Political Critic Archives - January 2010

 

Archives - January 2010

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010 - 5:18pm

Geithner Grilled

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner testified before the House Oversight Committee this morning about the AIG bailout and the lack of disclosure to the public.  Not surprisingly, the lifelong bureaucrat denied having any involvement in the attempt to withhold critical details about the case. 

The New York Fed is accused of failing to disclose over a dozen controversial actions to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in late 2008.  Geithner was the President of the New York Federal Reserve at the time, but claims he had no day-to-day responsibilities since he had been nominated by President Obama to be Treasury Secretary.

Thankfully, some Republican Congressmen were not buying Geithner's purported ignorance of the situation.  Ranking member Darrell Issa (R-CA) and John Mica (R-FL) effectively called for his head.  Democrats were (painfully) quiet as they didn't want to be seen as defending an otherwise insolvent firm like AIG, nor did they want to attack a man appointed by a Democratic President.

Timothy Geithner has been evasive since Day 1, acting more like a crooked politician than an upstanding public servant.  You'll notice that he rarely, if ever, answers a question directly.  While that may work for a Congressman, we need much more transparency from our Treasury Secretary. 

The bottom line here is that Geithner needs to resign as soon as possible.  Not only does he dodge questions, he doesn't even know what he's doing.  It's astonishing that President Barack Obama ever nominated this incompetent buffoon.

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Thursday, January 21, 2010 - 6:12pm

President Goes After Banks

In a speech today, Barack Obama sought much tougher regulation on Wall Street and American banks.  The president laid out a plan to control the size and complexity of financial companies, limit reckless speculation by commercial banks, and impose fees (i.e. taxes) on the country's largest corporations that construct a highly leveraged balance sheet.

 

With the exception of the tax increase, the populist message is long overdue.  There has yet to be a single law passed that prohibits financial services companies from creating the same problems that got us into this mess in the first place.  Large banking institutions and Wall Street firms have reduced their leverage and are no longer participating in high-risk loans, but there is nothing stopping them from doing it again.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010 - 9:00pm

Could a Republican Win in Massachusetts?

A special election for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat will be held on Tuesday in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Republican challenger Scott Brown (father of Ayla Brown) is surging against the establishment Democratic candidate Martha Coakley.   Ms. Coakley held a 17-point lead only two weeks ago, but her complacency, incompetence, and lackluster campaigning has allowed Brown to take the lead in a number of polls.

Poll Date Sample Brown (R) Coakley (D) Spread
InsideMedford/MRG 1/15 - 1/15 565 LV 51 41 Brown +10
PJM/CrossTarget (R) 1/14 - 1/14 946 LV 54 39 Brown +15
ARG 1/12 - 1/14 600 LV 48 45 Brown +3
Blue Mass Group/R2000 (D) 1/12 - 1/13 500 LV 41 49 Coakley +8
Suffolk/7News 1/11 - 1/13 500 LV 50 46 Brown +4
Rasmussen Reports 1/11 - 1/11 1000 LV 47 49 Coakley +2
PPP (D) 1/7 - 1/9 744 LV 48 47 Brown +1
Rasmussen Reports 1/4 - 1/4 500 LV 41 50 Coakley +9
Boston Globe 1/2 - 1/6 554 LV 36 53 Coakley +17
Suffolk 11/4 - 11/8 600 RV 27 58 Coakley +31

The power of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance.  If Brown pulls off this major upset, he will make the Democrats look like fools.  To lose a Senate seat in a special election in one of the most liberal states in the country is nearly unprecedented. 

In addition, if Brown wins, he would be the 41st Republican in the Senate, which means the Democrats will lose their filibuster-proof majority and possibly the health care reform bill.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010 - 8:05pm

100,000 Feared Dead in Haiti

Haitian government officials believe the death toll may surpass 100,000 after the nation suffered a catastrophic earthquake.  The capital city of Port-au-Prince is destroyed as thousands of buildings have collapsed, including hospitals, schools, and the Haitian National Palace.

Aid is pouring into the country and former President Bill Clinton, who is the U.N. special envoy to Haiti, is pleading for donations in order to get much needed supplies to the people.

 

The most immediate needs beyond search and rescue are food, water, shelter, and first-aid supplies.  Although Clinton mentions his own organization, donations would likely be more effective if sent to the Red Cross.


Friday, January 8, 2010 - 5:51pm

More Job Losses

Today's December unemployment report showed another 85,000 job cuts and a rate holding at a very lofty 10.0%.  The November report was revised upward to +4,000 jobs created, but the economy has otherwise shed jobs every month for two years straight.

The Obama administration attempted to put their best spin on the numbers as Austan Goolsbee, one of their key economic advisors, talked to CNBC this morning to discuss how 'good' this report was and that we're moving in the right direction.

 

Thus far, the unemployment reports have only been less bad, not actually positive.  The ones in 2010 not only have to turn to the upside, but they need to show the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs each and every month for the American economy to get back to normal.

If that doesn't happen and the jobless rate remains at 10% come the mid-term elections, incumbent Democrats will get crushed.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010 - 9:22pm

Democrats Dodd, Dorgan "Retire"

Senators Chris Dodd (D-CT) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) today announced they would retire and not seek another term in office, presumably because they were not likely to win re-election. While this development appears to open the door for Republicans, the Democrats should be able to retain at least one of those seats.

In Connecticut, state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is a strong individual to replace Chris Dodd.  He has already announced his candidacy and he polls very well.  In addition, Connecticut is a very blue state and one the GOP would be hard-pressed to flip.

The Senate seat in red-state North Dakota is another story.  The Democrats are expected to lose to whomever runs on the Republican side. All indications are that Byron Dorgan was the only Democrat with a chance to win and even that was tenuous at best.

Current projections from FiveThirtyEight.com show the GOP picking up about two seats in the mid-terms, thus breaking the filibuster-proof majority the left now hold.  However, with six Republicans retiring, it would be nearly impossible for them to regain control of the Senate.

At the end of the day, the Democrats should maintain control of the Senate after the November elections.  They may fall to 57 or 58 seats, but it will still represent a strong majority.


Sunday, January 3, 2010 - 12:50pm

War in Yemen?

The United States and Great Britain decided to close their embassies in Yemen today after threats of increased violence by al-Qaida elements in the country.  Both nations also announced an increase in counterterrorism funds to the Yemeni government in the wake of the failed bomb attack on the Northwest Airlines flight by a 23-year old Nigerian man.

The American Embassy in Yemen was attacked two times in 2008 and expectations are that it could be targeted a third time.  The embassy released a statement citing "ongoing threats" from terrorist organizations as their rational for closure.

Shutting down the foreign embassy may be a prelude to further violence in Yemen.  The U.S. appears to be stepping up their efforts in money, resources, intelligence, and surveillance to fight off al-Qaida radicals in the nation.  Considering the Yemeni government doesn't even have total control of their own country, U.S. involvement could escalate into another full-fledged war.

 


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