Archive for February 10th, 2009

Senator Leahy “Restoring Trust in the Justice System”

February 09, 2009 C-SPAN

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy talked about the committee’s agenda. In his remarks he spoke about detainee interrogations, U.S. detention facilities, and hiring practices of the Justice Department. He also answered questions from the audience.

The talk was titled “Restoring Trust in the Justice System: The Senate Judiciary Committee’s Agenda In The 111th Congress.” (51 Minutes)

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Palin’s AG, A Key Trooper-Gate Ally, Resigns

Talis Colberg, who was plucked from the obscurity of a small-town Alaska law practice by Sarah Palin to become the state’s Attorney General, has resigned, reports the Anchorage Daily News.

Colberg, who had been a GOP assemblyman and Palin backer, was criticized during the Trooper-Gate scandal last fall for often appearing to represent the interests of his patron, the governor, rather than the Alaskan people. Although he himself had led an internal investigation designed to help Palin get out in front of Trooper-Gate, Colberg ultimately dismissed calls to recuse himself from any involvement in the matter. He then helped Palin stifle the probe into the matter by trying to block subpoenas, issued by the legislature, to state officials.

It’s unclear as yet what prompted Colberg’s move. He said in a statement:

I determined that it was in the best interest of the state of Alaska to move on and pursue other opportunities.

Something tells us there’s more to this story…

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The Corrs & Bono – When The Stars Go Blue

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By: Richard Baum…February 10th, 2009

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner speaks during a news conference in the Cash Room of the Treasury Department in Washington, February 10, 2009.

The U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday unveiled a revamped financial rescue plan to cleanse up to $500 billion in spoiled assets from banks’ books and support $1 trillion in new lending through an expanded Federal Reserve program. But initial market reaction reflected investors’ doubts about the plan, with stocks falling around 3 percent after the announcement by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

“For all the rhetoric that this is a new plan, they’ve done nothing but rehash and expand the old procedures,” said Steven Ricchiuto, chief economist at Mizuho Securities USA.

Carl Lantz, U.S. interest rate strategist at Credit Suisse in New York, said details of a proposed public-private investment fund for mopping up toxic bank assets were “very vague”.

“It sounds like for this public-private investment fund they are still exploring a range of different structures for the program or seeking input from market participants,” he said. “That’s the the kind of stuff we heard on TARP One and suggests that given all this time they still don’t have anything very specific nailed down.”

James Ellman, president of Seacliff Capital in San Francisco, criticized the proposals. “Investors want clarity, simplicity, and resolution. This plan is seen as convoluted, obfuscating, and clouded. We know that Geithner was able to overrule many other Obama administration people, and said we should not be tough on bank equity holders or bank management. So equity holders got a better deal, and it’s still not a good deal.”

The immediate result of Geithner’s unveiling was a significant drop in the stock market, which should be no surprise, because he is part of the problem, along with Henry M. Paulson, Jr, ‘ ex secretary of the treasury’ and Ben S Bernanke ‘Chairman, Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System’. All three of these unsavory characters attended the latest BILDERBERG MEETING at Chantilly, Virginia in June 2008.


Bernanke Begins ‘Thorough Review’ of Fed Disclosure (Update1)

By Craig Torres…

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke initiated a review of the information it provides the public after lawmakers criticized the central bank’s disclosure policies during the unprecedented expansion of its holdings.

Bernanke has invoked emergency authority and more than doubled the size of the Fed’s balance sheet to $1.8 trillion to combat the worst credit crisis in seven decades. His moves have prompted concern that the central bank is encouraging excessive risk-taking, distorting pricing in financial markets and jeopardizing the Fed’s independence. The Fed hasn’t disclosed many of the assets and participants in its programs.

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Air freight drops as global trade siezes up

The scale of the downturn in world trade was underlined by figures on Tuesday from airport operator BAA showing a 16% plunge in cargo moved by air.

BAA, which runs Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted airports, said the number of tonnes of air cargo declined by 15.9% in January, on top of a 15.1% fall in December. The airport operator said cargo volumes are dropping at all UK airports as a “direct result of the global economic downturn”. It said freight volumes in the whole of 2008 were down 1.4% compared to 2007, largely due the sustained drop at the end of the year.

It comes as the cost of sending cargo by ship has dropped to virtually nothing on some routes. Lloyds List, the shipping newspaper, reported last month that spot freight rates for Asia to Europe fell to zero last month as shippers were prepared to carry some goods for free just to keep their ships in operation.

Passenger traffic at BAA airports in January also dropped 6.3% to 9.4m. The decline was felt the hardest in domestic UK travel which declined 12%. European traffic was down 6%, followed by transatlantic routes down 5.9%, and other long-haul traffic down 1.9%.

Traffic at Gatwick and Stansted airports declined by 10.8% and 11.2%, respectively. Gatwick suffered a 24% decline in long-haul flights, due largely to the collapse of Zoom and XL airlines.

Southampton airport recorded am 11.5% drop in passenger numbers and traffic at the group’s Scottish airports – Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen – dropped 8.7%.

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Obama On Lessons Learned: I Should Have Started With No Tax Cuts And Let GOP Take Credit For Them»

Think Progress- By Faiz Shakir on Feb 9th, 2009 at 9:42 pm

At tonight’s White House press conference, NPR’s Mara Liasson asked President Obama what lessons he has learned through the process of negotiating with Republicans over the economic recovery package. Obama explained there’s a lot of people who “sort of want to test the limits of what they can get.”

Reflecting further, Obama reminded the journalists present that the conservatives had originally expressed their approval of Obama’s plan to offer over $300 billion in tax cuts. But over time, they decided not to negotiate in good faith:

They were pleasantly surprised and complimentary about the tax cut that were presented in that framework. Those tax cuts are still in there. I mean, I suppose what I could have done is started off with no tax cuts, knowing that I was going to want some and then let them take credit for all of them. And maybe that’s the lesson I learned.

He added, “People have to break out of some of the ideological rigidity and gridlock that we’ve been carrying around for too long.”

Obama went on rip Republicans who now lecture about the need for fiscal responsibility. “It’s a little hard for me to take criticism from folks about this recovery package after they presided over a doubling of the national debt,” he said. “I’m not sure they have a lot of credibility when it comes to fiscal responsibility.” Watch it:

In early January, when Obama unveiled his recovery plan, ThinkProgress’ Matt Yglesias warned of the problem with starting off the stimulus negotiation with a healthy amount of tax cuts. “It’s one thing to unveil a compromise as a result of a bipartisan negotiation, and another thing to unveil an opening bid that you say you hope conservatives can get on board with,” he wrote.


Obama News Conference (VIDEO)

Huffington Post |   February 9, 2009 09:48 AM

Scroll down for video… Read Obama’s opening remarks here

President Barack Obama, pressuring lawmakers to urgently approve a massive economic recovery bill, turned his first prime-time news conference Monday night into a determined defense of his emergency plan and an offensive against Republicans who try to “play the usual political games.”

He said the recession has left the nation so weak that only the federal government can “jolt our economy back to life.” And he declared that failure to act swiftly and boldly “could turn a crisis into a catastrophe.”

He said the country could be in better shape by next year, as measured by increased hiring, lending, home values and other factors. “If we get things right, then, starting next year, we can start seeing significant improvement,” Obama said.

With more than 11 million Americans now out of work, Obama defended his program against Republican criticism that it is loaded with pork-barrel spending and will not create jobs.

“The plan is not perfect,” the president said. “No plan is. I can’t tell you for sure that everything in this plan will work exactly as we hope, but I can tell you with complete confidence that a failure to act will only deepen this crisis as well as the pain felt by millions of Americans.”


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GM cutting 10,000 jobs

Troubled automaker reducing worldwide salaried staff by 14%, with a third of layoffs coming in U.S.; remaining workers to have their pay cut for 2009.

By Chris Isidore, CNNMoney.com senior writer


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