Barcelona and Obama’s Hillary Move

-

I will be back to Washington on Friday after an excellent program in Madrid with the Spain- based alums of the London School of Economics. I am now in Barcelona.
For those interested, I wrote this piece for CNN today on Obama’s maneuvers which despite the complicated cast of people he is drawing into the administration I am finding more and more impressive — though risky.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

53 comments on “Barcelona and Obama’s Hillary Move

  1. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    JohnH… thanks for the link to the petition…added my name..one piece of good news is that Dennis Kucinich is being considered to take Waxman’s place as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee…that would be change I could believe in…
    Love this news….
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=389×4501474

    Reply

  2. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “When the whiners take out their crying towels, Obamma must be doing something right”
    When the ignorant jackasses come out of the woodwork, and say absolutely nothing, you know you’re hittin’ the nail squarely on the head.

    Reply

  3. DonS says:

    . . . if “whining” means not forgetting some horrendous crimes against humanity, count me a whiner. Glady.

    Reply

  4. Kathleen Grasso Andersen says:

    POA ass kissing lap dog…I like it…my spirit has grown so weary with political reality, I’m having a hard time tuning in and taking anything seriously….maybe I need some distance…perhaps it’ll give me a fresh perspective….and help me regain my sense of humor which seems to be in ICU.

    Reply

  5. Bill R. says:

    When the whiners take out their crying towels, Obamma must be doing something right.

    Reply

  6. DonS says:

    So, having putatively been “against” the war — as the Obama mythology goes — and, now having been elected, that cornerstone moral stance, on the largest and culminating high profile moral issue/decision of the past few decades, it appears it is all to “last year” to matter.
    From being unwashed, Obama is now washed, bathed in the cloak of “responsibility”. Having inherited the accumulated crimes of the war, he must of course continue to act “responsibly” which seems to mean 1) amnesia with regard to the crimes committed from the outset, no matter the moral lessons that need to be learned by an arrogant nation and 2)continuation of the trajectory of the current policy on cover-up, concealment, and political/military aspirations in the region.
    Why have we not heard about reversing course to try to repair the past? Permanent bases? The largest diplomatic compound in the world? The military brass staking out their preferred scenarios? Apology to the innocent dead and their survivors?
    Change?

    Reply

  7. JohnH says:

    It would be nice if these criminals had to at least confess to their sins before being given important new jobs. At least then we would know that they had some awareness of the damage they have done. Without that we just have to assume that it will be more business–war and looting–as usual.

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Break it down to the basics, those who were right, those who were moral, those who were prescient, have been ignored by Obama. In fact, they were, and have been, muzzled by the Dem leadership and the Obama campaign. We’ve been scammed by yet one more slick talking Washington imposter.
    http://www.alternet.org/story/107666/?page=entire
    “Twenty-three senators and 133 House members who voted against the war — and countless other notable individuals who spoke out against it and the dubious claims leading to war — are apparently not even being considered for these crucial positions,” observes Sam Husseini of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

    Reply

  9. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Whats the argument here? These criminals in Washington love it when you point fingers and play the blame game. It distracts you from the simple facts, and from wising up to the divisive nature of partisan politics, DESIGNED to keep the populace bickering and unable to form a concensus.
    Fear not, this masquerading devil of a President Elect is aligning himself with criminals from BOTH sides of the fence, so none of your loyalties will be neglected. The only people being left out of his administration are those that argued forcefully against this war from its inception, and those that have faithfully and unwaveringly argued for REAL change and governmental accountability.
    Do you see anyone being considered who has fought for change? Who strongly opposed the war? Who correctly predicted events and outcomes of the invasion?
    Wise up. This imposter Obama has already shown us his cards, and he’s not even soiling the rugs in the White House yet. His cabinet choices, so far, are the who’s who of the status quo, and of never-ending perpetual war. With Hillary in place, Gates still employed, and these slimey murderous monsters from the Bush Administration waltzing out unscathed, the handwriting is on the wall.
    Change? Who the fuck does he think he’s kidding?
    So, continue squabbling, citizens. Its all you’ve got left.

    Reply

  10. JohnH says:

    What’s amazing is how it was only a matter DAYS after Bill Clinton’s signing the Enron loophole that Enron began to seriously manipulate prices. Clinton signed the bill on December 21, 2000. The day after Christmas there was an emergency meeting at the White House to respond to the California governor’s complaints about corporate tampering. By mid-January, still under Clinton’s watch, blackouts affected several hundred thousand customers in Califronia.
    In fairness to Clinton, he was not always given the best advice from Alan Greenspan and Larry Summers:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2008-11-12/larry-summers-and-enron/
    None of that absolves Clinton, owever. He should admitted responsibility and apologized to the nation long ago.

    Reply

  11. JohnH says:

    Since Wigwag, like any good apologist, gets particularly dense whenever faced with anything critical of the Clintons, here is a simple explanation of the financial crisis and the role of deregulation, spawned by the Clinton administration.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/24/opinion/24krugman.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=krugman+gramm&st=nyt&oref=slogin
    And Krugman clearly assigns partial responsibility to Bill Clinton: “In retrospect, it’s clear that the Clinton administration went along too easily with moves to deregulate the financial industry. And it’s hard to avoid the suspicion that big contributions from Wall Street helped grease the rails.” (No mention of Hillary’s need for a blessing from Wall Street for her Senate run!)
    Went along with? It was Clinton signed GLB and CFTC (Enron loophole)!!! And Hillary didn’t start seriously advocating closing the Enron loophole until May, when she was desperate to save her doomed campaign.
    Sorry, Wigwag, but Krugman trumps your long winded “analyses.”

    Reply

  12. rich says:

    WigWag,
    You’ll like this:
    http://mediamatters.org/columns/200811190014
    Boehlert skillfully recounts the media’s egregious double standard in covering Clinton vs. Bush. And for the record, I wouldn’t mind having Sen. Clinton as Sec of State.
    I’m just not enamored of the Madeleine Albright School of Doing Things the Same Way Everybody Else Did. The lack of imagination’s cost us, as has the reliance on conventional assumptions about what America can and cant’ do, and how. WE couldn’t afford that indulgence then, and we really can’t afford it now. It’s not 1945, and many of our decisions were mistakes then.

    Reply

  13. WigWag says:

    Rich, sorry I called you Mark by mistake. It was late.

    Reply

  14. rich says:

    WigWag,
    Who is “Mark”? You’re evading the point. Selling securitized investment vehicles so unmoored from the the basis of their ‘value’ that no one knows what they’re really worth was precisely the intrinsic problem of the ’29 Crash. Which is why Glass-Stegall was passed.
    Repealing Glass-Steagall was symptomatic of an ideology that sold snake oil (in contravention of the lessons of the ’29 crash) in a variety of forms. Repeating the same errors/crimes using different institutions and different vehicles to end-run Glass-Steagall and parallel regulations hardly lets anyone off the hook.
    It’s a further indictment. The intention was to get rid of regulations–among them Glass-Steagall, but hardly the only one–that protected the integrity of the market and ensured that investors had a reasonable idea of what they were getting into. This ensured some value was passed along to go with the risk that was sold to investors.
    I don’t care what the financial vehicle was (hedge funds) or who sold them, the lesson is the same: transparency, accountability, and regulation are required for markets to function and participants to retain integrity.
    Clinton, Gramm and Rubin actively worked to ensure an anything goes environment in which fraud and conflict of interest ruled. The excuse was that it was ‘complex’ and that ‘you wouldn’t understand’ the mechanism. Repealing Glass-Steagall was stupid, point blank:
    It’s a plain fact that stock analysts and traders were housed in the same companies, with incentives to sell regardless of the value of the product (ex. Enron). In that crisis or this one, this is precisely what Glass-Steagall was designed to prevent. It’s obtuse to argue that they didn’t know what they were doing or that we didnt’ know what they did.
    It’s telling you don’t address the points made: Kuttner and Frontline are easily as authoritative as any of your sources, which, unsurprisingly, you do not cite. Were it otherwise, I’m sure you’d have something to say about it.
    Even were Glass-Steagall not at issue, the open willingness to violate the spirit and letter of that law and other regulations, and to deny the utility of any regulations at all, had precisely the same effect. We knew it would have the same disastrous results; and they knew it would have the same disastrous results. It’s absurd to claim that no one is at fault, and that by golly, they really did a great job. That the investment banks were willing to go off the deep end using methods disproving in 1929, hardly discredits Glass-Steagall.

    Reply

  15. WigWag says:

    JohnH, Lehman, which collapsed, wasn’t an “in-house” merchant banker enabled by Glass-Steagall. Neither was Bear Stearns. Which bank do you think they were part of? And the biggest of all to almost fail, AIG. Which bank did they merge with as a result of the Glass-Steagall repeal? And Merrill Lynch, before they were rescued by Bank of America (which only was possible because of the elimination of Glass-Steagall) which bank were they a part of? And, come to think of it, what about Goldman Sachs? They’re modestly healthier than the other investment banks were before they failed. But they are still in trouble. Which bank did they merge with after Glass-Stengel was repealed?
    In fact, John, it’s the independent investment banks that got into trouble not the bank/investment bank combinations that Glass Seagull made legal. J.P Morgan Chase was an entity made possible by Glass-Seagull, they are far healthier than their brethren. Bank of America, Wells Fargo and many others did just fine.
    It is true some banks did get into trouble including Citibank, Wachovia and Washington Mutual. But for the most part the banking sector (despite Glass-Seagull) is in far better shape than the individual investment banks were. That’s why they’re the rescuers, not the entities in need of rescuing.
    As I said, Glass-Steagall is largely irrelevant.
    Mark, you say “if Glass-Steagall was in effect, there’d be no NEED to have JP Morgan “rescue” Bear Stearns. The regulation would’ve precluded the crisis. And there are important reasons for keeping such transactions illegal.”
    If Glass-Steagall were in effect, it would have changed nothing. And sighting a Frontline Documentary or an article by Robert Kuttner, while interesting, is hardly authoritative.
    JohnH and Mark, you must both be very depressed. I guess you’ll hate the next four years. If you didn’t like Clinton, it doesn’t look like you’ll like Obama. After all, he’s hiring every Clinton official he can lay his hands on.
    So who do you think he will select for Treasury? Clinton’s second Secretary of the Treasury, Bob Rubin? Clinton’s third Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers or the Rubin/Summers protégé, Tim Geithner?
    Unlike you, it seems Obama thinks the Clinton economic team was just swell.
    And as I am writing this with one eye on the television, CNN is officially announcing that Obama will appoint Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State.
    Isn’t life grand?

    Reply

  16. rich says:

    re your last comment–
    you basically admit that Clinton had little to do with the economic boom: “Criticizing the Clinton boom because it was consumption driven instead of investment driven is like criticizing the sky for being blue.” If a naturally-occurring blue sky –a consumption-driven economy drove the boom, how does Clinton take credit?
    You’re speaking in tautologies. “But the “main source of “demand growth” in developed economies is always consumption.” Consumption is demand, or the result of it. But is consumption economically bright, regardless of how ‘developed’ or mature an economy is? Pointless consumption is unsustainable, and debt-incurring consumption is plain stupid. Sooner or later you have no accrued assets; no one can buy stuff ’cause they have stuff and/or are in debt; when you simultaneously hollow out the economy you undermine the process you rely on. There’s only so much crap anyone can buy.
    Point is, the dollar did not go up because of any authentic underlying strength of America’s economic engine. Other nations speculated.
    I suggest you look at the real wages over time. There’s data you can refer to. And yes, there was a significant economic bubble under Clinton. Wall Street trading, Enron, it went far beyond the dot.com garbage. Anyone who could read knew it wasn’t real.

    Reply

  17. JohnH says:

    Wigwag–despite Republican majorities, Clinton could have vetoed the Financial Modernization Act (Gramm-Leach-Blilely) which repealed Glass-Steagall. This would have placed the onus squarely on Republicans for the consequences, if they mustered the votes to override. Clinton could also have used his Bully Pulpit to point out the dangers of repealing Glass Steagall. But would the man stand on principle? No, it was more important to assure that Hillary got Wall Street’s blessing. Clinton signed GLB, and one month later Hillary announced her run for Senator.
    Though repeal of Glass-Steagall did not create the mortgage securities market (the collapse of which is a major trigger for the current economic meltdown), it did allow bankers to originate the loans, take them down the hall to the in-house merchant bankers, and then take them downstairs to the in-house insurance arm. Before the repeal of Glass-Stesgall, it would not have been possible to market mortage securities without review by three INDPENDENT firms. After repeal, it only took one huckster.
    As to Clinton’s role in creating the Enron loophole, I have seen reports that Bill Clinton was a greater champion for the loophole than even Phil Gramm!
    Clearly, Clinton needs to be held accountable for the major role he played as an enabler of the current crisis. At a minimum he and Hillary owe the American people an explanation and apology.

    Reply

  18. rich says:

    WigWag @ 8:58–
    Oh, right. Congress was so big and powerful, and li’l ol’ Prznt Clinton was just overcome by their displays of strength and virility! Puh-leeeze. (See below.) You wrote:
    “But Clinton improved the Bill as much as he could before he finally signed it.” It’s called leadership, and veto-proof majority or not, Bill did zero to conceive and establish a sane alternative. In fact, he facilitated the process.
    ” .. there is no rational reason to conclude that securitization of mortgage instruments was facilitated by the repeal of Glass-Steagall regulations.”
    Oh? Glass-Steagall was passed “because of [bankers’] direct and indirect involvement in the trading and ownership of speculative securities.” (again, see below) If the securitization and trading of mortgages as speculative instruments doesn’t directly contradict the express purposes of Glass-Steagall, what does? They’re running the same old game with slightly different instruments, both of which needed to be covered by G-S OR similar regulation.
    WW:
    “By the way, if Glass-Steagall was still in effect right now, we would already be in a depression of 1930s magnitude.”
    George Orwell? Is that you?
    If Glass-Steagall was in effect, there’d be no NEED to have JP Morgan “rescue” Bear Stearns. The regulation would’ve precluded the crisis. And there are important reasons for keeping such transactions illegal.
    Kuttner:
    “The result is that all of a sudden people are thinking Glass-Steagall wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Robert Kuttner testified before Barney Frank’s Committee on Banking and Financial Services in October, evoking the dreaded specter of the Great Depression:
    “Since repeal of Glass Steagall in 1999, after more than a decade of de facto inroads, **super-banks have been able to re-enact the same kinds of structural conflicts of interest that were endemic in the 1920s** – lending to speculators, packaging and securitizing credits and then selling them off, wholesale or retail, and extracting fees at every step along the way. And, much of this paper is even more opaque to bank examiners than its counterparts were in the 1920s. Much of it isn’t paper at all, and the whole process is supercharged by computers and automated formulas.”
    _____
    >>
    “In 1971, in Investment Company Institute v. Camp, no less than the United States Supreme Court would write what stands as the most cogent summary of the reasons for Glass-Steagall:
    “Congress was concerned that commercial banks in general and member banks of the Federal Reserve System in particular had both aggravated and been damaged by stock market decline partly because of their direct and indirect involvement in the trading and ownership of speculative securities.
    “The legislative history of the Glass-Steagall Act shows that Congress also had in mind and repeatedly focused on the more subtle hazards that arise when a *commercial bank goes beyond the business of acting as fiduciary or managing agent and enters the investment banking business either directly or by establishing an affiliate to hold and sell particular investments.*
    Many arguments the Supreme Court advanced in support of Glass-Steagall, would prove prophetic three decades later.
    Bill Clinton and the Wall of Me
    “Billionaire Sanford I. Weill, who according to Louis Uchitelle made “Citigroup into the most powerful financial institution since the House of Morgan a century ago,” has what I call the Wall of Me leading to his office, which he has decorated with tributes to him, including a dozen framed magazine covers. A major trophy is the pen Bill Clinton used to sign the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, a move which allowed Weill to create Citigroup. Fittingly, Citigroup is a major contributor to guess which current Democratic Presidential candidate?
    “A Frontline report on the repeal of Glass-Steagall shows how those with money end up with pens from the President of the United States on their walls.
    “Sandy Weill calls President Clinton in the evening to try to break the deadlock after Senator Phil Gramm, chairman of the Banking Committee, warned Citigroup lobbyist Roger Levy that Weill has to get White House moving on the bill or he would shut down the House-Senate conference. Serious negotiations resume, and a deal is announced at 2:45 a.m. on Oct. 22. Whether Weill made any difference in precipitating a deal is unclear.
    “Just days after the administration (including the Treasury Department) agrees to support the repeal, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, the former co-chairman of a major Wall Street investment bank, Goldman Sachs, raises eyebrows by accepting a top job at Citigroup as Weill’s chief lieutenant. The previous year, Weill had called Secretary Rubin to give him advance notice of the upcoming merger announcement. When Weill told Rubin he had some important news, the secretary reportedly quipped, “You’re buying the government?”
    “When Bill Clinton gave that pen to Sanford Weill, it symbolized the ending of the twentieth century Democratic Party that had created the New Deal. Although the 1999 law did not repeal all of the banking Act of 1933, retaining the FDIC, it did once again allow banks to enter the securities business.”
    *
    And that mistake re-installed the same conditions that led to the stock market crash of 1929. Glass-Steagall had prevented banks from entering the investment banking business; suddenly they can do it again, thanks to Phil Gramm & Bill Clinton, and it doesn’t matter what specifically is securitized and sold as some concrete ‘thing’ when no one knows the real value of the financial tool that’s been deliberately unmoored from that concrete real-world anchor that actually determines its worth.
    Gramm–>Weill–>Rubin–>Bill Clinton.
    Jeez, WigWag, at least pay attention in the high school history class covering the 1929 Crash and the New Deal legislation that repaired the damage. It’s simple stuff–but pretending it didn’t happen will just lead to, well, the current financial crisis. Next time you want to play pretend, and forget history, try to keep in mind you (Gramm/Rubin/Clinton) are really condemning the whole country to repeat it. That’s the freakin lesson here. Just refrain from taking the rest of the country down with your self-delusion.

    Reply

  19. WigWag says:

    “WigWag, I’m sure you’re very smart. But at least get the conversational details right. Throwing stuff at the wall doesn’t exactly further the dialog.”
    I make no claims to being smart let alone very smart, but I think my comment was very responsive to your original question to me.
    As for the comment about investment versus consumption driving economic growth, I simply misspoke. This is what Baker said, “Rather than investment driving growth during the Clinton boom, the main source of demand growth was consumption. Consumption soared during the Clinton years because the stock market bubble created $10tn of wealth.”
    The problem with Baker’s remark is two fold: (1) he implicitly criticizes growth during the Clinton years because it was consumption driven instead of investment driven. But the “main source of “demand growth” in developed economies is always consumption. This has nothing to do with Clinton, it is just a truism of all modern developed economies including low consumption economies like Japan. Criticizing the Clinton boom because it was consumption driven instead of investment driven is like criticizing the sky for being blue. (2) Baker implies that consumption increased mostly because of stock market growth that he erroneously calls a bubble. But for most of Clinton’s eight years in office there was no bubble and when a bubble did develop it was limited to the high tech sector. Yes, consumption increased in part, because the stock market went up. But the stock market went up because earnings went up. As I said in my last comment to you, the inflation adjusted trailing PE ratio for the S&P was at or near historical norms for most of Clinton’s presidency. There simply was no bubble, just good, healthy growth in the stock market. Just because we don’t remember any more what that looked like, doesn’t mean it never occurred.
    And perhaps it didn’t occur to Dr. Baker, but maybe the growth in consumption during the Clinton years was related to the fact that real wages for average working class Americans went up for the first time in a generation. You don’t need to be an economist to figure that one out, Rich. When real income goes up, consumption can go up.
    Baker’s comments about the dollar are also ludicrous. He says “the dollar was pushed upward by a combination of Treasury cheerleading, worldwide financial instability, etc.…” Cheer leading by Bob Rubin had nothing to do with the dollars rise. The dollar was strong for a variety of reasons: (1) the European economies were mired in a protracted period of slow economic growth that was significantly slower than growth in the United States; (2) European Central Bankers were preoccupied with negotiating the introduction of the Euro which led to great uncertainty, (3) Europe was still integrating newly independent former Soviet satellites (and a war was raging in Yugoslavia) and (4) Japan was still mired in it’s lost decade. And Baker’s implication that Rubin’s motivation for engineering the rescue of Asia from its financial crisis was a ruse to strengthen the dollar is too absurd to comment on.
    And, as long as we are on the subject, there is one other area where the Baker critique is fatuous. Baker says, “At the end of the administration, there was a huge surplus, and we set target dates for paying off the national debt. The moral of the myth is that all good things came from deficit reduction.” No one but Baker says that’s the “moral of the myth.” Clinton’s economic advisors pursued precisely the policy that Keynes would have pursued. And like the good Keynesian that Baker is, he would acknowledge that the Clinton policy was correct but for his vision being clouded by Clinton Derangement Syndrome.
    During times of full employment (which Clinton’s economic plan produced for the first time since the 1960s) running deficits should be avoided. You remember your high school economics, Mark. During times of economic contraction (like now) you run deficits and if necessary large deficits. The idea is to increase aggregate demand. During times of full employment (when aggregate demand is sufficient) the government should strive to balance the budget. For goodness sakes, it’s classic Keynesian theory.
    No one is saying that the policy that Clinton so brilliantly implemented is the right policy for the current economic conditions. Some one thinking more clearly than Baker would understand that.
    But I get it, Mark. You don’t think Clinton did a good job with the economy. My question (that you haven’t answered) is compared to who?
    George W Bush? George H.W, Bush? Reagan? Carter? Ford? Nixon? Johnson? Kennedy?
    Which of these Presidents faced economic challenges as big as the challenges Clinton faced? And which one did a better job?

    Reply

  20. rich says:

    WigWag,
    I don’t buy it. You’re pretending the policy details negate the general point, and they don’t. Baker didn’t get into details; it was supposed to be general critique.
    What’s hilarious here is that you paid so little attention you didn’t even notice you and Dean Baker AGREE–>
    You wrote:
    “to say that economic growth during the Clinton presidency was driven by investment instead of consumption is just silly.”
    Baker wrote the same thing:
    “Rather than investment driving growth during the Clinton boom, the main source of demand growth was consumption.”
    At least pay attention to what others are saying before presuming to offer a put-down—or even thinking you differ. Ridicule has never made your case, and no one needs notes.
    And as usual, WigWag, you’re not exactly responsive to the point made. Take the Stiglitz diatribe: there’s no reason Baker can’t agree with Stiglitz, and appreciate his skill and even many of Clinton’s policies—but still offer a valid critique of overall economic performance as relates to core policies, as well as its relationship to neoliberal free trade.
    I’ll add one thing: the Clinton advisors are widely identified as responsible for opening the door for the economic slide that occurred under Bush. They thought deregulation and free trade was just groovy. They contributed to the current financial crisis by rapidly accelerating the deregulation fever that began under Reagan and concluded under Bush.
    But it was always asinine to think govt had no role in channeling free trade or mitigating the speed and impact of deregulation. It was always asinine to assert that free trade could mind itself or total deregulation would lead to anything other than waste, fraud, and abuse. Yet you’re asking us to overlook the Clinton’s involvement in handing over the opportunity to those willing to take advantage. Get real: we’re dealing with the consequences right now.
    Josh Marshall at TPM asked the same question: Can we really expect the architects of deregulation under Clinton (Summers, Rubin) to have the imagination, will or motivation to re-regulate responsibly? To repair the chicken coop they as foxes were in charge of? I dont’ believe that’s reasonable.
    Don’t get me wrong: NAFTA, frinstance, created both winners and losers. Yet was it good for the overall economy? Were the massive job losses worth the gain in other, very specific quarters? Were our agribusiness profits from flooding markets south of the border with cheap corn, which in turn flooded labor markets b/c it forced Mexican farmers off the land and into the wage economy—worth the influx of cheap labor north and south of the border? It’s a matter of which markets are maintained, not a battle between free markets and total regulation.
    As Robert Kuttner stated last Saturday, and I quote, “the only difference between Robert Rubin and Hank Paulson is that Robert Rubin will occasionally say a few nice words about poor people.”
    WigWag, I’m sure you’re very smart. But at least get the conversational details right. Throwing stuff at the wall doesn’t exactly further the dialog.

    Reply

  21. DonS says:

    Something about being a Senator, I guess, that makes one feel terminally superior, unaccountable, and absolved from even basic decency standards, not to mention embarrassment at being associated in the least with criminal behavior.
    Its troubling to me that they can clap with such vigor for this felon. If ever there were a symbol of disdain for what the “common” man thinks, feels, and expects, this was it.
    And it’s not even that I disdain felons; many of my clients are felons. But by what skewed standards do these Senators make the call? Surely they are right out there posturing for being “tough on crime”.
    I’d call the whole bunch a very special mafia, if I wasn’t afraid to bring the wrath of Kathleen down! Maybe just depraved in the sense of the worst period of the ancient Roman senate.

    Reply

  22. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Meanwhile, this felonious piece of shit Stevens gets a standing ovation, (literally), from the Senate.
    Hurrah the criminals. And we’re ‘sposed to trust these assholes to “represent” us?

    Reply

  23. PissedOffAmerican says:

    One hasta cut through all the bullshit, think tank blather, and political doublespeak to get to the crux of the matter. Its simple, really. With Obama surrounding himself with people that supported the war, pimped all the lies that led up to the war, and have denied the truth behind the extent of the Iraqi casualties…
    There is NO WAY that Obama can pursue accountability for the blatant criminal acts that engaged this nation in war. To do so, he would have to indict his own cabinet. So, these fucking monsters have got away with murdering a million and a quarter Iraqi citizens. They’l retire wealthy, and be untouched by the mayhem they’ve wrought in Iraq, the trillions they’ve squandered, and our impending financial collapse.
    Whats worse, the president elect is putting the same complicit and abetting criminals in charge that helped grease Cheney’s slimey despoilment of everything we once stood for. How’s that portend “change”?
    If you aren’t pissed off by now, you’re either brain dead, or not a citizen of the United States.

    Reply

  24. WigWag says:

    JohnH, your comment is factually inaccurate. You are correct that most of the provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act were repealed by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. But Clinton improved the Bill as much as he could before he finally signed it. Remember, both the House and Senate were controlled at the time by Republicans. Gramm-Leach-Bliley passed by a veto proof majority. It passed the Senate by 90-8 (with one voting present) and it passed the House by 362-57 (with one abstention). With or without Clinton, Glass-Steagall was going to go.
    And there is no rational reason to conclude (and no evidence either) that securitization of mortgage instruments was facilitated by the repeal of Glass-Steagall regulations. Securitization and the development of complex derivites had nothing to do with the elimination of Glass-Steagall.
    By the way, if Glass-Steagall was still in effect right now, we would already be in a depression of 1930s magnitude.
    JP Morgan Chase could not have rescued Bear Stearns if Glass-Steagall was still in effect and Bank of America would not have been able to purchase Merrill Lynch. Glass-Steagall would have made both of those rescues illegal.
    Had Bear Stearns and Merrill Lynch collapsed, we would have witnessed a financial meltdown of unprecedented proportions.
    Just look what the Lehman failure did. Had Merrill and Bear disintegrated we really would see people jumping out of windows.
    And I will ask you the same question I asked Rich. Exactly which President in, oh say the last 50 years had an economic policy that could match the success of Clinton’s?
    I can’t think of any.

    Reply

  25. JohnH says:

    Whatever Clinton’s role in creating the bubble economy, we can say definitively that Clinton’s policies were absolutely disastrous in two areas: signing the CFTC containing the Enron loophole, and signing away Glass-Steagall to help Hillary get elected. These two actions greased the skids for the securitization of mortgages and for rampant, hidden speculation in commodities. What will someone finally ask Bill, “What on earth were you thinking?”

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    Rich,
    Can’t debate the economics, not my field. But re the store greeters, to the best of my knowledge, they’re there to help prevent theft. Whenever people have a “personal contact” with a store employee (may I help you or hello, or whatever) they feel noticed. If you feel noticed, you are less likely to steal.

    Reply

  27. WigWag says:

    Oh, and Rich, in my last comment where I asked you to tell me which modern President had a economic policy that you thought was better than Clinton’s, I mentioned all the Presidents since World War II but I forgot to mention Gerald Ford. You remember the cornerstone of his economic policy, don’t you Rich? It was a time when inflation was rampant, but Ford had a solution. He recommended that all Americans wear a button that said “WIN” for whip inflation now!
    You don’t like Clinton’s economic record. Do you prefer Fords?

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Kathleen, “Italians” never came to mind when I typed the word “consiglierre”. To be honest, I’m not even sure I spelled it right. My intention was to insinuate that after eight years of having AGs that threw away their loyalty to the law in order to cover for the criminal in the White House, it seems Obama is bound and determined to repeat the exercise, or at least shed any concern about appearances that may imply conflicts of interest. Can’t we just have an AG that is not so closely allied with the chief executive?
    So, perhaps I did mis-use the term “consiglierre”. I probably should have referred to Obama’s choice of AG as what appears to be “just another ass kissin’ lap dog for the White House”.

    Reply

  29. antiphone says:

    I would say that Jimmy Carter has been the biggest pest of an ex-President in recent years, and yet he got the Nobel Peace prize.
    First of all MarkL, no one is appointing Mrs. Carter Secretary of State and secondly, I disagree with your characterization of Carter. I doubt you read the piece on Clinton’s trip to Kazakhstan because nothing you said is remotely relevant.

    Reply

  30. MarkL says:

    Antiphone,
    I would say that Jimmy Carter has been the biggest pest of an ex-President in recent years, and yet he got the Nobel Peace prize.
    His meddling in North Korea was really unforgiveable, for example, and much worse than what you cite about Clinton.

    Reply

  31. WigWag says:

    Rich, I did read the Dean Baker piece when you referred me to it a week or so ago. With all due respect, it is laughable in its lack of sophistication. It’s not a thoughtful critique of the Clinton economic policy, it’s a hatchet job. I can’t help but wonder what Joe Stiglitz thinks of Dean Baker’s critique. After all, Stiglitz is on the Board of Directors of the Institute that Baker directs, the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Baker must think pretty highly of the Nobel Prize winning Stiglitz to appoint him to his Board. Of course Stiglitz was also the architect of the Clinton economic policy. He was, as I am sure you know, Chairman of Clinton’s Counsel of Economic Advisors as well as a Clinton appointee as President of the World Bank. If Baker doesn’t think the Clinton economic policy was wise, maybe he should take it up with his Board member, Joe Stiglitz. And by the way, Paul Krugman (he of the Nobel Prize) has stated in his column that he thinks the Clinton economic policy was remarkably good. I would trust Paul Krugman over Dean Baker any day of the week.
    Just to comment on a couple of your points: to say that economic growth during the Clinton presidency was driven by investment instead of consumption is just silly. In a developed economy, economic growth is always powered more by consumption than investment. If you have an example to the contrary (even in low consumption countries like Japan) I’d like to know what it is.
    Moreover, the idea that consumption was powered by a stock market bubble during the Clinton Administration is simply wrong. The stock market bubble was limited to Clinton’s later years in office and it was confined primarily to the high tech/internet sector. For six of Clinton’s eight years in office, the trailing P/E ratio of the S&P 500 (which excluded most but not all internet stocks) was at or near historical norms. The reality is that for most of the Clinton years, the stock market advance was driven by earnings growth not “irrational exuberance.”
    One other point I would make, Rich, is that I can’t help but wonder which President in modern times you think had a better economic record than Clinton. I would say Roosevelt did. After all, he ended the Great Depression with the New Deal (and yes, I know, World War II helped). Was Truman’s economic record better? Eisenhower or Kennedy’s?
    Kennedy cut taxes and spurred growth, but did he face anywhere near the economic challenges that Clinton did? After all, in 1960, the US economy was still the dominant economy in the world by far and Europe and Asia were still recovering from World War II.
    What about Johnson, whose economic policies set in place a decade of inflation followed by stagflation? Do you think Johnson was a better steward of the economy than Clinton? Did you prefer Nixon’s economic policies? Surely you remember economic performance during the Carter Administration and Jimmy’s famous malaise speech. What about Reagan and the largest deficits in modern times? I know you remember the terrible economic performance of George H.W. Bush when unemployment reached 8 percent.
    So Rich, exactly which President since Roosevelt had a better economic performance than Clinton?

    Reply

  32. antiphone says:

    Why do you think Bill Clinton’s global endeavors are going to cause problems?
    Well MarkL, here’s a sample:
    ”Upon landing on the first stop of a three-country philanthropic tour, the two men were whisked off to share a sumptuous midnight banquet with Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan A. Nazarbayev, whose 19-year stranglehold on the country has all but quashed political dissent.
    Mr. Nazarbayev walked away from the table with a propaganda coup, after Mr. Clinton expressed enthusiastic support for the Kazakh leader’s bid to head an international organization that monitors elections and supports democracy. Mr. Clinton’s public declaration undercut both American foreign policy and sharp criticism of Kazakhstan’s poor human rights record by, among others, Mr. Clinton’s wife, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York.”
    Read the whole article here:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/31/us/politics/31donor.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=all
    There’s plenty more like this. There’s no denying the fact that the Clintons are attacked in the press in stupid, ridiculous ways but that tends to obscure legitimate problems that, yes, really do exist

    Reply

  33. Carol says:

    I’m not sure if Obama has made the right choice in Hillary!! I think she could bring too much baggage with her, we don’t want the Clinton’s running the White House again.
    I feel Bill was a good President in his day and that day has gone now and we want new fresh ideas in the White House….although I think Hillary would do a good job as SOS, I’m not convinced she is the right person for it.
    As long as Obama has a good team at the end of the day that is all that really matters…he has made some good choices so far.

    Reply

  34. JohnH says:

    Here’s an opportunity to pre-emptively bring pressure on Obama and Hawkish Hillary:
    “Top Experts Call for Direct Diplomacy with Iran”
    http://capwiz.com/justforeignpolicy/issues/alert/?alertid=12212141&type=CO
    Please sign the petition and hit ‘send.’

    Reply

  35. rich says:

    WigWag,
    Dean Baker recounts the basis of Clinton admin economic performance better than I could. Read the whole thing—it’s worth it. Deals with Summers & Rubin’s approach to America’s position in the global economy.
    Esp, the error of holding up the value of the dollar when the underlying economic engine can’t justify those rates—you lose financially in several different ways. Enjoy!
    The High Priests of the Bubble Economy
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/2008/11/11/the_high_priests_of_the_bubble/
    >
    “It is important to separate Clinton-era mythology from the real economic record. In the mythology, Clinton’s decision to raise taxes and cut spending led to an investment boom. This boom led to a surge in productivity growth. Soaring productivity growth led to the low unemployment of the late 1990s and wage gains for workers at all points along the wage distribution.
    “At the end of the administration, there was a huge surplus, and we set target dates for paying off the national debt. The moral of the myth is that all good things came from deficit reduction.
    “The reality was quite different. There was nothing resembling an investment boom until the dot-com bubble at the end of the decade funnelled vast sums of capital into crazy internet schemes. There was a surge in productivity growth beginning in 1995, but this preceded any substantial upturn in investment. Clinton had the good fortune to be sitting in the White House at the point where the economy finally enjoyed the long-predicted dividend from the information technology revolution.
    “Rather than investment driving growth during the Clinton boom, the main source of demand growth was consumption. Consumption soared during the Clinton years because the stock market bubble created $10tn of wealth. Stockholders consumed based on their bubble wealth, pushing the saving rate to record lows, and the consumption share of GDP to a record high.
    “The other key part of the story is the high dollar policy initiated by Rubin when he took over as Treasury secretary. . . .
    “The high dollar of the late 1990s reversed this logic. The dollar was pushed upward by a combination of Treasury cheerleading, worldwide financial instability beginning with the East Asian financial crisis and the irrational exuberance propelling the stock bubble, which also infected foreign investors.
    “In the short-run, the over-valued dollar led to cheap imports and lower inflation. It incidentally all also led to the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs, putting downward pressure on the wages of non-college educated workers.
    “Like the stock bubble, the high dollar is also unsustainable as a long-run policy. It led to a large and growing trade deficit. This deficit eventually forced a decline in the value of the dollar, although the process has been temporarily reversed by the current financial crisis.”
    And that brins us to the big boys about whom you seem so concerned:
    ” . . . the stage was set during the Clinton years. The Clinton team set the economy on the path of one-sided financial deregulation and bubble driven growth that brought us where we are today. (The deregulation was one-sided, because they did not take away the “too big to fail” security blanket of the Wall Street big boys.)”
    WigWag, I don’t mean to say every Clinton-era economoic policy had negative effects. It’s essential to recognize, though, that reckless deregulation and heedless ‘free’ trade policies caused untold damage to America’s overall economy, even as it did create some winners. A seemingly hot stock market can never compensate for the multi-sectoral dismantling of America’s economic engines. Productivity has to, you know, actually have a product. There’s nothing Larry Summers can do to salvage anything from delivering America as a resource to be exploited, rather than a nation to be constructed and conserved. It’s a fatal error, and it can’t be undone within the framework he wrought.
    And when the best job in any town is stocking the shelves at Wal-Mart with goods made in China, something is amiss. Just as Ghengis Khan kept vanquished mayors around to act as the powerless, grinning, terrified village-idiot-cum-ambassador and symbol of their own demise, so too does Wal-Mart have its own equivalent. They grab a village elder from each local economy hoovered into the global maw, and install them as the Wal-Mart Greeter at each store. Unproductive and castrated, they stand as a totem at the village/store gates, offering an inverse message with each head-bogging, glad-handing, pasty smile encounter: Leave your gold, take your beads and trinkets, and get out—this ain’t your town and you ain’t welcome here.
    Related: Larry King’s interview of Michael Moore exposes the repeating, stone-stupid hubris of Big Three auto CEOs. I’m not a big Michael Moore fan, but he captured the Chrysler/GM/Ford arrogance 20 years ago—and nothing’s changed.
    http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/11/20/lkl.michael.moore/index.html?eref=rss_topstories
    Hate to say it, but the only way to transform corporate culture and national competitiveness is to nationalize or take an equity stake in each auto manufacturer, base a bailout on a wholesale overhaul of product, purpose and management, and put each one into receivership until national goals are met that make efficiency, affordability, equity, market-responsiveness, and sustainabilty primary objectives.
    Because the one fact no one’s acknowledging isnt’ going away: without innovating towards those goals, there’ll be no competitive advantage at all, and the economic slide will accelerate uncontrollably. Think: without the auto-industry & middle class wages, who’ll buy anything? Without an efficient, market-driven product, why would they buy it? And without putting cars that cost less than houses on the sales floor, auto mfgrs are just putting every American in a contemporary debtor’s prison. It’s asinine. We might as well be shipping barrels of money to Japan and Saudi Arabia.
    IF we can’t build efficient competitive cities and produce efficient competitive cars to drive in them, then we’re just not gonna come out on top. As noted, China’s investing close to $600 billion in mass transit and other infrastructure. Guess it beats investing in the debts of a debtor nation–esp one whose bridges and rail are falling apart and making no similar move to invest in upgrades. Yeah, invest.
    The one fact

    Reply

  36. Kathleen Grassdo Andersen says:

    Barcelona…you lucky stiffff!!! After I saw Woody Allen’s new movie Vicky/Christina/Barcelona, I wanted to jump on a plane and go there….such a beatiful city…
    Seeing how many formrer Clinton people are in BO’s adminstration begs the question… Why not Hillary for Veep? After that head fake, if I were Hillary I’d call BO up at 3 a.m.and tell where to stick the SOS thing.
    POA…why do you refer to BO advisors as “consiglieri”.? There’s not an Italian in the bunch…congilieri are not “yes” men….they have balls. If a single one of them had come out strong for impeachment, I’d say coniglieri was apt….oh, yeah, you meant that as an insult….same old same old tired stereotype.

    Reply

  37. WigWag says:

    POA asks, “BTW, anyone else notice that weasel Waxman has been muzzled these last few weeks?”
    Yes Waxman has been muzzled. I watched his House Government Oversight Committee on C-SPAN when they interrogated five hedge fund managers. It was hilarious and depressing at the same time.
    The Committee was holding hearings on the financial meltdown. A few weeks ago they had senior executives at AIG testify. Waxman and the other Committee members eviscerated them. About a month ago, Richard Fuld and the Lehman Brothers crowd testified. Again, the Committee eviscerated them.
    But surprise, surprise, when the hedge fund big wigs testified Waxman and his colleagues treated them like visiting royalty. The fact that hedge fund shenanigans and hedge fund redemptions have destroyed the retirement accounts of millions of Americans didn’t seem to faze the Congressman at all. Both the Democrats on the Committee as well as the Republicans didn’t lay a glove on these guys.
    It’s not hard to understand why. This is the roster of the hedge fund managers who testified.
    George Soros. In 2008 alone he gave $112 thousand of his own money to various candidates as well as $42 thousand to the Democratic Senatorial and House Campaign Committees. His family members gave tens of thousands of dollars more. He has raised millions for the Democratic Party. Waxman treated him like he was rock star.
    James Simons. He founded Renaissance Technologies Corporation, the most profitable hedge fund in America. Simons ranks as 178 on the Forbes list of world wide billionaires. He gives exclusively to Democrats. He gave $206,250 in 2008 alone. Waxman, Carolyn Maloney and the other Democrats on the Committee treated Mr. Simons like a potentate.
    John Paulson. He runs New York-based Paulson & Co., which manages about $36 billion. His Credit Opportunities Fund soared almost six fold in 2007, primarily on wagers that subprime mortgages would tumble. While he gave a small amount of money to Democrats (Frank Lautenberg. Max Baucus, Dick Durban and Carl Levin) most of his contributions go to Republicans. In 2008 he gave $103,000 to various Republicans. The ranking republican on the Committee, Tom Davis (who is retiring) and the odious Mark Souter of Indiana fell all over themselves complimenting Mr. Paulson for his wonderful philanthropy.
    Phil Falcone. Falcone of Harbinger Capital Partners Fund has seen his fund decline 13 percent so far (which isn’t bad). He gave $78 thousand in 2008 mostly to Republicans. But he did give $28,500 to both the Republican and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committees. The one Democrat he did give to was Rahm Emanuel. The Democrats and Republicans on the Committee fell all over each other trying to see who could be more warm and fuzzy to Mr. Falcome.
    Kenneth Griffin. He runs the $16 billion Citadel Investment Group in Chicago, and has faced the toughest year out of the five billionaire managers. His firm was the subject of rumors in September and October that it would be forced to liquidate its Kensington and Wellington hedge funds, in part because of losses related to convertible bonds and other credit securities. The funds dropped 38 percent this year through Nov. 4. In 2008, Griffin gave $178,500 mostly to Republicans. But like many of his counterparts, he gave $25,000 to both the Democratic and Republican senatorial campaign committees. And for good measure, he maxed out on contributions to Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Chris Dodd, Mitt Romeny and John McCain. I guess that’s called covering your bases. Waxman, Davis and their colleagues had nothing but sympathy for all of Mr. Griffiths travails.
    Millions of Americans have watched their retirement savings go up in smoke; millions more can no longer afford to send their kids to college. The misdeeds of hedge funds are one major reason for the collapse in the equity markets. Their need to deleverage and to raise capital for redemptions has created a tsunami of selling that is literally killing the average investor.
    But don’t expect to see any outrage from Henry Waxman. And don’t expect to see reasonable reforms in the hedge fund industry. Things like requiring them to disclose short sales or to provide a summary of their investment strategies. And don’t expect the ridiculous tax treatment they get to be changed any time soon.
    Blinded by their campaign contributions, Waxman and his colleagues (Democrat and Republican) will continue to fiddle while Rome burns.

    Reply

  38. ... says:

    the comments section for the article “Bizarre Media Cycles for Bashar” seems to be malfunctioning.. i am unable to comment on the article…

    Reply

  39. rich says:

    POA,
    At the Franklin & Elizabeth Roosevelt Institute conf last Saturday,
    Dennis Ross also said America faces a choice between a nuclear Iran and going to war with Iran. That’s not the case; and doesn’t indicate Ross can offer the kind of game-changing path to altered relations in the Mid- and East-Asia that’ll reap gains and avoid the staggering costs wrought by the conventional wisdom.
    He claimed Iran was driving towards nuclear arms, despite the fact such assertions have been routinely discredited.
    I appreciated the clarity of Ross’s explanation of diplomatic method. He said we need to use a larger carrot and a larger stick, to sufficiently motivate Iranian leaders. So far, we’d used weak carrots and weak sticks.
    To get what it wants you see, every nation has its big stick—its chicken—and Iraq is our chicken.
    Then Dennis Ross used a joke to illustrate the point. You see, I man has a parrot that curses a blue streak, in obscenely, unbelievably coarse language. He tries persuasion, bribery–even takes the parrot to Cursing Parrot Therapy. No luck: every time he returns home, the parrot curses and swears and embarrasses him half to death. For goodness’ sake, he can’t even have guests over!
    He puts the parrot in rehab, then goes away for a weekend. When he walks in the door, parrot says some unkind things about his mother. In a fit of anger, he grabs the parrot and shoves it in the freezer! A few hours later he has a change of heart and releases the cursin’ bird. It wobbles out and says, “I apologize. I will never, ever do that again. Whatever you’d like me to do in the future, I will do it. Anything at all.”
    “I just have one question. What exactly did the chicken do?” [peals of laughter]
    Then Ross says, “Iraq is our chicken.”
    Get it? A million dead, an economy shattered, depleted uranium spread throughout the land, ethnic cleansing, Abu Ghraib, etc., etc.
    Too bad it doesn’t work.
    Dennis Ross also asserted that we can isolate Iran with a broad coalition, something Bush had done badly, even haplessly mucking any coordination with Saudi Arabia.
    That notion is hopelessly naive; Ross will never be able to get Russia and China all to line up to implement an American agenda regarding Iran. It won’t happen. I posted on that before; even Ross listed reasons why, without acknowledging the bottom line.
    I didn’t point out that
    The weakest stick of all is our fatal assumption that America is in a position to order around sovereign nations. That’s the root of our failure; that’s what’s causing the problem. When we start from a position of such overt weakness, it’s no surprise we keep losing these political battles over and over again.
    Ross evaded a question on our ’53 overthrow of Mossadegh. We keep doing the same thing over and over again, and wondering why we get the same result. It’s the definition of insanity.
    Just one example: Dennis Ross said the danger was that Iran could gain a nuclear shield, behind which it could carry out aggression and subversion. This is exactly what the United States has been doing–from halfway around the world. So how, exactly, is America a moral exemplar, and Iran a dastardly rogue state, if we’re both doing the same thing? Serious question.
    Note well: Ross drew precisely the wrong lesson from his parrot & chicken parable. Ross also mischaracterized Iran’s behavior.
    If Iran doesn’t want to become the Iraqi chicken—it’d damn well better build a nuclear arms capability. Still, far from cursing a blue streak at its American ‘owner’ (parables can be TOO revealing), Iran has repeatedly asked to engage in negotiations. They haven’t been recalcitrant at all.
    Further, their attention to political needs of the populace in Lebanon and elsewhere is instructive. Rather than seeing a coflict-by-proxy with the United States (though Iran of course recognizes the US’ proxy actions and must be existentially obliged to offset them), as Ross claimed, Iran continues to win by meeting the needs and desires of local citizens, as expressed through political channels. This can involve building infrastructure and meeting basic needs. Both trends have been reported here on The Washington Note.
    Without learning from Iran’s effectiveness, and without cleaning up our own act, we’ll inevitably wreak great havoc, lose the wider conflict, and fail to regain an ounce of our integrity in the process.

    Reply

  40. PissedOffAmerican says:

    BTW, anyone else notice that weasel Waxman has been muzzled these last few weeks? I guess its not even cool to posture as though accountability is an issue anymore. yep. We’re just supposed to ignore the crimes of the last eight years. Hallelujah, a new day is dawning.
    Right.
    Yeah, sure thing.

    Reply

  41. rich says:

    Worth its very own comment.
    http://www.atom.com/funny_videos/haha_america/
    Take a good look—and make sure you read the subtitles all the way through.
    Best line of the vid: ~”Killing Fear .. How’s that working out for you? Try bombing Anxiety first. And work your way up to Fear.”
    China’s understanding of the way the world works and of real power, I’d argue, can’t be touched by American thinkers. And its grasp of how to turn the tables on a 20th century, unrestrained and unaccountable superpower—given American trade and economic decisions over the past several decades—isn’t merely unparalleled. It can’t be confronted.
    There’s wrong with [free-er] trade per se. But government is there to make sure we don’t lose everything by worshiping that golden calf.

    Reply

  42. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Comical, reading these comments. What a distraction from the real world.
    Meanwhile, Rome burns. Iraq still oozes blood. Bush continues to dismantle five decades of environmental legislation. Neocon moles imbed themselves. The Gonzales camp continues to say “fuck you” to subpoenas, requests for information, and investigations about the politization of the Justice Department, while our incoming Prez appoints his own closely connected consiglierre to assure that the people don’t threaten his power. These fuckin’ clowns with the Big Three fly three separate private jets to Washington to beg for money. Paulson says “thanks for the dough, we’ve decided to to use it differently than what we told you we’d do with it”.
    Gaza is under a state of siege, with journalists denied entry, and Palestinians starving.
    And these satanist monsters in Cheney’s camp still torture human beings on foreign soil.
    Who gives a flyin’ fuck what criminal gets to be the next SOS? You’d be better served by seeing what canned goods you have stored in your larders.

    Reply

  43. rich says:

    I liked the CNN analysis.
    Seems to me Obama has seamlessly colonized the Clinton political bloc, and so his appropriation of Clinton veterans and possible appointment of Hillary Clinton doesn’t really bother me.
    His possible adoption of failed neoliberal free trade policies and the failed neocon/neolib foreign policy stance, though, would be a problem. Prz-elect Obama will break with some of those policies, but not all, and to our detriment not from some fundamentally damaging and rigidly held ideological positions. (Iran, giving orders to sovereign nations, exporting American jobs.)
    Goodwin’s “Team of Rivals” narrative makes a comforting bedtime story, but doesn’t comport with the facts: Lincoln’s method didn’t always works so well, and America can’t really afford to indulge infighting over failed policies and bankrupt ideas.
    Robert Kuttner stated at FERI’s First 100 Days conference last Saturday that “the only difference between Robert Rubin and Hank Paulson is that Robert Rubin is willing to say a few kinds words about poor people.” Josh Marshall at TPM makes another crucial point about Larry Summers: Can the people responsible for deregulating financial markets (in contravention of the high school history units covering the 1929 stock market crash and subsequent Great Depression) REALLY offer game-changing solutions? When they studiously ignored the basics?
    Still not sure how critical it is to get this right? Still think big change is a bad idea?
    Take a look at this video—and make sure you read the subtitles all the way through.
    http://www.atom.com/funny_videos/haha_america/
    The country founded on local, democratic sovereignty—that’d be US—and common sense business practices hasn’t just lost its way. We actively use Predator drones as persuasive instruments to win hearts and minds rather than learning the local language and meeting on the ground political concerns to actually, you know, win the war. We eagerly export our most-prized economic engine, and what remains of that auto industry actively refuses to compete in the market or meet demands for efficient vehicles.
    I honestly don’t mind if Hillary Clinton and other Clinton vets sign on to move Przt. Obama’s agenda forward. Many are highly accomplished. But will they be able to offer game-changing insights or tactics—and have they sent any signal at all that they’re willing to? Some are simply spear-carriers, as Steve put it, for a slightly less deranged approach to ordering around other sovereign nations. (i.e., Madeleine Albright) That merely repeats the fatal hubris of past administrations, using different aesthetic tones in the same tragedic-farce that delivers the same inevitable ending.
    Judging by Dennis Ross’s comments at FERI’s conf., it’ll be business as usual: he evaded questions on the US’s violations of sovereignty and democracy that bear responsiblity for Iran’s radicalization and continuing mistrust.
    CannI getta witness? Howbouta Greek Chorus? No? Oh well, it’s a good thing this is all just play-acting. And thank goodness there’s nothing at stake.

    Reply

  44. MarkL says:

    Dan K,
    Why do you think Bill Clinton’s global endeavors are going to cause problems?
    Do you have something against fighting malaria and AIDS?
    Good God—GHWB was on the board of a gold-mining company which buried its workers alive when they tried to unionize, but no one says a peep about that.
    Clinton takes money from scumbags for his charity.
    So what? All charities do that.

    Reply

  45. Matt says:

    Has anyone here read “The Shock Doctrine” by Naomi Klein? Yikes!!!

    Reply

  46. Dan Kervick says:

    I don’t at all think Bill Clinton would be negative baggage internationally. But he could be negative baggage domestically and politically, once the media starts investigating his global endeavors. We really don’t know; but that’s the sticking point.

    Reply

  47. antiphone says:

    The idea that he is negative baggage is completely absurd.
    You’re right. “Negative baggage” is far too kind. A Clinton appointment would be proof positive that Emperor Obama has no clothes. Having supported Obama through the primaries, I find the lack of judgment he’s shown post election deeply disappointing.

    Reply

  48. MarkL says:

    DanK
    If you were objective, you’d realize that what you call “Clintonian drama” is not coming from the Clintons—it is a creation of the media.
    Furthermore, while I don’t have a strong feeling about whether Hillary should be SOS, there is absolutely no question that being Bill Clinton’s husband would be a tremendous advantage for her as SoS, because of the enormous good will towards him the world over. The idea that he is negative baggage is completely absurd.

    Reply

  49. Dan K says:

    When the possibility of Clinton for Secretary of State first came up, I assumed it was close to a done deal. But the longer the decision lingers, the less likely it may become. I think David Corn might be right that the whole episode has become a foretaste of unwelcome Clintonian drama.

    Reply

  50. Zathras says:

    The CNN piece was a little long for CNN television commentary, but was remarkably faithful to the CNN style: heavy on superlatives and descriptions of personal qualities, light on discussion of concrete facts for which there is actual evidence. I don’t question why Steve Clemons wrote it, only why CNN engaged his services to write something one of the writers it already has could have turned out in twenty minutes.
    At this point I think it’s premature to promote grand unified theories of Obama. In some areas it seems clear, generally, where he is headed with his appointments, at Justice and HHS for example. In others it doesn’t. As in any administration, some appointments will work out and some will not. I think Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State is a bad appointment that Obama will regret. It solves no problem he has, and places a department difficult to manage under the leadership of a woman whose most significant attempts at management — her husband’s health care reform package in 1993 and her Presidential campaign — were notable failures. Obama had better choices available, choices from outside Campaign World that he might well have made were he as confident in his judgement about foreign policy as he is on some domestic policy areas. That he appears to have chosen instead a colossus of Campaign World, whose record of accomplishmentin the field of foreign affairs is barely more impressive than Steve Clemons’own, is highly unlikely to be fatal to his administration. But it is a foolish mistake on his part, one that will bring with it CNN puff pieces now and pieces to pick up later.

    Reply

  51. leo says:

    Steve, after recent news stories I’m wondering where you fit in leaking Clinton-as-Secretary negotiation details.
    Would you say Rahm is a self-aware spam filter (parodying Dilbert), or Big Bill and Ma Clinton are ploughing fertile journalistic fields, or something completely different?
    🙂

    Reply

  52. Don Bacon says:

    Barry even sounds like Hillary now, as on 60 Minutes Sunday: “Well, I’ve said during the campaign, and I’ve stuck to this commitment, that as soon as I take office, I will call in the Joint Chiefs of Staff, my national security apparatus, and we will start executing a plan that draws down our troops.”
    No more “troops out now” — it’s condition-based and general-based. We know what that means. Change you can count on — Obama’s now a Clintonista.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *