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January 21, 2009



Good morning. So far, life is the same for me, but there is renewed hope for the orange-clad freedom fighters at Guantanamo.


How was it for you ? Did the earth move ?

How is the new kitch on the block ?


I still haven't gotten my unicorn


Bush's note to Obama revealed


"I still haven't gotten my unicorn"

They may look pretty but they crap all over the place,eat your roses and and trample the flower beds.


In case you missed the whineoftheday in the bliss of typepad improvements, Firedoglake is LUN. Total bummer of a day apparently.


Where the f**k is my flying car?

Go over to RedState and read Francis Cianfrocca's masterful disquisition on the Public Debt. He reminds us that the British spent most of the 19th Century paying off the Napoleonic Wars, and that Japan's Public Debt is 300% of GDP, but they are a financial surplus country.

I smell Strength Through Joy, do you?


PUK, no unicorn is a match for my outdoor kitty cat. She doesn't share anything...except a corpse.


Byron York links financial info on Geithner. He and his wife used ARMs to purchase all of their houses. More of that financial brilliance on display...LUN

The lack of a more complete picture about the man who stands to become the nation's chief tax collector appears to be in conflict with Obama's repeated vow that his administration will be the most transparent ever.

The latest podcast of FWDAJ is LUN. We talk lacklusterly about the lackluster speech.

They also took out second mortgages, now known as home equity lines of credit, borrowing a total of nearly $1 million in 2002 on their second Bethesda home, which they bought a year earlier for $1,085,000.

In 2004, they sold that house for $1.45 million and bought their current house in the New York suburb of Larchmont with a $1 million Wells Fargo mortgage, later adding a $400,000 home equity line of credit, also from Wells Fargo.

Inquiring minds want to know if all of that borrowed money was used for... insider trading or heavy investment in... banks.


Geithner will be "introduced" to the committee by Soros retainer Paul Volcker. Soros must have some big plans in store for us if he is bring out the heavy hitters to save the Geithner nomination. I'm still thinking that the tax cheat gets waved through, but I'd like to think the GOP could really dirty him up.


Great News!

Barbara Ann Kipfler's "14,000 Things to Be Happy About" is going to be republished as "14,000 Things to be Even More Happy About Now That Barack Obama is President"

Ms. Kipfler will be dropping #418 - "kittens, sunshine, and balls of yellow yarn" - to add "the ocean ceasing its rising"

No word yet on whether #12,319 - "flannel sheets when frost is on the ground" - will be replaced by "responsible carbon usage"



Sorry, should have been clear, the previous post is about Geithner. LUN

Amused bystander

I have not been here for a while, but I want to thank Sara for posting those videos of Bush's Texas speech.

What a wonderful person he is. It ia amazing how free of bile or bitterness he is. Such grace; such class. I would be so angry were I he (golly, I am pretty anger as it is).

Just extraordinary. Reagan was like this too.

In the end they are such good Christians.

They make me feel deficient in how I live my faith. It is humbling.

I hope that this is not the last we see of their kind in the Oval Office.

He is so funny too. Seems to me that that is his own writing too.

Whe the true story of what he had to deal with comes out, assuming it does, people will be amazed at what he put up with and the grace with which he faced it.

How sad it is that this nation has fallen so low that only a minority can appreciate this about this man.

God Bless you, President Bush.


Pricey houses for a dedicated public servant. 2 houses...

Amused bystander


Amused bystander

Richard: I think the term is "master", not "servant".


Amused, I miss you when you are gone...stick around.


I hope the committee manages to raise a couple of the questions we peons want answered.

Amused bystander

Gee thanks, bad. I appreciate that a lot, particularly coming from you. I sometimes feel that I irritate people around here.

What is up with this "Next/Prev" thing, BTW?


Rich, perhaps the dedicated public "servant" inherited a great deal of money. If so, tell us. A lot of stuff happened on his watch, he's being shoved down our throat.

Transparency.. on day one.. as the new admin hits the ground running..


Amused, it may be gone on this thread. Is that possible?

It's supposed to be a Typepad upgrade..


Amused bystander-


I'd like to see someone ask about the decision making process re: Lehman and AIG. Was their external pressure to save AIG and not Lehman? Why did the Governor of NY involve himself (and put in jeopardy AIG's NY insurance assets) in the AIG bailout? Who else, esp. foreign governments, asked that AIG get bailed out?

I'd also like to get some insight on the Citi bailouts.

And the last one would be to ask about the subprime map at the NY Fed and ask if they have the map searchable at the zip code or congressional district level?


If the First Dance was any indication Barack Obama will preside over Bush's third term.

He couldn't lead and his timing was off.



I'm still thinking that the tax cheat [Geithner] gets waved through, but I'd like to think the GOP could really dirty him up.

Let's see if anybody on the panel mentions the "new era of responisbility"

Uncle BigBad


How many years passed before it accidentally leaked out that Reagan was a superb writer, and how it showed the breadth of a great intellect?

We'll eventually learn something similar about Bush.


Sweet Neo, such a dreamer



Rich, perhaps the dedicated public "servant" inherited a great deal of money. If so, tell us. A lot of stuff happened on his watch, he's being shoved down our throat.

Forgot about that. But if he inherited a lot of money why would he need to get a HELOC on a primary or secondary residence. I'm smelling an Uncle Tony special at the bottom of this stink pile.


The public housing the Obamas are enjoying sure beats what Rezko and Jarrett supplied to Chicago's poor.

Amused bystander

Richard, you are aware that at one time AIG was the largest insurer in the world (I think that is no longer the case)?

Some parties use insurance deal as a work around to repatriate monies when there are "problematic" obstacles to repartiating monies "the old fashion way".

Above an beyond that, AIG had insured a lot of derivative based products, particularly in the EU (I do nopt know about their position in Asia).

Now, Soros was directly a shareholder in Lehman. (Who know what is indirect holdings were? Something via Citi?)

Noe put GS (and I'd bet M. Stanley too) folks - competitors! - in charge of deciding what happens.

This is appears highly corrupt just from a great distance. We may never know.

but if the GOP want to no where to begin the comeback trail, figuring out just what really happened is a good place to start.

Most of the players are still in place.

This is the sort of thing that happens in Russia, Africa and Latin America. I know I have said this before, but it bear repeating.

If the USA is viewed as just another kleptocracy, and thus not a save haven, we will have real problems, not to mention what it will do to the "national psyche".

It stinks to the high heavens.

Soylent Red

I hate to be an ingrate and all...

But it's been almost 24 hours and there's no deposit of money for my mortgage in my account, crazy Islamonazis still hate me, and my gas tank is just about empty.

Where's my shit Barry?

::Waits for midnight knock on the door to haul him off to the camps::


I'm smelling an Uncle Tony special at the bottom of this stink pile.

It's looking bad. If there is an innocuous explanation, then lay it out so a dummy like me can understand.

Captain Hate

WSJ token lefty Thomas Frank evidently subscribes to the "talk like you're post-partisan while nailing the opposition at every opportunity" O-line by blasting a previous article which compared GWB to Harry Truman as far as leaving office with low approval ratings and having history regard him approvingly. Frank, who can only aspire to be a modern equivalent to Walter Duranty, repeats the usual specious criticisms of Bush while contrasting his performance by pointing out that Truman spoke out against Joe McCarthy, conveniently forgetting (assuming facts ever make it through that thick skull) that the Verona Project has at least partially rehabilitated McCarthy.

Elsewhere Murdoch gives a variety of pundits and lunatics a forum for "Hopes for the Obama Presidency", starting off with the geographically challenged (she claims to live in Harlem rather than the Upper West Side) poor little rich girl Katrina vanden Heuvel, publisher of The Nation. Katrina, who looks like one of the Ramones and probably smells like the dead one, wants trillions of dollars spent on a recovery program for a "new economy that is more just and fair" by which she must mean nobody will have anything. Rather than wasting time reading her commie tripe, people would be advised to concentrate on Shelby Steele's "Black America Could Have Done Better".


TM always makes the earth turn for me..
If you want to send President Bush a message of appreciation, here's your chance.



disquisition on the Public Debt

I remember last year, 2 Senators (a Democrat and a Republican) on C-SPAN describing how the total liabilities of the US were $66 trillion and the total value of all property in the US was $59 trillion, but of course .. this was last year before the stock and real estate markets lost 13/ to 1/2 of their value.

With liabilities greater than total assests (and now more so), the US government could lay a 100% tax on everything (i.e. What did you make .. Send it in) but still come up short.

This leaves the argument by many in the "reality base community", that those T-bills (in that West Virginia file cabinet) which represent the Social Security Trust Fund are real worth something because the US government has tax authority to back them up, a bit short on reality.


Food for thought ..

"Why the Great Depression lasted so long has always been a great mystery, and because we never really knew the reason, we have always worried whether we would have another 10- to 15-year economic slump," said Ohanian, vice chair of UCLA's Department of Economics. "We found that a relapse isn't likely unless lawmakers gum up a recovery with ill-conceived stimulus policies."


"The fact that the Depression dragged on for years convinced generations of economists and policy-makers that capitalism could not be trusted to recover from depressions and that significant government intervention was required to achieve good outcomes," Cole said. "Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened."

Amused bystander

Bigbad. Certainly Bush is no idiot; he certainly is not mediocrity that the media paints him as. It is worth reading many of his speeches. They are extraordinarily well written. Now I realize that they are gone over by a team, but still, they are quite fine and ss good as any speeches save those of Lincoln; certainly better than FDR's speeches.

His delivery sometimes suffered, but if most of us had to take what he had to take, we would be up there huffing and puffing and raging like lunatics. I know I would.

I love how the left goes on about this. Try reading the average academic paper these days. One has to reread whole pages to understand even vaguely what is being presented.

I thought that rhetorically Obama's inaugural speech was terrible, however well suited politically it might have been to the occasion. I was surprised that they let him go up with it.

It had all sorts of divisiveness structurallybuilt into it, not in terms of content (mostly) but just in the choice of phrasing, cadence and rhetorical posture. I think it was really a subconscious thing.

I think that outside of the anointed, it really did damage him a bit.

They must evidently think that they can "unite" the country through MSM propaganda blitzes like they did during the New Deal.

We shall see about this. I am not sure that the nation wants to relive the FDR years.


Have to work all this AM so I'm hoping the regulars keep track of the Geithner hearing and give updates on his responses:-)



The Obamas have been in church more in the last two days than in the previous six months.



Ah, it's the morning after.

Oh, my head.


The Obamas, the Bidens and the Clintons all needed lyric sheets to get thru the first verse of Holy, Holy, Holy.

I thought that hymn was a standard across most denominations.


Amused Glad your back.

Amused bystander

Neo: Consider this:

Take Forbes list of billionaires, which I believe a year ago were collectively worth aroubd $900, billion. Now, seize everything, all of it. does not even come close to the uearly US budget. What do we do when that is gone.

in truth our assets are our ability to work hard, to innovate and the secure knowledge that we can enjoy the fruits of our labors. These are the only thing we can bank on.

When we hear about a "fairer" economy, you know that they mean no such thing.

Amused bystander

Thanks, jean.


Rahm letting us know what he thinks of us at LUN.


What does Geithner know and when did he know it? Is he demanding this job? Are there names he would name if he isn't confirmed?


Another day, another, uh, interesting?, choice of attire by Michelle.


Katrina can give me half her assets to start. She's very rich...like a lot of commies...including Medea Benjamin who cleaned up on her divorce settlement.Ditto Ariana.

Marry rich and tell those who toll for a living to give up theirs.


Old Lurker

"I hate to be an ingrate and all...

But it's been almost 24 hours and there's no deposit of money for my mortgage in my account, crazy Islamonazis still hate me, and my gas tank is just about empty.

Where's my shit Barry?"

But it IS cold as ... so he must have solved that AGW thingy. DoT should go check the level of the ocean.

Is Prev/Next gone too? Barry again???


The Reverend sounds like the inauguaral poet.


She. Talks. Like. This.

Old Lurker

Apologies to Glenda from yesterday concerning my gloomy outlook and market expectations. And not that I read the guy, but Dick Morris writes today:

"2009-2010 will rank with 1913-14, 1933-36, 1964-65 and 1981-82 as years that will permanently change our government, politics and lives. Just as the stars were aligned for Wilson, Roosevelt, Johnson and Reagan, they are aligned for Obama. Simply put, we enter his administration as free-enterprise, market-dominated, laissez-faire America. We will shortly become like Germany, France, the United Kingdom, or Sweden -- a socialist democracy in which the government dominates the economy, determines private-sector priorities and offers a vastly expanded range of services to many more people at much higher taxes."

If true, then investors are all reworking their estimates of the present value of the after tax future income streams from their investments, and repricing them all accordingly.

I am still depressed.

I’ve found that credit losses could peak at a level of $3.6 trillion for U.S. institutions, half of them by banks and broker dealers,” Roubini said at a conference in Dubai today. “If that’s true, it means the U.S. banking system is effectively insolvent because it starts with a capital of $1.4 trillion. This is a systemic banking crisis.”
Ouch !!

I've always felt I was niether poor enough or rich enough to be a Democrat.


Don't forget not smart enough Jean.

Amused Bystander-you're damn right Bush is a model Christian, from back when they were running the Inquisition.


The inauguration wasn't much fun for a large group denied access despite having purchased tickets. LUN


Don, go F yourself.


Geithner's hearing is on C-SPAN 2.


Bad..Thanks ,but I'm a little too old to let a 12yr old hurt my feelings.Kind of reminds me of my children calling me "the meanest Mom in the world"


BTW, did anyone notice the landmine from Sullivan? LUN.

He's mystified that Bush didn't pardon the Waaaar Kriminilz. Now everyone wants prosecutions and Moscow Show Trials.

I think Bush knew this, and left the landmine there for Obama to step on if he was too clever by half to do so. Just my humble opinion. Bush doesn't believe that he broke the law, although his opponents do, and I think they want to go after him.

Ramos and Compean had their sentances commuted, a good strategic move by Bush which will help him down the line when the Sturmabteilungen come after him with subpoeanas.

My take? Obama puts our old friend, Patrick Fitzgerald (conveniently Republican) in charge of a limitless pool of borrowed Chinese money to go after Republicans over this, then pleads ignorance as it spins our of control, Scooter-like. Meantime, Conyers and Waxman go nuts on the Hill.

This will backfire, hugely, as the Tarp money refuses to move the economy and the New New Deal doesn't work because Obama didn't have the time to read Amity Shlaes' book about the Great Depression. He just couldn't put Fareed Zakaria down.

Voters want real things done for real people, not Revanchiste politics out of some Guevarist fantasy. Let's see if Obama gets that.


You know Don maybe right.I'm not smart enough to not pay my taxes and then use the I forgot excuse.


Um, the million line of credit but unable to figure out how to pay taxes? This is a problem.

Amused bystander

Don: what an ignorant, stupid and bigoted comment. It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

I am going to ask you to not to try to communicate with me in future posts. Thanks you.


CSPAN2 has been blank all morning. Stupid cable.

Please report, Maybee.


"Ironically, our work shows that the recovery would have been very rapid had the government not intervened."

Damn straight. I'm reading Amity Shlaes' The Forgotten Man right now and it couldn't be more timely.

Amused bystander, nice to see you, and I loved your post about GWB. Though I didn't always agree with him, I stood up for Bush for 8 years and I don't regret a minute of that.


That's funny, section 9, I posted that about Shlaes' book before reading your comment, and almost added that I wish Obama would read it too.


Republicans need to be on the record against Geithner. Grow some already.


Amused Bystander-what is bigoted about it?

Christians did run the inquisition didn't they?

Bush did authorize torture, did he not? Hell, Cheney was bragging about it, and Susan Crawford has confirmed it.

Actually, if they've read up on the Inquisition they'd realize how stupid torture really is as a means of extracting truth.

Unless you believe all those poor old women really were witches. Which, all things considered, you probably do.


Campaign Spot:

In today's confirmation hearing, Treasury Secretary nominee Tim Geithner said he used TurboTax to prepare his returns for the years in question where he failed to pay self-employment taxes — even though he collected reimbursement from his employer, the International Monetary Fund.

Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked, "Did the software prompt you to pay those taxes?"

"Not to my recollection," Geithner answered.

Do any TurboTax users know otherwise from experience?

UPDATE: A reader responds, "I assure you that Turbotax asks very specifically if you got a 1099 or a W2 from your employer. I know it, you know it, the American people know it!"

Geithner added that the error is his, not the software's, but again, if the software that he used to prepare his taxes reminded him of this provision of the tax code, and he still didn't pay, it looks worse, and tougher and tougher to believe that they were "completely unintentional" as he said in his opening statement.

I blame Turbo Tax.... yeah thats the ticket!!!

Amused bystander

Don, I asked you not to try to communicate with me. My Goodness, you are foul-mannered. I will be ignoring you from here on in.

You need to work on that narcissism of your. It will end badly.


Old Lurker-

Don't be. Seriously it's going to be a rocky patch, but we made it through Carter will make it through this.

I'm not really pleased with the hearing, Snowe asked a question about Lehman and probably didn't understand the situation enough to ask any follow up. Geithner punted on the Lehman question, with "we didn't have the authority" dodge, however, Snowe should have followed up with: How is it possible you didn't have the authority to engineer a Bear Stearns type solution for Lehman a bank under his regulatory authority, but he could engineer a rescue package using equity warrrents for AIG an insurance institution not under his regulatory authority?

He got a bit dirtied up on the tax issue by Bunning.


Thanks Rich, CSPAN2 just came on.


warrrents-> warrants...

Getting dirtied up on Madoff now.

How is it Madoff was able to run billions through NY banks but not make a single trade?


Tim Geithner said he used TurboTax to prepare his returns for the years in question where he failed to pay self-employment taxes — even though he collected reimbursement from his employer, the International Monetary Fund.


Didn't he also use an accountant for filing too?

Why doesn't a Senator ask him about the reimbursement papers the IMF gave him and had him sign outling his obligation AND promise to take the money and pay his taxes?

Did he read them?

Did he sign them?

Did he understand what they meant?

If not, is it his habit to sign papers he does not understand?


The whole Geithner issue is making me loathe republicans and further my new theme which is: in 2010 THROW ALL THE BUMS OUT!

What a spineless bunch of money grubbing, power grubbing jerks we have representing us.

What a joke.


He stinks to high heaven, Tops. It is insulting that he is even still under consideration.

Rich please continue to analyze.

Barney Frank

Thanks for that link Neo; it dovetails nicely with section9's link to Francis Cianfrocca's column.
The most important thing the UCLA dudes found was not only that FDR lengthened the Depression but that it didn't end until his pro-collusion and pro-labor policies were rolled back.
Currently we are being bombarded with the idea (even promoted by Bruce Bartlett) that the first New Deal just wasn't big enough and it was the massive spending and conscription of WWII that ended the depression, which very conveniently is used to justify trillion+ spending now.

NRO recently had a very interesting column">http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=MWI2OWUyOWE2NmZjMmQ2ZTg5YzIzZjczY2I2Mzg2N2Q=">column on Warren Harding's solution for the panic of 1920-21; tax cuts and cutting government spending. Result? A depression which lasted 18 months instead of 10-12 years.


He is getting some questions on credit default swaps now. In an earlier he said he was in the room to "improve" the clearing (maybe the creation of the IASD?) back in 04-05.

Talking about aggregate position limits (Vitol's 12% oil contract position when oil spike up over $11/bbl last year?)

And with that I've got to run


Stupid senators are campaigning, Geithner is repeating Obama's stump speech.

good grief



I'll look up the transcript when I get some time this afternoon.

On first blush, I'm going to back off on him "getting waved through". The questioning is getting more involved and he didn't answer the Lehman question and Madoff questions well. And his tax answers are a bit troubling.


Thanks Rich


It would be nice if Geithner were asked a question instead of the stupid pols blabbing for the camera.


Byron Yorks says Sen. Roberts just said --"you're are going to be confirmed" than um, what's the point of the hearing? end it.


Politico: Geithner blames Congress for Lehman failure.

Geithner addressed one of the biggest questions about the early round of government bail-outs: why did regulators let Lehman Brothers fail and then save AIG two days later?

At the time, he said, Congress had given neither the administration nor the Federal Reserve the authority to help save the company.

Regulators could not force a company to save Lehman, he said. And without government backup, no one was willing to get involved.

He called the situation a "tragic set of restraints."

Amused bystander

bad about Lehman: Likely story.


tops, we can't deny them camera time can we? Cruel and unusual and all that...sully would scream torture..

Soylent Red

FYI Amused and everyone...

Even with the typepad SNAFU, Greasemonkey still works. If you use it and install the Trollblocker you will soon live in a Don-free environment.

Barney Frank

Christians did run the inquisition didn't they?

Don being a bit slow accidentally asked a good question.
To the more rabid Protestants the answer to that question is a very clear "no", as they don't believe the Catholic church to be Christian. I don't subscribe to that view myself but it does illustrate one difficulty with the question.
To the point of why the Inquisition even existed, the unfortunate fact is many localities were running wild with all sorts of crazy superstitions and what we might judiciously today call lynchings. The church, in an attempt to curtail the violence, instituted a form of inquest, an inquisition, to pre-empt the local violence. Did it commit injustices? Of course. Were they as legion as we have been led to believe? No, they were a tiny fraction of the myth that has been created. The Spanish inquisition grew outside the bounds of church authority and was an instrument of the state of Spain.
As to the particular question of whether actual practicing Chritians were largely responsible for the worst abuses of the Inquisition, the answer is no, as a person who is actually a practicing Christian proves he is by his conduct, and the tenets of Christianity does not allow such behavior. Just as Don not acting like a tendentious, arrogant, moron would demonstrate he is not a troll.


CSPAN2 is gone again.


A couple of great photos, and heartwarming story . . .

Aboard the Bush Plane


I hope the Turbo Tax people let us know what their software does or doesn't do.

If it can't reliably guide the most brilliant financial expert EVAH!! then the product is not for the general public.

If you own a copy, demand a refund.

Rick Ballard

"what's the point of the hearing?"

Political theater. There was never any real question about this elite amoral trash being confirmed. The President will get a Treasury Secretary who shares his lack of ethics, just as he will get a Secretary of State who is also completely amoral and lacking in ethics. Just think - white trash and black trash floating together in the great sewer of Washington. It is now the Cloaca Maxima for the entire world.

There is no reason for most Republican Senators to waste opposition votes when the issue is not in doubt. They all have long memories and trades to be made in cloak rooms. There will be enough no votes to assure that the public is aware that the President has chosen a tax cheat and liar at Treasury.


When you guys post, does it pop you up to the top of this pages thread?

I can't believe how badly TypePad has destroyed their product.


Most of the time, CC, but not always.

I blame Turbo Tax

Old Lurker


"Don't be. Seriously it's going to be a rocky patch, but we made it through Carter will make it through this."

Actually, I know I overreact a bit on this.

But funny you mention the Carter period...my partner and I were talking about that last night. (Not THAT kind of partner.) He and I started developing commercial real estate in the DC area during Carter and did all that through 20% Prime Rates and all. It WAS really, really scary back then, as Rick Ballard reminded us a few weeks back when he described the business risks he was taking in that climate.

But here's the difference between then and now that keeps me awake at night: The folks in the center of the bell curve of our country, and our congress, in the 70's had a better grasp of world history and our place in it, a better grasp of "civics" and economics, a better grasp of the value of capitalism vs all the alternatives than exists in that bell curve today...big time. And, the post Watergate whackos who joined congress with Carter were junior to the bull democrat leaders who in those days did (mostly) let things stop at the water's edge, as we used to say. They were democrats, but many were patriotic Americans too, for the most part. Now we have a dumbed down voting majority, which pays <5% of the taxes, which knows nothing of history or all the other things and really only wants "my mortgage paid and gas in my car". And now we have a socialist as president and many more in positions of power in congress who want the same thing. The radicals most of us left behind at college stayed there and polluted the well.

Damit RichatUF...you cheered me up and then I talked myself back into the pit.




I bet Intuit's CEO is pissed. I sure would be.


I bet Intuit's CEO is pissed.

Wonder if it will affect thier stock price today?

Geraghty at NRO's Campaign Spot is continuing to post on the subject. Check it out.


Aboard the Bush Plane

I enjoyed that, centralcal, thanks. Warning, though, the comments are the expected swamp (with a few decent hardy souls here and there).



Torture does work. Sorry. It's a fact. Sometimes it doesn't work the way you think it will, but believe me, it works. People have been doing it for the past 5,000 frickin years for a reason. Sometimes just for kicks, but when you really need to know something fast, they have ways of making you talk.

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