THE WEEKEND INTERVIEW
* MARCH 19, 2011
Mega-Banks and the Next Financial Crisis
Hedge-fund manager Paul Singer recognized the risks of subprime mortgages and bet against them. Now he warns that monetary policy could cripple American banks again.
By JAMES FREEMAN
At the height of the housing bubble, hedge-fund manager Paul Singer was shorting subprime mortgages. By the spring of 2007, he was warning regulators on both sides of the Atlantic that the world was facing a major financial crisis.
They ignored him. Now the founder of Elliott Management says the biggest banks are headed for another credit meltdown. Among the likely triggers for the next crisis, Mr. Singer sees one leading candidate: Monetary policy “is extremely risky,” he says, “the risk being massive inflation.”
In some areas gas prices have reached $4 per gallon, and now Americans must brace themselves for higher grocery bills. This week the Labor Department reported that February wholesale food prices posted their sharpest increase since 1974. News like that has driven Mr. Singer to the history books: He treats visitors to his 5th Avenue office to a copy of a 1931 treatise on German currency debasement, Constantino Bresciani-Turroni’s “The Economics of Inflation.”
Mr. Singer—who launched Elliott in 1977 and has delivered a 14.3% compound annual return (compared to the S&P 500’s 10.9%)—is not comparing today’s Federal Reserve to the Reichsbank of the early 1920s. Rather, he’s once again warning financial regulators. This time the message is: Don’t take for granted investor faith in a major currency.
While at Harvard Law School, Mr. Singer turned down a research job with his intellectual hero, Daniel Patrick Moynihan, to pursue a career in finance. Today, he’s still looking for heroes among the stewards of the major currencies. Central bankers, particularly at the Fed but also in Europe, “seem to be acting as if they have unlimited flexibility to ease monetary policy,” he says.
He specifically targets the Fed’s “unprecedented” policy of sustaining near-zero interest rates and its exercise in money-printing, “Quantitative Easing 2,” that has it buying medium- and longer-term securities from the Treasury. “In effect they’re treating confidence in fiat money—in paper money—as inexhaustible, that it’s a tool that’s able to be used not just in the throes of crisis,” but also as “a virtually complete substitute for sound fiscal, regulatory and taxing policy.”
School year could end weeks early under worst-case state budget
Some question whether it’s a real possibility or another budget threat
By Maureen Magee, UNION-TRIBUNE
Sunday, March 20, 2011 at 3 p.m.
Teachers and parents throughout the region and state have grown accustomed to significant cutbacks in their public schools, increased demands for fundraising and threats to layoff faculty as California copes with its relentless fiscal crisis.
But schools could face a financial hit so severe in the coming school year that many may be shut down as many as six weeks early, under an extreme cost-cutting measure that was first suggested in January with little fanfare and has been gaining traction ever since.
That means children could be cut lose from school in April next year, just after Easter.
Would it really be legal for the Fed to sell toxic subprime-mortgage to AIG without accepting any other bids? Isn’t their a risk the sale price would be below market value, handing AIG a windfall profit?
* MARCH 20, 2011, 6:02 P.M. ET
American International Group Inc. is trying to force the hand of the Federal Reserve on a large portfolio of subprime-mortgage bonds it wants to repurchase, putting the central bank in the position of weighing taxpayers’ interests against those of the government-controlled insurer.
Earlier this month, AIG disclosed an offer to pay $15.7 billion, or roughly 53 cents on the dollar, for mortgage securities it once owned that have been on the Fed’s balance sheet since late 2008, after AIG was bailed out by the U.S. government.
The formal bid followed months of what AIG executives perceived to be wavering by central-bank officials over whether to sell the bonds.
AIG wants the securities for their high yields. It believes they will help boost the company’s financial position ahead of a planned stock offering that will allow the Treasury Department to recoup some of the bailout money it put in during the financial crisis.
For the Fed, however, the choice isn’t clear-cut. It bought the bonds as one of several steps it took to help stabilize AIG in 2008, and wasn’t expected to hold them indefinitely. But the Fed has faced criticism for not being tougher on the insurer and the banks that benefited from the AIG bailout. In deciding whether to sell the bonds, the central bank will need to show it is doing well by taxpayers.
At the same time, any effort by the Fed to seek bids from outside investors for the subprime bonds could weigh on the prices of similar securities, an outcome that could hurt banks holding such securities.
Gotta love the free market…..
-AIG gets cash for worthless (at the time) securities.
-AIG wants to buy them back with their free money @ approx 50 cents on the dollar, which oh BTW, makes it appears that the rest of the crap AIG owns is also worth 50 cents on the dollar.
-Fed don’t want a bidding war, because it will lead to “price discovery”, and revealing the fact that all the crap they paid face value for, is worth 10 cents on the dollar.
-Start dropping bombs on Iran or North Korea on Friday morning.
-Issue the press release announcing the no-bid sale to AIG at 5 before 5pm California time on Friday evening.Comment by Professor Bear
Wouldn’t that be against the law?Comment by Professor Bear
More Borrowers Are Opting for Adjustable-Rate Mortgages
The New York Times
By LYNNLEY BROWNING
Published: March 17, 2011
IN the years since the financial crisis, adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs, with their low initial interest rates that changed over time, have been considered riskier than fixed-rate loans and shunned by most buyers. But these days more people are being persuaded to give the loans a try.
This time around, lenders are rolling out more conservative ARM products — without the gimmicky extra-low “teaser” rates that adjust every six months, or the “pick-a-pay” and “option” features that allow borrowers to pay less than the monthly interest, only to be hit with a huge bill down the road.
Those ARMs were hallmarks of the subprime mortgage boom that fueled the soaring rate of mortgage defaults and home foreclosures nationwide.
“An adjustable now is basically a prime product,” said Michael Moskowitz, the president of Equity Now, a lender in New York. “There’s definitely a comeback in their popularity.”
Bank of America, for example, had nearly twice as many ARM transactions last month as it did a year ago, according to Terry H. Francisco, a spokesman, and ARMs now account for 10 percent of all its home loans.
Mortgage brokers and lenders say the loans most in demand are the “5/1” and “7/1,” in which the initial interest rate is fixed for the first five or seven years — after which many homeowners typically think about selling or refinancing anyway — then adjusted annually at a capped rate toward a maximum level.
Our so-called government has done some snooping around, instead of listening to their lobbyists/consultants/soothsayers, and have discovered that our whole freaking mess of an economy is built on BS, and criminal activity, and about 50% of the population would be in jail, if they were able to prosecute everybody involved.
The problem is, they same group of weasels sold the REAL economy to the Chinese, Indians, Mexicans, etc. etc. for pennies on the dollar.
They know they are fooked (as in pitchforks and gullotines) if the serfs figure this out. So the plan is to paint as rosy a picture as possible going forward to confuse the issue, and pray for either divine intervention, or develop an exit strategy to try to escape…..realizing that in the event of chaos, finely developed plans have a way of falling apart quickly.Comment by Professor Bear
A Looming Disaster: Europe
As a nation reels from an earthquake’s destruction, an entire continent faces an economic crisis of its own.
by Robert J. Samuelson
March 20, 2011
While the world has been transfixed with Japan, Europe has been struggling to avoid another financial crisis. On any Richter scale of economic threats, this may ultimately count more than Japan’s grim tragedy. One reason is size. Europe represents about 20 percent of the world economy Japan’s share is about 6 percent. Another is that Japan may recover faster than is now imagined that happened after the 1995 Kobe earthquake. But it’s hard to discuss the “world economic crisis” in the past tense as long as Europe’s debt problem festers—and it does.
Just last week, European leaders were putting the finishing touches on a plan to enlarge a bailout fund from an effective size of roughly €250 billion (about $350 billion) to €440 billion ($615 billion) and eventually to €500 billion ($700 billion). By lending to stricken debtor nations, the fund would aim to prevent them from defaulting on their government bonds, which could have ruinous repercussions. Banks could suffer huge losses on their bond portfolios investors could panic and dump all European bonds Europe and the world could relapse into recession.
Unfortunately, the odds of success are no better than 50–50. Europe must do something
Europe must do something. Greece and Ireland are already in receivership. There are worries about Portugal and Spain Moody’s recently downgraded both, though Spain’s rating is still high. The trouble is that the sponsors of the bailout fund are themselves big debtors. In 2010, Italy’s debt burden (the ratio of its government debt to its economy, or gross domestic product) was 131 percent that exceeded Spain’s debt ratio of 72 percent. Debt ratios were high even for France (92 percent) and Germany (80 percent).
There are reports that Gadhafi’s home was hit in an airstrike. Earlier reports said that there were human shields there. So now we are protecting civilians by blowing them up?Comment by Professor Bear
Economists often prescribe that countries seeking economic development should embrace the principle of the rule of law. I want
to suggest that we listen to our own advice and apply it to our monetary
and financial system. The principle of the rule of law could usefully
guide us in resolving the extraordinary situation we have been in
for the past two years or so, and even more importantly help us to
avoid future crises.
The approach of Federal Reserve and Treasury officials during
this crisis, unfortunately, has been to consider every possible remedy
but applying the rule of law.
In case you think I exaggerate, let me quote Ben Bernanke. At a
strategy meeting with other Fed and Treasury officials early in the
crisis he declared, as reported by the New York Times: “There are no
atheists in foxholes and no ideologues in financial crises” (Baker
2008). Over at the U.S. Treasury, when Neel Kashkari, the Treasury’s
chief bailout administrator under Secretary Hank Paulson, was asked
by a reporter how the Treasury would spend the $700 billion in
bailout money that Congress had provided (essentially without
instructions), Kashkari replied that nothing was ruled out. To quote
a news account: “ ‘We are looking at everything,’ he said. ‘We are trying to figure out what will provide the most benefit to the financial system’ ” (Ellis 2008).
Friedrich Hayek in his classic work The Road to Serfdom contrasted “a country under arbitrary government” from a free country that observes “the great principle known as the Rule of Law.”
“Stripped of all technicalities,” he continued, “this means that government in all its actions is bound by rules fixed and announced beforehand—rules which make it possible to foresee with fair certainty how the authority will use its coercive powers in given circumstances and to plan one’s individual affairs on the basis of this knowledge” (Hayek  2007: 112).
This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly
Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff
Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2009, 463 pp.
Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff’s wide-ranging,
quantitative study of financial crises is a landmark work. Reinhart
and Rogoff have taken advantage of the advances of the last 20
years in economic history, personal computers, and the Internet to
assemble a large data set covering most countries of any importance
for the world economy. They are the first researchers to base
their generalizations about financial crises on data that combine
geographic breadth with great historical depth.
The “this time is different syndrome” is the mistaken belief
that financial crises happen to other people at other times and
places, but not to us here and now, because we are doing things
better, we are smarter, and we have learned from past mistakes,
so old rules of valuation no longer apply.
Those of us who live in rich countries think of defaults on
sovereign external debt as a malady characteristic of poorer
countries, but that is not the case. The United States restructured its debt in 1790 in a partial de facto default, while France defaulted eight times from 1558 to 1788. Yet both then “graduated,” avoiding default thereafter and having their bonds recognized by investors as low in risk. Why some countries graduate and others do not is a puzzle for future researchers to piece together.
As well as defaulting on external debt, many governments have
defaulted on their domestic debt. Reinhart and Rogoff’s work here
is the most novel part of the book, because before their efforts,
long-term international data on domestic debt were severely
lacking. Especially valuable is their analysis of debt and inflation.
Many inflations have been so high as to drive people away from
using local currency, thereby reducing government revenue from
the “inflation tax.” The deeper logic underlying this seemingly
illogical behavior is that high inflation can greatly reduce the real
value of domestic debt.
Although some countries have graduated from debt crises, banking
crises are a recurring phenomenon in rich and poor countries alike.
The worldwide crisis of 2008–09 is but the latest illustration of this
truth. The implication is that economic policymakers need to fi gure
out how to withstand the shocks banking crises cause rather than
thinking they can eliminate the shocks.
The chapters on currency crashes and on the U.S. subprime
crisis and its worldwide consequences cover ground that has been
well trod by others, although part of the apparent lack of novelty
is the result of the delay between manuscript submission and
publication. Even here, and despite sparse data, Reinhart and
Rogoff break new ground by showing how frequently crises have
been connected with booms and busts in housing markets.
Summarizing what we have learned from the history of financial
crises, the authors conclude that we may be able to have better
early warnings of crises with better data, especially data on house
prices and on government debt including contingent liabilities.
They also observe that banking crises tend to be protracted, and
to have huge effects on government debt, which on average rises
86 percent in real terms in the three years following a crisis. They
caution against premature celebration for countries that seem to
have recently graduated from debt default many have soon fallen
back into default.
Update: BP starts burning oil from leaking ruptured well
NEW ORLEANS – BP began burning oil siphoned from a ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico early Wednesday as part of its plans to more than triple the amount of crude it can stop from reaching the sea, the company said.
BP PLC said oil and gas siphoned from the well first reached a semi-submersible drilling rig on the ocean surface around 1 a.m.
Once that gas reaches the rig, it will be mixed with compressed air, shot down a specialized boom made by Schlumberger Ltd . and ignited at sea. It’s the first time this particular burner has been deployed in the Gulf of Mexico .
BP officials previously said they believed the burner system could incinerate anywhere from 210,000 gallons of oil to 420,000 gallons of oil daily once it’s fully operational. The company did not say how much oil the new system has burned. It said work to optimize the new system was still ongoing.
Under pressure from the Coast Guard , the energy firm is attempting to expand its ability to trap leaking oil before it reaches the water. Already, oil and gas are being siphoned from a containment cap sitting over the well head and flowing to a drill ship sitting above it in the Gulf of Mexico.
Adding the burner is part of BP’s plan to expand its containment system so it can capture as much as 2.2 million gallons of oil a day by late June, or nearly 90 percent of what a team of government scientists have estimated is the maximum flow out the well.
McAuleysWorld: Why did it itake 56 days to do this? When was it first suggested? Who was involved in the decission to delay burning the oil and why was that decision made?
The keynote address at the 2004 Democratic National Convention (DNC) was given by then Illinois State Senator, United States Senate candidate, and future President Barack Obama on the night of Tuesday, July 27, 2004. His unexpected landslide victory in the March 2004 Illinois U.S. Senate Democratic primary had made him overnight a rising star within the national Democratic Party, started speculation about a presidential future, and led to the reissue of his memoir, Dreams from My Father.  His convention keynote address was well received, which further elevated his status within the Democratic Party and led to his reissued memoir becoming a bestseller. 
Obama first met Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in the spring of 2004, and was just one of several names considered for the role of keynote speaker at the party's convention that summer. After being alerted in early July that he had been chosen to deliver the address, Obama largely wrote the speech himself, with later edits from the Kerry presidential campaign. Delivered on the second night of the DNC in just under 20 minutes, the address included both a biographical sketch of Obama, his own vision of America, and the reasons for his support of Kerry for the presidency. Unlike almost all prior and all subsequent convention keynote addresses, it was not televised by the commercial broadcast networks, and was only seen by a combined PBS, cable news and C-SPAN television audience of about 9 million. Since its delivery, several academics have studied the speech, both for the various narratives it describes as well as its implications for racial reconciliation.
"A More Perfect Union"   is the name of a speech delivered by Senator Barack Obama on March 18, 2008 in the course of the contest for the 2008 Democratic Party presidential nomination.  Speaking before an audience at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Obama was responding to a spike in the attention paid to controversial remarks made by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, his former pastor and, until shortly before the speech, a participant in his campaign. Obama framed his response in terms of the broader issue of race in the United States. The speech's title was taken from the Preamble to the United States Constitution.
Obama addressed the subjects of racial tensions, white privilege, and race and inequality in the United States, discussing black "anger", white "resentment", and other issues as he sought to explain and contextualize Wright's controversial comments.  His speech closed with a plea to move beyond America's "racial stalemate" and address shared social problems.
On March 27, 2008, the Pew Research Center called the speech "arguably the biggest political event of the campaign so far," noting that 85 percent of Americans said they had heard at least a little about the speech and that 54 percent said they heard a lot about it.  The New Yorker opined that the speech helped elect Obama as the President of the United States. 
Following his victory in the 2008 United States presidential election, President-elect Barack Obama gave his victory speech  at Grant Park in his home city of Chicago,  on November 4, 2008, before an estimated crowd of 240,000.   Viewed on television and the Internet by millions of people around the globe, Obama's speech focused on the major issues facing the United States and the world, all echoed through his campaign slogan of change.  He also mentioned his grandmother, who had died two nights earlier.
United States President Barack Obama delivered a speech to a joint session of the 111th United States Congress on February 24, 2009.  It was not an official State of the Union address.  Obama's first State of the Union Address was the 2010 State of the Union Address. The speech was delivered on the floor of the chamber of the United States House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. Presiding over this joint session was the House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. Accompanying the Speaker of the House was the President of the United States Senate, Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States.
President Obama discussed the recently passed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 as well as the Troubled Assets Relief Program, the state of the economy, and the future of the country. 
Attorney General Eric Holder was the designated survivor and did not attend the address in order to maintain a continuity of government. He was sequestered at a secret secure location for the duration of the event. 
"A New Beginning" is the name of a speech delivered by United States President Barack Obama on June 4, 2009, from the Major Reception Hall at Cairo University in Egypt. Al-Azhar University co-hosted the event. The speech honors a promise Obama made during his presidential campaign to give a major address to Muslims from a Muslim capital during his first few months as president. 
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs indicated that Egypt was chosen because "it is a country that in many ways represents the heart of the Arab world."  Egypt is considered a key player in the Middle East peace process as well as a major recipient of American military and economic aid. Reuters reporter Ross Colvin reported that the speech would attempt to mend the United States' relations with the Muslim world, which he wrote were "severely damaged" during the presidency of George W. Bush. 
United States President Barack Obama discussed his plan for health care reform in a speech delivered to a joint session of the 111th United States Congress on September 9, 2009 at 8:00 PM (EDT). The speech was delivered to Congress on the floor of the chamber of the United States House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi presided over the joint session and was accompanied by the President of the United States Senate, Joe Biden, the Vice President of the United States. Energy Secretary Steven Chu was chosen as the designated survivor and did not attend the speech. 
The 2010 State of the Union Address was given by United States President Barack Obama on January 27, 2010, to a joint session of Congress.  It was aired on all the major networks starting at 9 pm ET.  It was Obama's first State of the Union Address, though the president did give a non-State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress a month after taking office in 2009.
The speech was delivered in the United States House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. As always, the presiding officers of the Senate and the House of Representatives, Vice President Joe Biden (as Senate President) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sat behind the president.
The theme for President Obama's speech was "Rescue, Rebuild, Restore – a New Foundation for Prosperity".    Among the topics that Obama covered in his speech were proposals for job creation and federal deficit reduction. 
Newly inaugurated Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell delivered the Republican response following the speech  from the floor of the House of Delegates at the Virginia State Capitol in front of over 300 people. 
This speech was delivered on April 15, 2010, at the Kennedy Space Center.
Obama delivered a speech at the White House Briefing Room on April 20, 2011. He stated that the release of his birth certificate is a settled issue saying that the American people "didn't care" nor were concerned about this. Obama blamed partisan politics and said this release is no different than any earlier release.
President of the United States Barack Obama delivered a speech at the Together We Thrive: Tucson and America memorial on January 12, 2011, held in the McKale Center on the University of Arizona campus.
It honored the victims of the 2011 Tucson shooting and included themes of healing and national unity. Watched by more than 30 million Americans,  it drew widespread praise from politicians and commentators across the political spectrum and from abroad.
The 2011 State of the Union Address was a speech given by President Barack Obama at 9 p.m. EST on January 25, 2011, in the chamber of the United States House of Representatives.  In this joint session Obama outlined his "vision for an America that's more determined, more competitive, better positioned for the future—an America where we out-innovate, we out-educate, we out-build the rest of the world where we take responsibility for our deficits where we reform our government to meet the demands of a new age."   
The 2012 State of the Union Address was a speech given by former President Barack Obama, from 9 p.m. to 10:17 p.m. EST on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, in the chamber of the United States House of Representatives.   In his speech, he focused on education reform, repairing America's infrastructure with money not used on the Iraq War, and creating new energy sources in America.
Barack Obama's speech to the Clinton Global Initiative in 2012 took place on September 25.  The speech was on the subject of human trafficking, which Obama referred to as "modern slavery".  He stated that he did not use the term "slavery" lightly, knowing that this word conjures painful memories of previous forms of slavery in the United States.  In the speech, he told his administration to oppose human trafficking to a greater extent than the administration had done previously.  He also encouraged people to develop technology to combat human trafficking, and specifically put a call out to college students.  He also told the story of former human trafficking victim Sheila White, who, in 2003, was battered next to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey without anyone even asking her if she needed help.  Opening night of the human-trafficking-themed Canadian play She Has a Name in Edmonton, Alberta coincided with Obama's speech.  JD Supra called it a "landmark speech [that] is reflective of the fact that human trafficking and forced labor have become key priorities" for people wishing to address the human rights issues that result from business operations.  California Against Slavery founder Daphne Phung was pleased with Obama's speech.  As part of the Obama administration's followup to the speech to the Clinton Global Initiative, there was a 25-person discussion at the White House about how to eliminate human trafficking globally. 
The speech took place in Roanoke, Virginia, on July 13, 2012. 
On July 19, 2013, President Obama gave a speech in place of the usual White House daily briefing normally given by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. In the 17-minute speech, President Obama spoke about public reaction to the conclusion of the George Zimmerman trial, racial profiling, and the state of race relations in the United States.  The speech was widely covered on news networks, and made headlines across the country. During this speech, made six days after George Zimmerman was found not guilty, Obama said, "Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago." That phrase became the most frequently quoted portion of the speech in the news cycle that followed.  The speech marked a major turning point for Barack Obama, who had previously shied away from addressing issues of racial tension during his presidency. During the remarks, President Obama spoke about the many African-Americans who have experienced racial profiling, including himself. 
There are very few African American men in this country who haven't had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store. That includes me. There are very few African American men who haven't had the experience of walking across the street and hearing the locks click on the doors of cars. That happens to me—at least before I was a senator. There are very few African Americans who haven't had the experience of getting on an elevator and a woman clutching her purse nervously and holding her breath until she had a chance to get off. That happens often. 
President Obama also spoke about stand-your-ground laws and pondered that, if Trayvon Martin had been armed, he might possibly have legally stood his ground on the sidewalk and shot George Zimmerman because he felt threatened. Based on that ambiguity, Obama said that perhaps such laws should be examined. 
On August 28, 2013, the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech was commemorated by an all day event featuring various speakers including President Barack Obama and John Lewis, the only speaker from the original rally to remain living.
Obama spoke on the 50th anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery Marches, lauded unsung heroes and everyday Americans that stood up for justice. According to leading George W. Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson, the speech "falls into the category of speeches that every child should read in school" and is cited by the Washington Post as the Obama speech which will hold up best for posterity. 
After the Charleston church shooting, during which state senator Clementa C. Pinckney and eight other victims were gunned down by a white supremacist, Obama went to the College of Charleston to deliver eulogy for senator Pinckney while addressing bigger issues about race relations and civil rights in the United States.  Speech had Obama singing "Amazing grace" with the emotional crowd.  A part of this song in speech was sampled by British band Coldplay in their album "A Head Full of Dreams"  .
On December 6, 2015, after a terrorist attack on San Bernardino, California, Obama delivered a live Address to the Nation by the President from the Oval Office. In the address, he declared the shooting an act of terrorism, referring to the shooters as having "gone down the dark path of radicalization" and embracing a "perverted version of Islam."  Obama said that "the threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it" and promised that the United States will "destroy ISIL and any other organization that tries to harm us." Obama also outlined the ongoing fight against ISIL (including U.S. airstrikes, financial sanctions, and targeted special operations) and urged Americans to not give in to fear.  It was just the third speech from the Oval Office in the seven years of Obama's presidency.  
On May 27, 2016 Obama became the first sitting US President to visit Hiroshima, bombed by the US in 1945. He made a speech at the Hiroshima Peace Park to a small audience of around 100 people, including hibakusha, (atomic bomb survivors). His speech was followed by one by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe. 
— Barack Obama in the 2016 Democratic National Convention 
In one of the last major speeches of his presidency, Obama strongly endorsed Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president, saying "there has never been a man or woman more qualified than Hillary Clinton. Not me, not Bill, nobody!"  Obama contrasted his and Clinton's hopeful view of America with that of Republican nominee Donald Trump, which he called "deeply pessimistic."  Obama argued that Trump was unqualified for the office, and was attempting to use fear to get elected.  Michael Grunwald of Politico called it a "stirring but fundamentally defensive speech."  Conservative blogger Erick Erickson tweeted "I disagree with the President on so much policy and his agenda, but appreciate the hope and optimism in this speech."  After the speech, Clinton appeared on the stage for the first time in the convention, embracing her 2008 primary rival. 
Barack Obama gave eighteen speeches on behalf of the Clinton Campaign, many of which were in battleground states, such as North Carolina and New Hampshire. His last speech on behalf of the campaign was delivered at a rally at Independence Hall in Philadelphia on the eve of Election Day on November 7, 2016. 
On May 16, 2020, Obama gave a virtual commencement speech for some 27,000 students from 78 historically black colleges and universities (HBCU).  He said, "You've got more tools, technology, and talents than my generation did. No generation has been better positioned to be warriors for justice and remake the world." 
One of the keys to understanding the Federal Reserve is the Federal Reserve balance sheet (or balance statement). In accordance with Section 11 of the Federal Reserve Act, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System publishes once each week the "Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks" showing the condition of each Federal Reserve bank and a consolidated statement for all Federal Reserve banks. The Board of Governors requires that excess earnings of the Reserve Banks be transferred to the Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes.  
Below is the balance sheet as of July 6, 2011 (in billions of dollars):
NOTE: The Fed balance sheet shown in this article has assets, liabilities and net equity that do not add up correctly. The Fed balance sheet is missing the item "Reserve Balances with Federal Reserve Banks" which would make the figures balance.
In addition, the balance sheet also indicates which assets are held as collateral against Federal Reserve Notes.
|Federal Reserve Notes and Collateral|
|Federal Reserve Notes Outstanding||1128.63|
|Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks||200.90|
|Federal Reserve notes to be collateralized||927.73|
|Collateral held against Federal Reserve notes||927.73|
|Gold certificate account||11.04|
|Special drawing rights certificate account||5.20|
|U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities pledged||911.50|
|Other assets pledged||0|
Have scientists discovered the cure for Obama-bot-ism?
The following suggests a cure for Obama-bot-ism, analogous to a broad-spectrum anti-biotic. It also might help cure the mentation of Rush Limbaugh ditto-heads, and such. From a comment by jedimsnbcko19 on a recent diary by Jane Hamsher:
ETA: The source is from somebody named “Hugh” (apparently no last name). From the comment, below, see:
The full table of content for all 260 items is here: http://obamascandalslist.blogspot.com/2009/10/table-of-contents.html
* Documentation for items 1 thru 100 is here: http://obamascandalslist.blogspot.com/2009/10/obama-scandals-list.html
* Documentation for items 101 thru 200 is here: http://obamascandalslist.blogspot.com/2009/11/obama-scandals-list-101.html
* Documentation for items 201-260 is here: http://obamascandalslist.blogspot.com/
Let say Obama done 10 things for Progressives, he done a lot more for his GOP friends. LOL please read below Mike Sax
1. Reneged on pledge to filibuster FISA Amendments Act (July 2008)
2. Lobbied for $700 billion Paulson TARP bank bailout
3. Pushed for no sanctions against Lieberman despite his support for John McCain
4. Nominated healthcare company lobbyist Tom Daschle as Secretary of HHS
5. Had neoliberal Robert Rubin as his chief economics adviser
6. Then had the equally neoliberal Larry Summers assume this role
7. Chose the failing upwards Timothy Geithner to head Treasury
8. AIG bonuses and money to Goldman under Obama
9. Doubling down in Afghanistan
10. Delay and reduction of withdrawal from Iraq
11. Moving Guantanamo activities to Bagram
12. Military commissions for some detainees
13. Support for indefinite detention
14. Refusal to release torture photos under FOIA
15. Refusal to investigate and prosecute Bush era criminality
16. Geithner’s DOA economic rescue programs: the PPIP and TALF
17. Minimal help for homeowners and no cramdowns
18. Treatment of Chrysler and GM with bankrupcy compared to bank no fail “stress tests”
19. Kabuki of TARP repayment by banks while still dependent on government credit lines
20. Extra-Constitutional use of the Fed by the Executive for fiscal policy
21. Credit Card bill without usury caps and with 9 month delay for other reforms
22. Business friendly Mary Schapiro named to head SEC
23. Gary Gensler who helped deregulate derivatives named to head CFTC
24. $787 billion stimulus: too little, too late, poorly structured
25. Use of financial crisis to attack Social Security and Medicare
26. The great healthcare non-debate
27. Continued use of state secrets argument in ongoing Bush era cases
28. Use of signing statements, including one to punish whistleblowers
29. Vetting process problems, especially tax related ones
30. Leaving Dawn Johnsen’s nomination to head OLC twisting in the wind
31. Eric Holder, failure to reform DOJ, not removing worst of Bush USAs
32. Failure to move against new oil bubble
33. Retention of Bush Defense team: Gates, Patraeus, and Odierno
34. Continued missile strikes inside Pakistan
35. Keeping Bush’s domestic spying programs and adding a new one, cybersecurity
36. Choice of Elena Kagan who favors expansive Presidential powers as Sollicitor General, her subsequent nomination to the Supreme Court
37. Leaving EFCA (to help counter anti-union companies) to wither in Congress
38. Welcoming Arlen Specter who brings nothing to the Democrats into the party
39. Weak ineffective proposals for financial reform
40. Obama wanted John Brennan at CIA but settled for making him his counter- terrorism adviser
41. Chas Freeman with broader Mideast perspective done in by AIPAC
42. Dennis Blair made DNI failed to act to stop atrocities in East Timor
43. Choice of McChrystal involved in torture in Iraq to head Afghanistan command
44. Obama threat to suspend intelligence cooperation with UK over Binyam Mohamed case
45. Efforts to keep Bush and Obama White House logs secret
46. Playing games with “Don’t ask, don’t tell”
47. Filing a brief to overturn Jackson (access to lawyer) in the Montejo case
48. Not withdrawing Bush brief in Osborne DNA case
49. Egregious brief in challenge to Defense of Marriage Act
50. The Supplemental which made Iraq and Afghanistan Democratic wars
51. Choice of Rahm Emanuel as the President’s Chief of Staff
52. Choice of Dennis Ross as Iran envoy and then his move to the White House
53. Politically embarrassing processes to fill Obama and Clinton’s Senate seats
54. Choice of Bill Richardson, then Judd Gregg to head Commerce Department
55. Reneging on pledge to re-negotiate NAFTA
56. Obama’s throwing his pastor Jeremiah Wright to the curb, then reaching out to religious conservative Rick Warren
57. Continued challenges to habeas corpus petitions over indefinite detention, the Janko case
58. The Obama White House website
59. Continuing an ineffective program that Iran can exploit politically
60. Going slow on climate change when there is no time to
61. Not withdrawing a Bush-era amicus brief in the Ricci v. DeStefano reverse discrimination case and supporting a rollback of Title VII
62. Appointment of a CIA General Counsel who doesn’t know if waterboarding is torture
63. Appointment of a DNI General Counsel who doesn’t know if waterboarding is torture
64. CIA delay in a FOIA request concerning torture
65. The influence of Goldman Sachs in the Obama Administration
66. Attempt to keep secret the Cheney interview on the Plame affair
67. Mountaintop removal under Obama
68. Attempt to restrict Congressional notification on intelligence matters
69. Opposition to a second stimulus
70. Another egregious attempt to fight a habeas corpus petition in the Jawad case
71. Continuing charter schools and standardized tests
72. Holder’s decision to support a weak, narrow review of torture
73. Re-appointment of Ben Bernanke as Fed Chairman
74. Continuing renditions
75. Politically dubious company was used to vet reporters in Afghanistan
76. Judge vetoes a too weak SEC plea bargain with Bank of America
77. Justice’s argument for making Bagram a new Guantanamo, the al Maqaleh case
78. Defense to turn over databases to poorly controlled fusion centers
79. Obama changes but keeps Bush’s Star Wars program
80. Failure to win an Israeli freeze on settlements
81. White House refuses to back its own staffer environmentalist Van Jones
82. Politicized US Attorney in the Siegelman case cleared by Office of Special Counsel
83. Criticism of Iranian nuclear program support of Israeli nuclear weapons
84. Support for a weakened reporter’s shield law
85. Use of the Zazi case to retain broad Patriot Act surveillance provisions
86. Wilner v. NSA, continuing the coverup of warrantless surveillance of communications between attorneys and detainees
87. Attempt to spike the Goldstone report on Israeli-Hamas war crimes in Gaza
88. Slowness in filling federal judgeships
89. Inadequate aid to overwhelmed state budgets
90. Attempting to dodge the Supreme Court deciding whether innocent Guantanamo detainees can be resettled in the US
91. Allowing drilling in the waters off the north coast of Alaska
92. Keeping detainee accounts of CIA torture secret
93. Current FBI manual allows for widespread domestic spying
94. Securitization invalidates most foreclosures
95. Geithner wanting unlimited powers to save large banks
96. Another state secrets defense to conceal domestic spying
97. Circuit Court dismissal of Maher Arar suit
98. Weakening Sarbanes-Oxley and calling it financial reform
100. Inspector General for Fannie and Freddie ousted for investigating fraud
101. Gaming courts to convict Guantanamo detainees
102. White House counsel removed for his principled stands on torture and Guantanamo
103. US seizes mosques claiming Iranian connection
104. Howard Dean removed as head of the DNC
105. Scientist with close ties to Monsanto put in charge of all governmental agricultural research
106. Pesticide lobbyist nominated as Chief Agricultural Negotiator for trade
107. Effort to let some government contractors avoid paying taxes
108. A bad US Attorney nomination for Northern Iowa
109. Hunger in America
110. The breast cancer recommendations fiasco
111. Ongoing confusion and disorganization in the military commissions process
112. Phillip Carter another official in closing Guantanamo resigns
113. Refusal to sign anti-land mine treaty
114. The Ghizzawi case and the legal limbo of “cleared for release”
115. Black prisons at Balad and Bagram
116. Delay in declassifying historic documents
117. Max Baucus’ conflicts of interest in healthcare and with his girlfriend
118. Major security breach at a White House party and a ridiculous assertion of “executive privilege”
119. Dana “Pig Missile” Perino nominated to the Broadcasting Board of Governors
120. Cass Sunstein, an anti-regulator in a regulatory position
121. Warrantless for profit electronic surveillance by telecoms and search engines
122. The government sides with torture lawyer John Yoo and attacks Bevins actions again
123. The TSA publishes its security manual online
124. Toxic legal arguments in al Zahrani v. Rumsfeld, yet another Bevins action
125. The Nobel Peace Prize and a neocon acceptance speech
126. Blackwater’s involvement in military and CIA assassination and drone programs
127. Congressional Research Service censorship in the firing of Morris Davis
128. AIG writes off $25 billion in debt and sticks taxpayers with the bill
129. The Administration plays hardball to kill an amendment that would lower drug costs
130. A poorly considered blank check to Fannie and Freddie
131. Continuing a Bush botch in the Nisoor Square massacre case
132. Jonathan Gruber, a major defender of Obamacare was also a paid consultant for it
133. A Geithner related cover up of the AIG at par payments on swaps
134. Adoption of stealth signing statements
135. al Bihani, more bad legal reasoning in another Guantanamo habeas case
136. Cutting Medicare and Social Security by deficit commission proposed
137. A 3 year non-freeze budget freeze proposed
138. NASA flights privatized
139. OPR report on Yoo and Bybee watered down and its relation to the Padilla case
140. Government targeting of US citizens for assassination
141. Abuse of informants by ICE agents
142. Obama leaves Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board empty
143. Obama backs firing of teachers in Rhode Island
144. Irish human rights advocate Edward Horgan has US visa pulled
145. Threatened veto of 2010 Intelligence Authorization Act over Congressional notifications
146. Obama Administration intimidation of whistleblowing site: wikileaks
147. Fish and Wildlife Service continues to ignore science on endangered species
148. Senate vacation more important than jobless benefits
149. Government seeks to compel turnover of emails without a warrant
150. Obama goes after an NSA whistleblower: the Thomas Drake case
151. Obama goes after a CIA whistleblower: the James Risen case
152. Weakening Miranda rights in national security cases
153. Advocating the privatizing of public housing
154. Another step in making Bagram the new Guantanamo, the al Maqaleh case, the appeals court edition
155. Massey mining disaster, 29 die because of corporate greed and poor regulation
156. Obama proposal for a line item veto
157. A military commander allowed to use military forces for intelligence operations without Presidential approval
158. Political pandering in sending 1200 National Guardsmen to the Southwest border
159. A sad record on resisting Guantanamo habeas petitions
160. Israel attacks an aid convoy for Gaza Obama punts
161. A further erosion of Miranda: Berghius v. Thompkins
162. Naming James Clapper, a Bush appointee, to be the next DNI
163. DOJ seeks to protect Vatican in sex abuse scandal
164. Yahya Wehelie, an American exiled without charge
165. Failure to replace National Labor Relations Board members means hundreds of decisions must be reviewed
166. SCOTUS opts for overly broad definition of material support to terrorist groups
167. Speaker Pelosi backstabs Social Security
168. Complaints by government scientists of political interference at Bush era levels
169. Flip flop on free trade agreement with Colombia
170. SEC declares major victory but lets Goldman off easy
171. Private contracting of intelligence continues under Obama
172. Two Guantanamo prisoners to be deported back to Algeria against their will
173. The Shirley Sherrod affair: trumped up charges of racism and a bungled response
174. Whitewash report on Bush era US Attorney firings
175. Despite its record, Blackwater still gets big US government contracts
176. Wikileaks releases government files showing Pakistan involvement with Taliban and admission that things are going poorly in Afghanistan
177. Obama seeks to get access to everyone’s web histories without a court order
178. Teacher funding sacrificed to keep Education Secretary Arne Duncan happy
179. State’s top Iran hand resigns over Obama’s Iran policy
180. Citizens United: validation of unlimited corporate political funding
181. Push to expand US arms sales around the world
182. Project Vigilant, Infragard and “volunteer” corporate spying for the government
183. Obama’s approval hits Bush levels in Arab world
184. Effort to pre-empt state environmental lawsuits involving green house gases
185. Justice’s Anti-trust division asleep at the wheel
186. Kagan’s recusals render her even more ineffective on the Supreme Court
187. Poverty level highest since 1994
188. Courts run interference for corporate violators of international law
189. Warren named to set up but not to run Consumer Financial Protection Board
190. Chief economic adviser Larry Summers leaves Obama looks for someone even more pro-business to replace him
191. DOJ IG report goes soft on Bush era surveillance against peace groups and other activists meanwhile the Obama Administration conducts raids against similar groups
192. Move to put backdoors in the internet to facilitate spying and more requirements on banks on international money transfers of any size
193. HHS Secretary Sebelius delays for at least two years required insurance coverage for contraception
194. Americans on Medicaid increased to 48.5 million in 2009
195. Big home lenders suspend foreclosures as their documentation gets challenged in court
196. HR 3808, a bill passed by Congress, to facilitate the acceptance of false documentation by banks in foreclosure proceedings
197. ICE raids and deportations increase under Obama
198. Social Security COLA frozen for second straight year no action taken
199. Waivers for military aid to countries with child soldiers
200. Big and deserved losses in the 2010 elections
ETA #2: Even people who were happy to become acquainted with Hugh’s list, or else be reminded of it, did not make any suggestions about how to circulate it to the public at large. I think we need a big, strong “DUMP OBAMA” movement, (beyond just the New Progressive Alliance‘s eventual candidate), and Hugh’s list would probably be handout #1 for such a movement. See diaries by jeffroby on “Dump Obama”
Please think about that, people. We are mostly “commenting to the choir”. Can “commenting to the choir” make a big change in our putrid system?
I think we need a big, strong “DUMP OBAMA” movement, (beyond just the New Progressive Alliance‘s eventual candidate), and Hugh’s list would probably be handout #1 for such a movement. See diaries by jeffroby on “Dump Obama”