Powered by TypePad

« I Am Not As Cuil As Formerly | Main | What Has Barack Ever Done? Matt Yglesias Makes It Look Easy! »

July 28, 2008


Rick Ballard

Michael O'Hanlon of Brookings gets it about right - the rest are playing memebot very well.

It's amusing that these experts (O'Hanlon excepted) make no reference to the length of time required to raise and train reliable Iraqi security forces. It is also interesting to note the abject failure of these experts to assign any value to Maliki's operation in Basra - the one that makes their reference to Mookies "truce" rather risible.

An excellent meme production effort with the result that the analysis is lacking.

Shocker, I know.


No mention either,that Sadr is Iran's,lock stock and beard.Time to resurrect the word Quisling.


Rick, Lt Col Nagl doesn't deserve to be thrown in with the TAPists.

Danube of Thought

Bear in mind that it takes twenty years to train a US infantry battalion commander. What the US has accomplished with the Iraqis in roughly four years is pretty amazing to me.

I didn't fly-speck all of the comments, although for many years I have found it easy to ignore anything said by Juan Cole or Lawrence Korb, both of whom are contentious ideologues. (It was Cole who declared that a principal cause of 9/11 was some event in Israel that actually didn't occur until April of 2002.)

I tend to agree with the multiple-cause analysis, with the surge being an important and essential one. We've had some good luck; we had some good luck at Midway, too, but that's warfare.

Rick Ballard


You're absolutely correct - I thought I read all ten but I somehow missed him. Totally an error of omission on my part. His last sentence

Meanwhile, years of patient work nurturing the Iraqi Security Forces are finally beginning to pay off with forces that are increasingly capable, competent -- and responsive to the rule of law.
encapsulates what I've been attempting to say.

Our armed forces have done a suberb job in aiding and advising the Iraqis as they raised the forces necessary to maintain order. The surge troops provided the backstop necessary in case the Iraqis slipped. They didn't slip and Maliki's operation in Basra showed that they can do the job without much more help.

Time to fire up the Tommy Franks/Al Anbar Joint Armor Training Facility in preparation for the Tehran/Damascus show. By '10 it will be time to raise the curtain.


" The surge's purpose was to have a military time frame where there would be military, uh, security to enable the government of Iraq to make the political changes necessary for reconciliation. I said it before when I was here, and I'll say it again. Even with all the time that has elapsed, they still have not done that. The purpose of the surge was to pass the laws to bring reconciliation, so we could bring our troops home safely soon, honorably and responsibly; and that has not happened. Now the government of Iraq is saying, "We want you to go home," so maybe the time has come for us to sit down with them and figure that out."

-Nancy Pelosi on "The View" this morning. (She also reminded everyone that she is third in line for the thrones of the Presidency)

Don't remind me Nazi Pelosi, I am scared enough. :)

Rick Ballard


Never forget to include Reid with the Dem Oil Nazis.

"No oil for you, America"

Harry, Nan and the Copperhead Caucus say so.

Barry Dauphin

Basically, there are many disgruntled lefties who hope to split so many hairs that Bush can receive no credit for success in Iraq. I'd rather be head butted by Hulk Hogan than yes, butted by that crowd.

Danube of Thought

I love the stuff about how what really caused our success was the tribes' decisons to oppose Al Qaeda and side with us, and Sadr's decision to cool it.

What really caused our success in World War II was Hirohito's decision to surrender, and Hitler's decision to commit suicide. Without those two events, all of our effort would have been wasted. The "surges" at Normandy, Nagasaki and Hiroshima were pretty much distractions.

Danube of Thought

This could be a lot of fun...

The principal reason for the British success at the Nile was Adm. Brueys's decision to anchor in Aboukir Bay. Horatio Nelson really had very little to do with it.

You want more?



It seems that when gas hit $4.00 a gallon is when people started paying attention and voicing their anger. If it stays under $4.00 until the election, will the Democratic Congress do anything? Since gas is always higher in the summer time will it go down? (That of course, does not take into any concideration of Iran and their war games)
Also, all amendments would need 60 votes to pass the senate and Nazi Pelosi says she won't allow a vote on a bill that includes new offshore oil drilling. What a mess but a great issue to win in November if we had anyone with a backbone on our side.

I should of mentioned that clip was from RUSH who made a point of contrasting it with Obama's remarks on MTP. Which was:

OBAMA: There's no doubt that the violence has gone down more than any of us anticipated, including President Bush and John McCain. If you -- if you -- if you had talked to them, uh, and -- and said, you know, what, we're going to bring down violence to levels that we have, I think -- I suspect USA Today's own editorial board wouldn't have anticipated that.

Rush's point was:

Pelosi today on The View says the surge isn't working because the politicians of Iraq have not taken control of their country. Obama says it's worked better than even Bush or Cheney thought, or McCain thought.

Danube of Thought

The real reason we succeeded at Iwo Jima was that all the Japanese defenders died. The US Marine Corps' role was more or less a peripheral one.

OK, I've had two Martinis and I'm on a roll. I'll kick back and wait for the contributions of others, but I do think this is a target-rich environment.


Cole's point about the Dulaim tribesmen, is important. However, the same dynamicoccurred
in Salahuddin, (Nineveh)Mosul, and other areas (Mosul was where one of the leading lights of the Ilkwan; Ahmed al Ghamdi, son of the Saudi Ambassador to Sudan; detonated himself at a base canteen back in Christmas 2005; apparently using an Iraqi Natl Guard uniform) Now it's one of one stalwart bases
of the Sahwas. Had the US pulled out, as most who had "Civil War" at the peak of the tribal Awakenings or Sahwas; had recommended
they would not have likely prevailed. That is the point about Col. (now Gen.McFarland's
remarks) Not only that, but the Sadr and Badr onslaughts, would have likely brought more direct intervention by aggrieved Sunni parties in Arabia, Egypt, et al; not to mention the intervention from AQ elements in Shia sanctuaries like Seyf al Adel. Biddle, was among the more nuanced voices arguing it was a 'consocial civil war' but
none the less argued against continued deployments. In that he echoed
unintentionally? the remarks of the likes of Maliki; who previously was considered so inept that he was nearly given the Diem or
Khanh treatment.


Isn't this all we really need to know about the war and the surge:

Michael O'Hanlon: "I]t was the United States that organized the Awakening tribes into a coherent military and policing effort. It was the United States, with Iraqi Security Forces, that cleared cities like Ramadi — and unlike in past efforts, kept forces there afterwards to preserve the stability and keep extremists like al-Qaeda in Iraq out of the places from which they had been driven. It was the United States that sufficiently intimidated Muqtada al-Sadr into realizing a ceasefire better served his interests than would a renewal of battle. It was American and Iraqi security forces that, in larger numbers than before and with new operational guidelines and tactics, built blast barriers near markets, put up concrete dividers along sectarian fault lines in Baghdad, created joint security stations and started walking the streets to protect the Iraqi population, and conducted raids on insurgent safehouses and weapons caches at two to three times the rate of previous years (largely due to improved intelligence made possible by a safer, friendler, better protected population). And through all these combined efforts, it was largely the United States that was able to figure out which Iraqi commanders needed to be purged — and that then put pressure on the Iraqi government to replace them.” (via HotAir plus exciting Pelosi video if you have the stomach)

Obama can get away with his meaningless carp but not this!!!


I like a man who drinks Martini's and then just sits back waiting to knock down targets!

Meanwhile, back to my Manhattans and being a target (a little inside joke DOT).


Let us not forget that Alexander only conquered large swaths of Asia because of the assassination of Darius III. The retreats from Issus and Gaugamela were a crucial part of Darius' campaign, a fact that is only appreciated by such great tacticians as Barack Obama, who, like Darius, saw his well-conceived strategy undone by the ill-considered actions of others.


Horatio Nelson really had very little to do with it.


Same with Trafalgar. The real reason the British won was becuase the French and Spanish lost all those ships. Nelson's unorthodox battle plan had nothing to do with it. And Napoleon was off mucking about with Austria and Russia and didn't care about England anymore so it didn't really matter anyway.


HotAir says Wikipedia has "locked" in John Edwards' entry so no "rumors" can be entered. How does he rate?


Napoleon only lost to Wellington because he wanted to be remembered inaccurately in the lyrics of the most celebrated of all Eurovision Song Contest entries.

Thank you for the music!


I love the stuff about how what really caused our success was the tribes' decisons to oppose Al Qaeda and side with us, and Sadr's decision to cool it.
So we win, they lose. Nice to see Congress getting on board with Reagan's strategy.

Danube of Thought

Seriously, folks--in the long term (next 99 days), I don't think that downplaying the role played by American soldiers and marines in this thing is a good way to win over the undecideds. If this glib fraud doesn't come up with a better line of spin he could regret this whole dispute.

Rick Ballard
And the third aspect is security. When we got in there, it became apparent to our troops on the ground that we had a lot of training to do. We had to really rebuild an army to make sure that people had the skills necessary to be able to fight off those who want to stop the march of democracy. First we trained the army for threats from outside the country. But we realized the true threats were inside the country, whether it be the Saddamists, some Sunni rejectionists, or al Qaeda that was in there torturing and killing and maiming in order to get their way.

And we're making progress when it comes to training the troops. More and more Iraqis are taking the fight. Right after the bombing of the Golden Mosque, for example, is an interesting indication as to whether or not the Iraqi troops are getting better.

The enemy can't defeat us militarily, by the way. They can't beat us on the field of battle. But the only thing they can do is they can either try to stop democracy from moving -- they failed on that. Last year, they failed. Their stated objective was just not to let democracy get going, and they flunked the test. Now they're trying to foment a civil war. See, that's the only way they can win. And they blew up the mosque. And there was some awful violence, some reprisals taking place. And I can understand people saying, man, it's all going to -- it's not working out. But the security forces did a pretty good job of keeping people apart.

In other words, it was a test. It was a test for the security forces, and it was a test for the Iraqi government. The way I like to put it is they looked into the abyss as to whether or not they want a civil war or not, and chose not to. That's not to say we don't have more work to do, and we do -- (applause.) But it's important for me to continue -- look, I'm an optimistic guy. I believe we'll succeed. Let me tell you this -- put it to you this way: If I didn't think we'd succeed, I'd pull out troops out. I cannot look mothers and dads in the eye -- (applause) -- I can't ask this good Marine to go into harm's way if I didn't believe, one, we're going to succeed; and, two, it's necessary for the security of the United States. (Applause.)

And it's tough fighting. It's tough fighting, because we got an enemy that's just cold-blooded. They can't beat us militarily, but they can try to shake our will. See, remember, I told you, they have said that it's just a matter of time, just a matter of time before the United States loses its nerve. I believe we're doing the right thing, and we're not going to retreat in the face of thugs and assassins. (Applause.) Thank you.

It's the Iraqis' fight. Ultimately, the Iraqis are going to have to determine their future. They made their decision politically; they voted. And these troops that we're training are going to have to stand up and defend their democracy. We got work, by the way, in '06 to make sure the police are trained as adequately as the military, the army. It's their choice to make. And I like to put it this way: As they stand up, we'll stand down.

But I want to say something to you about troop levels, and I know that's something that people are talking about in Washington a lot. I'm going to make up my mind based upon the advice of the United States military that's in Iraq. I'll be making up my mind about the troop levels based upon recommendations of those who are on the ground. I'm going to make up my mind based upon achieving a victory, not based upon polls, focus groups or election-year politics.

President Bush - March 22, 2006

I suppose that was way too complicated for the experts to understand.


Rick,thanks for posting that. I remember listening with some smalle trepidition as he said:
"They can't beat us militarily, but they can try to shake our will. See, remember, I told you, they have said that it's just a matter of time, just a matter of time before the United States loses its nerve. I believe we're doing the right thing, and we're not going to retreat in the face of thugs and assassins. (Applause.)"
and saying a prayer for the President who was taking such a beating from all sides.(please God, let it work.)And now thankfulness for a steadfast President and our incredible troops. God bless 'em all!




Amen here too.


Good Morning to all!
I'd like to add my amen. I thank God that President Bush occupies the White House today and not John Kerry. As SWarren says our troops are incredible. May God bless everyone of them and their families.

glenda waggoner

Good Morning, all:
Clarice and other esteemed members of the Bar--DID YOU CATCH GORELICK'S OPINION PIECE IN THE POST? Oh my gosh, she/the ??? author of the "wall" at justice complains about republicans actually wanting to work with republicans when they were the ones who actually had won the past two executive elections whose right it was to hire/fire?
This is not original. They are starting to bring out their old dems in charge to destroy President Bush's legacy. But it won't work, the bloggers are there to set it straight.
Oh, Clarice, DOT, answer her back.


gw, I was nauseated halfway through and quit reading it.


Hail, morning contingent.


Gorelick is one of the clearest examples of media bias. She was deeply enmeshed in two of the biggest disasters of recent American history. She literally created "the wall", agaist the strong objections of career DoJ prosecutors, which resulted making 9/11 much harder to prevent. Then, after that, she was a senior exec at Fannie Mae, where she racked in millions of un-deserved bonuses thanks to "Enron style" accounting. Yet she is still allowed to publish OpEds in major papers. If she were a Republican she would have be roundly ignored and her devistating history would be brought up any time she raised her head and tried to speak.

Rick Ballard

As time passes it's worth considering that the surge was necessitated by the existence of the worthless, gutless, backstabbing bastards who comprise the core of the Copperhead Caucus (as distinguished from the Blue Dog caucus - primarily by the yellow streak with a red border running down their backs). They are the ones who gave AQ and the Sunni sheiks who had invited them into their homes the will to continue and they are the ones who gave that same hope to Sadr and his followers.

Both sets of murderous thugs drew strength from the knowledge that, as brave and as ruthlessly efficient as American forces had proven themselves to be, there existed enough widespread rot within the American political system (aided and abetted by the media) that if they just kept up the indiscriminate slaughter for a while longer, the Congressional cowards, as exemplified by Barrack Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid might be able to turn the tide in their favor.

The Copperhead Caucus killed Americans and Iraqis as surely as any jihadi did and they did it in pursuit of political power. Until the Copperhead Caucus is driven from the leadership of the Democrat Party, the party will remain, IMO, the home of sedition - and treason when the Copperheads feel they can get away with it.

That's why I'll be voting for a man for whom I have very little respect. I would no more give my vote to a cowardly piece of crap like Obama than I would to Josef Stalin - and I will not withhold my vote and give such a creature support by doing so.


Bravo Rick Ballard and I agree on all points.

“I’m trying to save the planet; I’m trying to save the planet,” she Pelosi] says impatiently when questioned. “I will not have this debate trivialized by their excuse for their failed policy.”

Get a life.


Yahoo currently has a headline saying:
"UPS saves fuel by turning right".
Just think how much could be saved if all of America turned right.




Some of us were born right.


Pelosi's characteristic of the warmers; they are getting shrill and desperate.


Bad, that was a good link. IMO, everyone born in the USA is born right, it's just that some
(in fact-an entire political party) went left and have ended up wrong.

Rick Ballard, that was a great post. I would have added that the killing of American and allied soldiers by the American left started in Vietnam, but you got everything you covered right. That would be a great read for Rush on his show. Even better would be a full page ad in a major pro American (are there any?) newspaper.


Successful Surges...Against Japanese Beetles

Today's D Section of the WSJ has letters from readers who offer their own remedies in response to the War of the Roses article about Japanese Beetles. The listed techniques include:

Domestic fowl: chickens and guinea fowl. Claims for "100%" success, although free ranging can be a problem.

Sevin: Excellent results.

Nematodes: Discourages the little buggers, but doesn't eliminate.

Milky Spores: Claims for excellent results.


Pelosi may be getting desperate, but she started shrill.


Chickens or Sevin? Nematodes or milky spores? Choices, choices.

Think I will go with the Sevin.

(I have no idea what the heck milky spores are!)


Rasmussen today:
"The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that Barack Obama’s Berlin bounce is gone. Obama now attracts 44% of the vote while John McCain earns 42%. When "leaners" are included, it’s Obama 47% and McCain 46%. Compared to a week ago, Obama has gained a single percentage point (see recent daily results). However, the week’s polling showed a roller-coaster of opinion surrounding Obama’s big speech. The event in Berlin was well-covered and initial reviews on the speech were positive"


Defeated Surge...Against Fannie Mae Bailout

The WSJ today has a must read lead editorial, Fannie Mae's Political Immunity. Now, you might ask, what could possibly buy you political immunity, and the answer of course is: money. Lots of money. But wait, that sounds corrupt, you say. Surely the purchase of political immunity is illegal? Not when the money is given to the people who make the laws, it's not. Here are some quotes.

President Bush is poised to sign the housing and Fannie Mae bailout bill, after the Senate passed it with 72 votes on the weekend. But an underreported part of this story is that Majority Leader Harry Reid refused to allow a vote on Republican Jim DeMint's amendment to bar political donations and lobbying by Fannie and its sibling, Freddie Mac.


We believe in the right of individuals and businesses to lobby Congress. But with Fan and Fred now explicitly guaranteed by taxpayers, letting them ladle cash all over Washington amounts to using government-guaranteed profits to lobby for continued government protection. Congress sets the rules in favor of Fan and Fred, which then repay the Members with cash from their rigged profit stream. This is the government lobbying itself for more government.

And, oh, what a stream of political cash it is. First, there are Fannie and Freddie's political action committees, which have already distributed roughly $800,000 to U.S. House and Senate Members this election cycle. Nearly half of the Senators have received funds and almost all of the money is directed to incumbents. Fannie gave $10,000 to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, $10,000 to third-ranking House Democrat Rahm Emanuel, $5,000 to Barney Frank, $10,000 to Republican House whip Roy Blunt, $8,500 to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and $7,500 to Minority Leader John Boehner and . . . you get the picture.


Then there are the "charitable" foundations. Freddie Mac's foundation handed out $25 million to political groups, think tanks and other Beltway outfits in 2007 alone, more than any other foundation in the country, according to the Washington Business Journal. Guess which foundation ranked number two? Yep, Fannie Mae's, which gave out $21 million. The foundations grew thanks to gifts of stock during the companies' heyday before their accounting scandals and the housing bust. Last year, as political scrutiny increased, Fannie closed down its foundation and now runs its tax-deductible donations through the company itself.

Most of this foundation money goes to charity groups uninvolved in politics and policy. But tens of millions of dollars find their way to policy advocacy groups on the left and even some on the right. (See nearby table.) Affiliates of Acorn, the left-wing activist group, have received multiple $100,000 grants for their "housing" activities.

Jesse Jackson's Citizenship Education Fund, an offshoot of his Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, has received more than $500,000 from Fannie and Freddie since 1996. A decade ago Mr. Jackson accused Fannie and Freddie of discriminatory lending practices. Those charges of racism went away once the grant money started flowing. Groups on the left complain about "corporate welfare" all the time, but curiously nary a one has opposed the Fannie and Freddie bailout -- which amounts to one of the biggest corporate welfare gifts in U.S. history.

I've been critical of John McCain, so I owe it to him to quote this brief article in full:

McCain to Fannie Mae: Go Away July 26, 2008; Page A8

In the rush to bulldoze the Fannie Mae-Freddie Mac and housing bailout bill through Congress this week, scant attention has been paid in Washington to how the U.S. system fell into this hole. Thus it was refreshing to see Senator John McCain step up and speak rude truth to his colleagues about the fiasco in an op-ed piece this week.

"Americans should be outraged at the latest sweetheart deal in Washington," the Republican presidential hopeful wrote in the St. Petersburg Times, stating the clear but all-too-often unspoken reality about this greatest of boondoggles. Yesterday 80 Senators voted to end debate on the bill. Only 13 voted against. That makes it all but inevitable that the bailout will pass today and go to the President early next week. Senator Jim DeMint has slowed the bill by requesting a commitment from his colleagues that sometime in the future, they would hold a vote on barring Fannie and Freddie from lobbying.

Senator McCain, who wasn't present for the cloture vote, also called for an end to their multimillion-dollar lobbying campaign. More importantly, he called for "making them [Fannie and Freddie] go away," as in, be no more. Receivership may indeed by the only option if a regulator can't get the far-flung activities of these two under control.

Politics today is endless self-calculation, but Mr. McCain deserves some credit for bucking the Washington consensus on this debacle. Barack Obama likely won't be in the Senate tomorrow for the vote on the bailout, but voters deserve to know whether he sides with the Beltway mortgage combines or taxpayers when it comes to Fan and Fred.

Rick Ballard

Karl has a truly excellent piece on The [truly gutless] One and his "achievements". It's a clip and save for review as we count down the 100 days.


The warmer/peakers have a problem similiar to that of business writers who invested heavily in knocking the economy. Reality just isn't cooperating. Pelosi, as head of the progressive immiseration movement, can shriek until she's hoarse but the ice won't melt and it still snowed in Sydney.


They let the 'zelig of disaster' back in the pen; I'll coin the phrase as my own,
mentioned it twice now. So she went from
authorizing the 'rendition' of Elian Gonzalez (to paraphrase the apocryphal line
attributed to Baker, F!#$$ @#, They don't vote for them)at the same time, that her memo made discovery of Al Midhar and Al Hamzi; the Mecca twins, motivated by Bosnia
and Chechnya, almost impossible to identify.
She then goes on the 9/11 Commission, effectively whitewashing her negligence and Berger's 'editing of the 2000 after action report' wait for it, goes to Wilmer Cutler Pickering, represents a plaintiff in the 9/11 class action suits; the head of the Islamic Banking Federation, possibly using
inside information, she gleaned from the commission (conjecture, but reasonably arrived) receives a 'botella' as the political sinecures that Charles Magoon
brought from Ohio's political machine,
would be characterized; as a director with Fannie Mae, which along with Freddie's exposure, could cost 40 years in Iraq. Thanks to Raines (who cooked the budget books, Enron/Global/World Com after '97,
the real reason, that Cogan chart from
Hoover is samizdat)Meanwhile, it seems the only punishment is to aggressively look for conservative candidates and Sampson & Goodling are learning. To prevent another Walsh, Fiske (at Justice, or more to the point, a recess appointment like Glenn Fine) McCarthy, Armstrong at CIA, is apparently a criminal offense. Only Bolton, Reich (A Cuban Jew whose parents were Holocaust survivors can be characterized as Nazis) Negroponte, (because he chose not to betray another people to communism; Honduras)the former Congressional staffers who made up Goss's top staff are to be barred from high office. Rodriguez, the only top Company/NCS man who was burned
without consequence, and will likely be forced to regret defending his associates
from malicious law suits (re; the tapes) Stimson, Coughlin, can actually be forced
out of the Pentagon, for haramunderstandings
of the facts; regarding the War on Terror. A fellow like Brennan can go from Tenet's briefer to chief of Station in Riyadh; the Temple of Doom, to the TTIC to the Obama campaign; while running the Analyst Shop; whose security is pitiful without nary a comment.
That is the irony of the outrage over
'outsourcing intelligence' and green badges
at Langley; most likely like Maguire, the station chief who leaked his way out of his Baghdad posting; Armitage, Zinni, Grenier,
et al, they are more likely administration critics rather than agency stalwarts of the administration. What's Herr Drumheller doing now a days; what does one when you're in between return gigs to Matthews and Olbermann. Pay attention, Scott (this is your life now) ;'Jacob Marley's chains clanging in the distance.

Lake, it is suggested can preside over the toppling of half a dozen friendly regimes
(Diem, '63, Minh, Tranh, Cambodia,Nicaragua,
Iran, with efforts in Guatemala, El Salvador ,et al) and be on the cue for Secretary of State, in the "Prophet's" administration; one saw the arrogance when he was denied his rightful posting at CIA
based on his record. Richardson is never to be asked what were the terms of his negotiations in Iraq, Sudan, N. Korea, Cuba
(most fatally and faithfully)Leverett, who probably arranged the 'Rendition Express' to the Dar Falastin office of the Syrian
Mukharabat, that gave the Maher Ahar case, will likely be promoted to division chief.


Incipient Surge...Against India

A sobering article from the WSJ (I do read other papers, but...): Target: India.

Now I'm off to prime woodwork and leave you in peace.


narciso--zelig of disaster is certainly copyrighted to you and it is a brilliant phrase.
I wish I could get you to slow down and write with more detail and explanation so even a dunce like me could get all you are saying.


"The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that Barack Obama’s Berlin bounce is gone."

Never hath such a great figure traveled so many miles and made so many photo ops and spoke to so many people for so little a bounce.


And in the "no limit to arrogance category"...

ARLINGTON, Virginia (CNN) – Barack Obama told donors at a Monday night fundraiser just across the Potomac River from Washington that “the odds of us winning are very good."


Did you guys see LUN from Gateway Pundit? Apparently Obama made it pretty clear in Iraq that it was important to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq in order to validate his "judgment".

What a guy!



Here is what I am rapidly coming to as a conclusion on this. I too have never seen a bounce evaporate so fast. Like morning dew, gone by 10 am.

I am starting to think that Obama's one strength, his speechifying is becoming a weakness. The press told us the Berlin speech was amazing. And some voters obviously initially reacted positively.

But it appears to me that soaring rhetoric speech well delivered, are quickly becoming olestra filled speechs. That is there is no substance and when the speech is read and comprehended, that is quite apparent. Plus there is the whole arrogance and not having much to be arrogant about. Kerry lost partially because he was not likable. Obama seems to be heading in the same direction.

What happens to this guy when his handlers can no longer tightly script every move, keep press and public well behind the rope lines and artificial boundaries and he must react in public debates? I would say thinking Democrats should be concerned. Of course Hill Democrats may be secretly gloating.


important to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in Iraq in order to validate his "judgment".

At the risk of sounding bitter AND cynical-- did you really expect any better from the speech spewer?


GMax--remember, too--his only debates were as part of a giant kickline with the moderators generally giving him the fluff questions and no follow up.

Even lefty Richard Cohen of the Wa Po can't think of a single accomplishment of note other than the 2004 speech he gave at the Dem convention.

As for his strong point--his speechifying, not a single phrase is as memorable or quotatble (or steal-able as narciso's "zelig of disaster" or Rick's "Ambassador Munchausen").


At the risk of sounding bitter AND cynical-- did you really expect any better from the speech spewer?

Yeah I guess I did.


What happens to this guy when his handlers can no longer tightly script every move...

What happens to the US after he is elected when his advisors are busy doing the bidding of Pelosi and Reid while this guy is spending large chunks of time thinking?




Not to mention energy, passion, or excitement in Obama himself in his recent speeches. They seem to be as though coming from a robot. And, after most of the public hearing the Rev. Wright there is a ghost of him in some of Obama's cadence and pronunciation.


"I am starting to think that Obama's one strength, his speechifying is becoming a weakness."

Could be, Gmax, especially if the perception really sticks that its all fluff and no substance. If the election can be shaped into "wow Obama is a great orator, but he is going to double the capital gains tax and cost me a lot of dough" people might be able to live with "my friends" instead.

Danube of Thought

Mornin', Jane et al.

Did I simply get out of bed on the right side this morning, or is the bloom finally coming off the rose? Are we gonna look back at the European trip and say that was his peak, and he peaked too early?

I'm fascinated by the wailing-wall note story. The paper that published Obama's prayer--and got attacked for it--now says that publication was pre-approved by the Obama campaign. Not only that, copies of the handwritten prayer were distributed by the campaign at the King David Hotel. In the meantime, the campaign has acquiesced in the whole invasion-of-privacy theme adopted by the press. If these facts are accurate, we're looking at wilful deception, exposed. Eager to see how this plays out.


Any of the regulars who remember back when I tried to explain Collateralized Debt Obligations and residuals using a cookie dough reference, I wanted to point out that yesterday ML agreed to sell the CDOs for $.22 on the dollar. That is quite low and while not zero gives you an idea of how crazy some of the valuations on the residuals and B pieces got.

I happen to believe that well studied they are worth a lot more than $.22, so that someone is going to make a lot on Wall Street ignorance but brokerage houses are not good places to park long term illiquid investments.

If Citicorp follows soon with a sale of their own, we will start to be on the road to solving the investment bank crisis.


Glenn Greenwald has an surrealistic article in Salon (via Real Clear Politics) claiming that the reason Congress is unpopular is that the Blue Dogs wont help with a far left agenda. His prescription is that they should be defeated, even if it elects Republicans in their place, in order to achieve "ideological purity" (my words). If you can stomach the idea that Nancy Polosi is part of a "functional right wing dominance of Congress" you can pick up the link at RCP.


Was it Glenn or one of the sock puppets that wrote the article? You have to look carefully as they all sound the same!

Danube of Thought

Amir Taheri in the NYPost today:

"Iraqis were most surprised by Obama's apparent readiness to throw away all the gains made in Iraq simply to prove that he'd been right in opposing the 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein. 'He gave us the impression that the last thing he wanted was for Iraq to look anything like a success for the United States,' a senior Iraqi official told me. 'As far as he is concerned, this is Bush's war and must end in lack of success, if not actual defeat.'

"Even so, Obama knows that most Americans believe they're still at war with an enemy prepared to use terror against them. So he can't do what his antiwar base wants - declare an end to the War on Terror and the start of a period of love and peace in which 'citizens of the world' build bridges between civilizations.

"That's why Obama is trying to adopt Afghanistan as 'his' war. He claims that Bush's focus on Iraq has left Afghanistan an orphan in need of love and attention. Even though US military strategy is to enable America to fight two major wars simultaneously, Obama seems to believe that only one war is possible at a time."


Now the question is, who was on the Citicorp board, when they turned to subprime as collateral for their portfolios.
Deutsch and Nora Slatkin; the former CIA chief and executive director respectfully; for their financial acumen. Who together purged those officials in the DDO who had been considered too zealous in their work, (Ward, Brugger, et al)purged an asset list in the thousands, closed down CIA bases in key locations, like Hamburg and Dusseldorf
Of course, Rubin, joined later, managing their European outreach which as burned not a few foreign banks, like Northern Rock, now rising to the top over John Reed's body, and advising how to get out of the economic 'recession' in NewsWeek he had a not so insignificant role in precipitating. Chutzpah never smelled so rank. Lay at least
had a track record of achievement, both in govt and without; that's why the Golden boys, Rubin and Corzine, picked him to head
the HNG/ merger called Enron.

Rick Ballard


We mustn't skip Greenspan's very heavy thumb on the interest rate scales in '04-'06. Much of the mortgage fiasco just wouldn't have been possible without the Fed dishing out basically free money for much longer than the circumstances warranted.

BTW - for those following the effects of the Bush Drilling Rescission, the total drop is now over $27 with resistance at the $120 level. If it cracks $120 there really isn't another support level until $100 (maybe). Warm your thoughts with a contemplation of all the 30-50 year old women who are limiting their shopping forays and summer fun trips with the house monkeys watching the Dem Oil Nazis do their "No oil for you, America" dance in front of the cameras.


Well mark this as a turning point in the market. Minyanville who has been a doom and gloomer for quite some time now, has announced long positions in both Merrill Lynch and Wachovia Bank today. Next he will be buying homebuilders.

These sectors are pretty beat up, and if this guy sees bottom I would suggest at least some financial spiders long may make you a pretty return in the coming year.


I must have imagined the time,when Greenspan
hiked rates, 18 times consecutively,between 2004 and 2006. A large number of the
mortgages reset at that point. This is not new in practice; Greenspan raised rates in the mid to late 90s, and it's impact, along with that of the modest surge in oil prices back then; popping the tech bubble, and toppling regional economies like Venezuela. This may have had something to do with the
Asian and Russian crisis, provoked by Soros.

Rick Ballard


You're right, of course, the thumb on the scales was '03-'04. The increase in '95-'00 were off of lows generated by the almost a recession in '92 weren't they?



Can you drop in the link to your CDO comment?

Something that I was wondering about with those things-has anyone ever looked into if they were put together as "political candy" so the banks could pass out high return favors to get into international markets. One of the back drops on the global economy, which always seemed a bit odd, was the collapse of Middle East markets from late 05 to early 07. My point: were these CDO's held by Middle East banks first (which puffed up ME equity markets from 02-mid05) and when they started to go bad in late 05 the banks had to take them back and parked them offshore. It then took another year before the rot creeped over to Wall Street and they had to deal with them. Probably not, but nothing would really surprise me.

JM Hanes


"However, the week’s polling showed a roller-coaster of opinion surrounding Obama’s big speech. The event in Berlin was well-covered and initial reviews on the speech were positive"

It's the Chinese Buffet Syndrome on the hungry left. On the right, it's the The Jane Effect.

Rick Ballard


This Bloomberg piece covers the Merril Lynch shell game pretty well. It looks like Lone Star Funds would be the play that GMax is looking for.


Yes Lone Star ( whoever that is , my WAG would be a Bass Bros entity ) bought at 22 cents on the dollar. The link that Rick has up does say they round to 1/5 ( 20% ). Another key that I had not as yet picked up is ML is financing 75% of that, and its non recourse meaning after the 25% is eaten through ML has the next dollar of loss. Limited their downside and got all ups and leverage. I like their style. ML can thank their previous CEO ONeill for the paddling they took.

The whole swapping of equity thing is pretty suspect too. ML only got a fraction of new money in a separate transaction since the two transaction were simultaneous. That smells a little like the dead cats for dead dogs swaps that the thrifts tried back in the 80s. But maybe the positive publicity will help with perceptions.


Thanks Rick and GMax.


Found this blurb on the WSJ if you are wondering about what ML sold:

Many CDOs held by Merrill were viewed as highly likely to default and lose some or most of their principal value. Of around 30 CDOs totaling $32 billion that Merrill underwrote in 2007, 27 have seen their top triple-A ratings downgraded to "junk," according to data compiled by Janet Tavakoli, a structured-finance consultant in Chicago. Their performance has been "dreadful," she says.

"Merrill is dealing with one of its issues, but they haven't explained how they could have had a team of highly paid and experienced professionals that ended up with this disastrous performance," said Ms. Tavakoli.

Actually I can help Ms. Tavakoli out.  Go look at ONeil compensation and this group compensation.  They got paid for volume, not quality.  The bonuses are gone out the door with most of these rocket scientists.

I happen to believe that well studied they are worth a lot more than $.22, so that someone is going to make a lot on Wall Street ignorance but brokerage houses are not good places to park long term illiquid investments.
Yep. Note my prediction -- those are going to be picked up by hedge funds. They are the perfect structure to make money in those investments, with their "soup nazi" style of "give us your money, sit down, shut up, and take whatever profits we earn for you." Hedge funds didn't exist in the S&L debacle, and they are going to be key in minimizing the pain of this one.
Ralph L

Anyone have the inside skinny on the new head of Wachovia? He's the head of Duke U's trustees (don't know if he was in the rape case mess), which doesn't inspire confidence.

I guess I shouldn't have expected the old idiot CEO to blow his brains out for buying a mortgage company at the height of the real estate bubble, but the gesture would have been nice. Wachovia (pre-First Union) did so well before the past year that it was a big chunk of my portfolio. "Not any more," as Inspector Cleusseau used to say.


Posted by mistake on a different thread. From Yahoo news:

More than 1,800 people showed up to help ABC's "Extreme Makeover" team demolish a family's decrepit home and replace it with a sparkling, four-bedroom mini-mansion in 2005.

Three years later, the reality TV show's most ambitious project at the time has become the latest victim of the foreclosure crisis.

After the Harper family used the two-story home as collateral for a $450,000 loan, it's set to go to auction on the steps of the Clayton County Courthouse Aug. 5. The couple did not return phone calls Monday, but told WSB-TV they received the loan for a construction business that failed.



Here's a Friends of Duke University blog with a note on Chairman Steele:

"In criticizing President Brodhead, it should be kept in mind that he alone is not responsible for the University’s official policies and conduct. Indeed, those above him and below him bear greater culpability and their status needs to be addressed as well."
" Robert Steel, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees bears the greater responsibility for Duke’s official policies regarding the lacrosse case. Getting rid of him is a bigger priority for me than getting rid of Brodhead."

It's buried in the story about the middle of the last paragraph.

Thanks for bringing his role with Duke up, Ralph L. I had not noticed that when I read the Wachovia info. I had planned to close my account with them when Wachovia published their apology to whoever for whatever happened years before any current shareholder or employee was alive.
After reading of Chairman Steele and his role at Duke I am closing my account.



Sorry, I disagree..Brodhaed's was the principal responsibility..If the claim is that he behaved like a jackass to kiss a trustee's ass, that's still HIS problem. He is the person charged with the day to day administration of the school.


Clarice, I'm not in disagreement with you regarding Pres Brodhead and his duties, I just don't see Robert Steele as someone I want to insure the care of what little money I have.

Also, based on this report, IMO, Pres Brodhead had already established a reputation for destroying people and their lives. Given these facts the Board of Trustees should have never bought him to Duke University, IMO.

The article is long, to get a real sense of what was done to destroy the individual cited, one needs to read the entire article.

''When Jovin was murdered, justice took a backseat to damage control. Within days New Haven police and Yale officials publicly fingered political scientist James Van de Velde, Jovin's senior essay adviser. He was a star lecturer and had been a residential college dean. He was also a former White House appointee under George H. W. Bush and a member of the U.S. Naval Intelligence Reserves. Most Yale professors lean to the left of the student body; few in the political-science and international-relations departments have real-world experience. Van de Velde was the subject of personal jealousy and political animosity. Many faculty members — including Brodhead — looked askance at his desire to emphasize practical policymaking over theory. Some questioned, for example, his willingness to help Jovin write — in 1998 — about the threat posed by Osama bin Laden to the U.S. to be unscholarly. From an academic point-of-view, Van de Velde was a black sheep.

"Yale administrators did not care that there was neither evidence nor motive linking Van de Velde to Jovin. Her body had been found a half-mile from his house. Just as at Duke, Brodhead spoke eloquently about the principles of due process, but moved to subvert it. Citing the New Haven Police Department's naming of Van de Velde among 'a pool of suspects,' Brodhead cancelled Van de Velde's spring-term lecture, explaining that 'the cancellation of the course doesn't follow from a judgment or a prejudgment of his hypothetical involvement in the Jovin case.' As at Duke, Brodhead insisted that due process would prevail. Despite Van de Velde's stellar student reviews and distinguished record, Brodhead then let his contract lapse. Van de Velde left New Haven, his career in shambles."


The comments to this entry are closed.