Saturday, November 22, 2008

Why Those Republicans Love Those Bailouts

   First off, the Republicans pushed for money to help keep most of the bigger financial firms open for business. The opening shot for the mighty taxpayer rip-off.

  Let's see now. That's right. Then it was the banks with their hands held out, waiting for their share of the taxpayer loot. now we have the Big 3 automakers wanting some bailout cash that they can call their own.

  The majority of the GOP are for these bailouts, no matter how much the taxpayer ( you and I ) has to dish out.

  Have you wondered why the Republicans like these bailouts? It is not because of a profound love of their country.


by Lib Dem FoP  Sat Nov 22, 2008

With all the connotations of state intervention AKA "socialism", it has been surprising that the Republican so keen on bailing out the financial sector and the Big 3 auto makers. So the suspicious may well ask "what gives?"

The answer may well lay in the answer to another question;

What do the following have in common?

General Motors Acceptance Corp. (GMAC - the finance company);
National and Alamo car rentals companies;
Bus manufacturers North American Bus Industries, Optima Bus Corporation and Blue Bird Corp;
Coach operating companies Coach America and American Coach Lines;
Austrian bank BAWAG P.S.K.;
Japanese bank Aozora Bank;
LNR Property, a Miami based real estate development and investment firm;
Firearms companies Bushmaster Firearms, Remington Arms, Cobb Manufacturing, DPMS Panther Arms and Marlin Firearms;
Pharmaceuticals company Bayer's plasma products division;
Mervyn's department stores.

The answer is that one private equity investment company owns or has controlling interests in "all of the above". Cerberus Capital Management. 

As you might suspect of a company that has John W. Snow, President George W. Bush's second United States Secretary of the Treasury, as its President and employs Dan "Tomatoe" Quale to head one of its divisions and act as a spokesperson; Cerberus has some rather interesting relationships with and are major contributors to Republican politicians. Leveymg had an excellent diary explaining some of their excesses and relationships with the Republican party last year. This included:

Cerberus Capital Management (dba, Cerberus-Gabriel), is at the center of an emerging Pentagon and CIA contracting scandal that has the attention of three Congressional Committees.

In each case, the companies under investigation have links to prominent GOP figures, including Vice President Dick Cheney, former Vice President Dan Quayle, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and several Republican Congressmen indicted for corruption involving kickbacks from defense contractors.

Cerberus owns, or had a major interest in, a string of now-bankrupt companies that had contracts with U.S. defense and intelligence agencies that were found to have a common pattern of large-scale fraud, security problems, and financial scandals involving GOP lawmakers and lobbyists.

Cerberus donated $100,000 at a single fundraiser to Rep. Jerry Lewis, fmr. Chair of the House Appropriations Comm., who served as intermediary to distribute money to fellow GOP lawmakers favored by Cerberus

These are tasters from a long and thorough diary and obviously could not take account of their contributions for the recent elections. Nevertheless, it's a fair bet that largesse continued (or they know where bodies are buried) so their influence over the Republicans remain.

The usual focus of the Casandras for the auto industry usually centers on GM. Cerberus hold an 80.1% stake in Chrysler having paid Daimler 7.4bn euros ($10.1bn equivalent at the time) for it in August 2007. As an investment that might not be as good as it sounds for on August 23 2008 Reuters reported.

At the end of December 2007, Daimler’s 20-percent stake in Chrysler was valued at about $1.18 billion.

At the end of June, Daimler valued that investment at about $219.6 million.

Today, Daimler said the book value of that 20-percent stake is zero.

That's right, one of its two owners reckon that Chrysler is worth nothing, zilch, nada. For all their donations and lobbying Cerberus do not have two cents from Chrysler to give an opinion with. Now they want a share of $50 billion for a company they paid $10.1 billion for and Automotive News explains they are after GM's vehicle operation, already having 51% of GMAC.

The two companies could squeeze as much as $10 billion in savings by closing plants, discontinuing slow-selling models and cutting jobs.

Our translation: Chrysler would become a ghost town. GM's own staff can handle engineering, design and marketing for both companies. Many — probably most — of Chrysler's white-collar employees would be laid off.

That rather goes againsttheir claim that

We believe competition makes the global economy more productive and more efficient, which enables companies to succeed long-term in the globally competitive marketplace.

Not that they would be bothered as the Automotive News article concludes:

Cerberus wants out, and General Motors is the escape hatch.

Cerberus have also been caught out in the subprime mortgage crisis. In August 2007 they closed the mortgage company they owned, Aegis Mortgage That precedent does not bode well for the employees of Chrysler or GM if they get their hands on that company too.

Aegis, which was founded in 1993, closed its mortgage production operations on August 6. Two days later, employees were warned that there would be layoffs within 60 days and that benefits would be terminated effective midnight August 10, according to Aegis employees. They were also told that earned paid-time off would not be paid out and that there would be no severance. When the layoffs came on Monday, August 13, 782 people out of 1,302 employees were fired. Those let go were shocked to find that they were not eligible for COBRA. While Federal law requires businesses with more than 20 employees to offer departing workers the chance to buy an extra 18 months of health insurance, it is only required for companies with an active benefit plan, and Aegis had terminated its plan days before. Moreover, Aegis admitted in its bankruptcy filing that it didn't have the money to pay employee benefits anyway.

Perhaps it's time to call the "auto industry bailout" what it is - a bailout for Cerberus, Dan Quayle, John Snow and a refill for the Republican party's ATM.     DKos

Only In America: Teen Kills Self Live On The Net

  Another story from out of Florida, only this one isn't about election screw-ups.

   19 year old Abraham Biggs committed suicide on the Internet, live by webcam this past Wednesday. It seems that the young man took an overdose of drugs before his live audience and he eventually fell over onto his bed.


Biggs, who suffered from what his family said was bipolar disorder, or manic depression, lay dead on his bed in his father's Pembroke Pines house Wednesday afternoon, the camera still running 12 hours after Biggs announced his intentions online around 3 a.m.

An autopsy concluded Biggs died from a combination of opiates and benzodiazepine, which his family said was prescribed for his bipolar disorder.

Biggs announced his plans to kill himself over a website for bodybuilders, authorities said. But some users told investigators they did not take him seriously because he had threatened suicide on the site before.


President Elect Obama's Weekly Radio Address...

  brought to you on video, of course.

   This week's topic for Obama was our job situation in America. Have a look.

One bit of the address in text.


"There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it's likely to get worse before it gets better."

It will take support from Democrats and Republicans to pass the economic plan, Obama said. "I'll be welcome to ideas and suggestions from both sides of the aisle," he said. "But what is not negotiable is the need for immediate action."

Friday, November 21, 2008

$70 An Hour Union Worker Lie...

  This is what some of you have been hearing that union auto-workers make per hour. This is just plain not true since the average union worker is making something like $28 an hour.     Source

   So, where did $70 an hour come from and how is it figured? Let us go to The New Republic for some answers.

If you've been following the auto industry's crisis, then you've probably read or heard a lot about overpaid American autoworkers--in particular, the fact that the average hourly employee of the Big Three makes $70 per hour.

Let's start with the fact that it's not $70 per hour in wages. According to Kristin Dziczek of the Center for Automative Research--who was my primary source for the figures you are about to read--average wages for workers at Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors were just $28 per hour as of 2007. That works out to a little less than $60,000 a year in gross income...

But then what's the source of that $70 hourly figure? It didn't come out of thin air. Analysts came up with it by including the cost of all employer-provided benefits--namely, health insurance and pensions--and then dividing by the number of workers. The result, they found, was that benefits for Big Three cost about $42 per hour, per employee. Add that to the wages--again, $28 per hour--and you get the $70 figure. Voila.

Except ... notice something weird about this calculation? It's not as if each active worker is getting health benefits and pensions worth $42 per hour. That would come to nearly twice his or her wages. (Talk about gold-plated coverage!) Instead, each active worker is getting benefits equal only to a fraction of that--probably around $10 per hour, according to estimates from the International Motor Vehicle Program. The number only gets to $70 an hour if you include the cost of benefits for retirees--in other words, the cost of benefits for other people. One of the few people to grasp this was's Felix Salmon. As he noted yesterday, the claim that workers are getting $70 an hour in compensation is just "not true."

  Those retirees that the Big 3 support by way of pensions and healthcare do cost a lot of money for the companies because of there being many of those retirees to care for. Foreign companies do not have this problem yet with U.S. workers.

And, yes, it makes it difficult for the Big Three to compete with foreign-owned automakers that don't have to pay the same costs. But don't forget why those costs are so high. While the transplants don't offer the same kind of benefits that the Big Three do, the main reason for their present cost advantage is that they just don't have many retirees.

The first foreign-owned plants didn't start up here until the 1980s; many of the existing ones came well after that. As of a year ago, Toyota's entire U.S. operation had less than 1,000 retirees. Compare that to a company like General Motors, which has been around for more than a century and which supports literally hundreds of thousands of former workers and spouses. As you might expect, many of these have the sorts of advanced medical problems you expect from people to develop in old age. And, it should go without saying, those conditions cost a ton of money to treat.

  For more reasons on why the government really does need to help out the auto-industry, go here to finish the source article. It isn't high-paying union rates that are hurting the industry.

   Of course, it would help the industry if they hadn't have been foot-dragging with better fuel economy vehicles and with fighting legislation to make better vehicles in the first place.

   Don't blame the hourly union or non-union worker. Blame management.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell Threatens To Have Republicans Up In Arms Over Democrat's Agenda

   So what's new with these GOP pieces of shit? All that they have ever done is block any real progress for the American public and that won't change, even under a Democratic President, House, or Senate. The GOP is bound and determined to get their way, at yours and my expense.

  Mitch McConnell ( R scumbag-KY ) sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid outlining the GOP Senates bullshit.

   The Hill

In letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), McConnell urged Reid to adopt a more conciliatory tone and warned him that Republicans will unite against Democrats if he does not. The letter was signed by all 40 GOP senators and two Republican incumbents who are awaiting the results of elections in Georgia and Minnesota.

“As a caucus, Republicans will insist on our basic right to participate in the legislative process,” McConnell wrote to Reid. “The Republican Conference intends to protect the Senate’s history of full and open consideration of major legislation, which includes a fair amendment process and the opportunity for debate.”

  Guess that they do not wish to be treated in the same way that they have done to the Democrats since Bush arrived.  But wait! There's more! This next line is funny and shows just how stupid/ignorant that Republicans are.

The minority leader also held an unusually long news conference Friday to reiterate points made in his letter. He said Republicans are not sorry to see President Bush leave office, given his unpopularity, and praised Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for running a “fabulous” campaign “under very, very difficult circumstances.”

  and then...

McConnell on Friday said he was not disheartened by the widespread GOP losses on Nov. 4 because the party has a strong stock of governors and up-and-coming Senate leaders.

“We are beginning a slow and deliberative process of finding our way back,” he said. “Both parties have done this periodically. My reaction to the election was not one of despair, but one of understanding that we have to retool and come back.”

  That's GOP speak for finding another way to con the American public into putting them back into the White House.  

Barack Obama's Judgement Questionable

  I wonder who is lining Obama's pockets to get him to choose some of his picks for positions in his administration. Many others are wondering about his judgement also.


Obama surrounding himself with NeoCon advisors

by FreeSociety   Fri Nov 21, 2008

There are many reasons why the selection of Hillary Clinton to run Obama's Foreign Policy is inexplicably wrong. And it also represents a slap in the face to the anti-War activists the put him where he is.

Obama told us all that change happens not from the top down, but from the bottom up.

But now we are seeing Obama betray the whole movement that elevated him past the once-unstoppable Clinton juggernaut, and placed him into his leadership position.

So far, Obama has done nothing but surround himself with the same old entrenched business-as-usual, pro-War, pro-CEO-Bailout, pro-NAFTA, anti-Government-Accountibility faces that have been totally wrong on the great issues of our time for the last eight years (and very bad for the Nation).

For example, the idea that Obama would even remotely consider Bush-picked Robert Gates to remain fixed in the prosecution of these two failed Wars is absolutely unthinkable.  I mean, just who won this Election anyway?

The NeoCons?  I thought they were defeated.

It is one thing to appoint Hillary Clinton to a Cabinet position to govern some domestic issue. But Clinton has proven to be a congential liar on Foreign Policy matters (Iraq, Iran) for eight years, and she just parrots every NeoCon/AIPAC/AEI warmongering talking-point that is put out there in the media. She does not fact check, and always aligns herself with the War Hawks as a first response. For example, she even voted against a ban on the use of civilian-killing (children-killing) Cluster Bombs (which have been outlawed by 100 other Nations).

Her judgement is:    wrong,   wrong again,  and stubborn. 

So why, out of all the people on earth, is she brought in now to run the new Foreign Policy?
Or rather, the not-so-new Foreign Policy?   This just undermines the whole credibility of the Obama "change" narrative.  Wasn't her side defeated?  It also unnecessarily creates a scandal rich political football for the GOP to have a field day attacking the new administration over. Why would anyone want to ever go down that road all over again, much less Obama?

We threw our support to Obama over Hillary Clinton, primarily because of her proven bad judgement and stubborn judgement on Foreign Policy (Iraq, Iran), and because of her dishonesty on those subjects. Obama would bring in fresh thinking and not be beholden to the business-as-usual NeoCon-beltway crowd. While Obama was never exactly the "anti-War candidate" in the Eugene McCarthy/Robert Kennedy/George McGovern/Jimmy Carter/Dennis Kucinich/Mike Gravel sense, he was at least the anti-Iraq-War candidate. That was the essential difference between them. You'd think then that the very last thing on earth that Obama would ever do is just turn right around and staff-up his administration with the promoters of the failed and disgraced Bush-Cheney Iraq position.

How the hell does this make any sense?  And we have also been reading about how Obama will not be prosecuting any members of the plainly corrupt Bush-Cheney administration, even on the isolated issue of Human Torture!

Obama is saying loud and clear here:   No We Can't!
No We Can't uphold and defend the United States Constitution.
No we can't do that in America.

For a man who claims to have "taught" Constitutional Law, one wonders just what the heck Obama was really teaching?  Clearly, our Founding Fathers would grade the so-called "teacher" to be an F student.

We should not just "trust" anything that is going on right now, when all the initial steps point to the same cronies holding key positions of power.

Tell me why, if Obama is so "smart" and trustworthy, is he choosing to surround himself with the same failed advice from the same failed people for the next 8 years?  Just how does doing that provide any new thinking?

Where are the people who got it right on Foreign Policy matters here?
Where are the government reformers?
Where are the truth-tellers?
Where are the whistlebowers?
Where are the consumer watchdogs?

There is a saying: "garbage-in, garbage-out"
If Obama surrounds himself with the same old damn garbage that we have already suffered under for the last 8 years, we'll just get the same old garbage and no fundamental change at all.  We are already seeing this unfold, with the continued parade of CEO baliouts, letting a Bush-Cheney-Halliburton apologist (Lieberman) continue to hold power over the commitees.

What we are seeing here is nothing less than Obama walking the Election of 2008 backwards, as if it never happened. Obama is insulating himself against any bottom-up movement by ratifying and entrusting the very people that brought you eight years of hell!

The same corrupt clowns, war-hawks, transnational-corporate-crooks, and anti-Constitutionalists, are going to remain in positions of power.

The grassroots should be very angry about this.
We rejected Hillary Clinton, because we thought Obama was better than that.

Obama would have us believe that the NeoCons won their re-election anyway.
We can't seem to get them out of their positions of control.

Convicted Senator Ted Stevens Gets Standing Ovation...

  from the Senate. It must really pay to be a political crook in this country! I'm in the wrong line of work.

Friday's Political Humor

   Nothing better to do this early in the morning, so I decided to post some of the political humor that has been making the rounds as of late.

   First off, the auto bailout.

    "The three big domestic automakers are now saying they are working jointly on a new hybrid car. It runs on a combination of state and federal bailout money." --Jay Leno

"The three C.E.O.s made a huge mistake today. You may have seen this -- they each flew to Washington in their own private jet to ask for $25 billion bailout. Even A.I.G. executives are going, 'What are you thinking?'" --Jay Leno
"They each took their own private jet that cost $20,000 round trip. And here's the sad part, today the Japanese announced they have a jet that costs half that and gets better mileage." --Jay Leno

  Now, on to politics.

         "Because he's a kind of a techno guy, the press is calling Obama the first wired president. As opposed to President Bush, who was the first wiretap president." --Jay Leno

"The annual People magazine 'World's Sexiest Man' issue is on the stands today. Hugh Jackman, 'sexiest man alive.' But this is odd -- Al Franken is demanding a recount." --David Letterman

"Are you excited about Hillary Clinton? It looks like she'll be named Secretary of State. They're talking about that. And she'll also receive the home version of the presidency and some other wonderful prizes." --David Letterman

"Dick Cheney gave Joe Biden tour of the vice president's living quarters. Yeah, afterwards, Biden said he loves the house, but he'll probably turn the dungeon back into a rec room." --Conan O'Brien

"President-elect Obama is meeting every day with his transition team, or in Beltway lingo, his trannies. They are helping him pick who will be in his new government. Over 7,000 presidential appointments are up for grabs. The Obama administration is making history once again by being the only place in America that is currently hiring." --Stephen Colbert        PoliticalHumor

   Enjoy your Friday!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wall Street takes More Loses

  Not that this is news anymore since the market has been going downhill quite a lot as of late.

   The S&P 500 dropped to an 11 1/2 year low supposedly do to fears of a prolonged recession. The fear has brought a major selloff as folks start buying up bonds and what have you issued by the government. Safety in government debt, I guess.

  Today's Indexes


Rep. Henry Waxman To Take Over House Energy & Commerce Committee

   This is according to Roll Call (subscription required), which says that the full House Democratic Caucus voted 137-122 for Waxman over current Chairman John Dingell.

  More on this from DKos

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2008: A Merry Christmas For Wal-Mart

   I really do not care for Wal-Mart all that much, but I happen to live in one of those small towns that other retailers ignore most of the time. That means that I have no choice but to shop at Wal-Mart, or I can drive some 40 miles to a bigger city to shop elsewhere. That don't happen to often.

   I, as do many others in America, buy my groceries from this store. I also buy prescription drugs, electronics, clothing, and many other items there. In my case, Wal-Mart is a sore of convenience. Of Necessity.

   That being said...

Post Writers Group

Marie Cocco       November 18, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Merry Wal-Mart, America.

It is going to be a Wal-Mart Christmas. This is what all the facts and figures tell us, and what Wall Street analysts tell us after they've pored over the monthly retail sales reports, each bleaker than the last. In their odd half-emptiness, this is what the shopping-center parking lots tell us, too.

It is definitely not going to be a General Motors Christmas.

This doesn't depend on whether Congress and the Bush administration manage to rush cash into the coffers of GM and other Detroit automakers. It is not going to be a General Motors Christmas because we long ago stopped being a General Motors country.

What were we like then?

Well, we were a country in which, if you were working class, you were not feeling betrayed and you didn't necessarily feel inferior to, say, the people who sold stock on Wall Street. They could only sell stock if you made a product that backed up that stock. This was nothing like those deals in which nobody can tell what's exchanged except paper and false promises.

Your employer recognized your skills and experience with a healthy, middle-class paycheck. You knew your family's health was protected by good insurance, that your spouse could rely on a decent pension after you were gone and that your children might win a company scholarship to attend college -- or get a job at the plant, an option in which there was no shame.

Wages for production workers in the Big Three automakers averaged $67,480 in 2007, according to the Center for Automotive Research. The companies provide health insurance, directly or indirectly, for 2 million employees, dependents, retirees and employees of some suppliers.

Some people look at that number -- $67,480 -- and see an outrageous union giveaway, the supposedly definitive reason that taxpayers should not bail out Detroit. These same people do not necessarily complain about the bad business decisions auto executives made. Nor do they seem to link the current credit crisis -- inextricably connected to the unspeakable greed among the top guns of Wall Street -- as a direct cause of the industry's current woes. It is.

But just until now, the reasoning went, these executives took risks and that's what makes America work!

Now America is not working very well and so we are going to have a Wal-Mart Christmas.

The giant discounter is the only store where hard-squeezed consumers can afford to buy anything, and so it has kept posting sales gains amid the retail bloodbath. "This is the kind of environment that Sam Walton built this company for," Wal-Mart chief executive H. Lee Scott Jr. told analysts recently.

He should know. Because Wal-Mart has done so much to create this environment.

Long before the stock market meltdown, the foreclosure crisis, the credit crunch and everything else in the cascade of bad economic news that swamps us, there was the income crisis. And the health insurance crisis. And the crisis in whether employers follow the labor laws, or routinely break them.

Here is what Wal-Mart's 2008 annual report says: The company is a defendant in "numerous cases" for alleged violations of wage and hour laws. Generally, they involve employees who say they were forced to work "off the clock," who were denied meal and rest breaks, or who claim the company simply found other ways not to pay them for hours they'd worked.

Wal-Mart also is ensnared in the largest gender-discrimination lawsuit ever, with women claiming they were paid less and denied promotions and transfers that men received. It faces environmental charges from federal and state prosecutors who say Wal-Mart has flouted hazardous waste disposal and other laws.

In June, the National Labor Relations Board found that Wal-Mart illegally fired an employee for union organizing, and determined that the company had illegally threatened employees with a loss of merit pay during a unionization drive.

The company that is now the biggest private-sector employer says the average hourly wage of its workers is $10.86. Wal-Mart has said it considers a 34-hour week as full time, though it declined to respond to my questions about this and other employment issues. Assuming the full-time week is 34 hours, a full-time Wal-Mart "associate" averages $19,200 a year. That's about $2,000 below the 2008 federal poverty level for a family of four.

So, it is going to be a Wal-Mart Christmas. Because we have become a Wal-Mart country, and we are all laid low.

                      c) 2008, Washington Post Writers Group

Labor Statistics from Bureau Of Labor Statistics



In the third quarter of 2008, employers initiated 1,330 mass layoff
events that resulted in the separation of 218,158 workers from their
jobs for at least 31 days, according to preliminary figures released
by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Layoff
events reached their highest level for the third quarter since 2001,
while separations reached their highest level since 2003. The total
number of layoff events was 312 higher in the third quarter 2008 than
the same period a year earlier, and the number of associated
separations increased by 58,134

 Among the seven categories of economic reasons for layoff, business
demand accounted for the highest share of events (43 percent) and
number of separations (76,979) in July-September 2008. (See table B.)
The largest over-the-year increases in the number of separations
occurred in layoffs attributed to business demand factors (+27,711)
and organizational changes (+10,533). Within business demand, the
number of separations due to slack work nearly doubled to 41,116,
while in organizational changes, layoffs attributed to business-
ownership changes more than doubled to 11,692. Within financial
issues, the number of workers terminated because of bankruptcies
nearly doubled over the year to 12,156.

   Permanent closure of worksites occurred in 15 percent of all
extended mass layoff events and affected 50,025 workers during the
third quarter of 2008. Thirty-one percent of employers reporting a
layoff indicated they anticipate some type of recall, down from 38
percent a year earlier and the lowest third quarter proportion since
2002. Excluding seasonal events, employers anticipated recalling
workers in 20 percent of the layoffs, matching third quarter 2002 as
the lowest proportion for any quarter since data collection began in

Another Ethics Complaint Against Sarah Palin

  I told you that Palin would be the gift that keeps on giving. Of course, we all knew that already.

Zane Henning, the Wasilla man who made a public records request for thousands of e-mails from Palin aides, has filed a new ethics complaint against the governor.

His charge: That Palin is breaking state ethics rules by talking about her campaign and promoting her political career from her state office. He’s focusing largely on this recent interview with Greta Van Susteren in the Atwood building, but also cites her Nov. 7 interview with reporters in the lobby of the governor’s office.

“These video reports show Sarah Palin speaking to numerous reporters in her Republican vice-presidential candidate capacity defending and still promoting herself and not as the governor of Alaska representing Alaskans,” Henning writes.

Here's the complaint. Henning says he had a courier deliver it to Attorney General Talis Colberg this morning. He’s looking for a Personnel Board investigation into the accusations.    Entire Article

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Vice President Cheney Indicted

   I've just got home from work, so I'm not to sure on the details of this story.

   The story I'm quoting comes from Fox News, but I'll be looking for other sources as the evening goes on.

A South Texas grand jury has indicted Vice President Dick Cheney and former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on charges related to the alleged abuse of prisoners in Willacy County's federal detention centers.

The indictment criticizes Cheney's investment in the Vanguard Group, which holds interests in the private prison companies running the federal detention centers. It accuses Cheney of a conflict of interest and "at least misdemeanor assaults" on detainees by working through the prison companies.

Gonzales is accused of using his position while in office to stop an investigation into abuses at the federal detention centers.

  We'll see what else pops up on this story.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Obama And McCain Hold Meeting

   Joint Statement issued by Obama and McCain.

"At this defining moment in history, we believe that Americans of all parties want and need their leaders to come together and change the bad habits of Washington so that we can solve the common and urgent challenges of our time."

"It is in this spirit that we had a productive conversation today about the need to launch a new era of reform where we take on government waste and bitter partisanship in Washington in order to restore trust in government, and bring back prosperity and opportunity for every hardworking American family," it said. "We hope to work together in the days and months ahead on critical challenges like solving our financial crisis, creating a new energy economy and protecting our nation's security."

  Future White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel was also present, as was close friend of John McCain, Senator Lindsey Graham.

    Now. I can understand why Emanuel would be at this meeting, but Senator Graham?  This criminal has no business being anywhere near President-elect Obama, or any Democrat, for that matter. It is part of Graham's genius which has brought on our financial banking difficulties in the first place. WTF?

    I do question Obama having this man present at this meeting. I'm also hoping that Obama doesn't take any of Graham's advice. If he does? We're screwed.

   As an added bonus, you can learn more about senator Graham by reading this NYTimes article.

Paulson And The Bailout

  The financial bailout, that is. The Bush Crime Family has once again bent the taxpayer over and rammed the big one straight up our asses. Paulson needs to be replaced and investigated for activities which could/should include fraud.

   I do like the following idea.

WASHINGTON, November 17 - Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said today he will introduce legislation to stop the release of a $350-billion second round of the Wall Street bailout.

Sanders, who voted against the $700-billion package Congress approved in October, said he has serious concerns about how the Bush administration and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson are spending the bailout money that was already released.  He also said it was unacceptable that the oversight provisions in the bill were ignored. Source

  And then there is this from the Financial Times

A senior Republican senator is seeking an investigation into potential conflicts of interest among former Goldman Sachs executives serving at the US Treasury and whether any officials exceeded their authority by implementing a controversial tax change without the approval of Congress.

Chuck Grassley, the most senior Republican on the Senate finance committee, asked Eric Thorson, inspector-general of the Treasury, to investigate the "independence" of several Treasury officials who formerly worked at Goldman Sachs and serve as advisers to Treasury secretary Hank Paulson, the former chief executive of the Wall Street bank.

Mr Grassley said in a letter to Mr Thorson that there was reason to be concerned that “relationships” between the officials and board members at two merging banks, Wells Fargo and Wachovia, gave the “appearance of preferential treatment”.

Mr Grassley singled out Robert Steel, a former Goldman official who worked under Mr Paulson at the Treasury before he became chief executive of Wachovia.

Mr Grassley is specifically concerned with a change in the tax code the Treasury initiated in late September that saved some institutions tens of billions of dollars and paved the way for Wells Fargo's acquisition of Wachovia.

Rasmussen Polling: Obama Gets Good Marks


The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Approval Index for Sunday shows Barack Obama enjoying a +19 rating.

More voters are concerned that Obama will bring too much change to the nation rather than too little. Most Democrats worry there will be too little change while Republicans and unaffiliated voters hold the opposite view.

Overall, 59% of voters somewhat or strongly approve of Obama’s performance so far while 38% disapprove. Michelle Obama also receives positive reviews.

  So why are they polling on Obama's performance when the only thing that he has done thus far is to pick his cabinet?

             The number of voters who say the nation is heading in the right direction and confidence in the War on Terror have also increased. A plurality of voters believe that Obama will govern as a partisan Democrat rather than on bipartisan basis.

While Republicans are disappointed in last week’s results, 78% believe it’s likely that the next President after Obama will be from the GOP.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

AIG's New Slogan: Your Tax Dollars,Our Bonuses

  AIG is turning out to be one very brazen company with the $152 billion dollars that they have collected from you and myself. It seems now that the company is going to be paying out some $503 million in compensation to their top executives.

   Dollars & Sense

After receiving endless grief about spending millions on lavish corporate retreats, executives have decided to take the more direct route and pay out an extra $503 million in corporate compensation to top executives.

In their defense, AIG officials said that the half-billion dollar payout was necessary to keep its top talent (you know, the people who've been doing such a great job with the company) from leaving. They also stress that the payout's won't come from the taxpayer-funded bailout money. It will come from their secret stash of money hidden deep in a fortified bunker.

    More on this from The Washington Post

The Bush Administration: The Last Throes Of This Insurgency


  I'll just bet that the paper shredders are running 24/7.