Damned Heretics

Condemned by the established, but very often right

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

Qualified outsiders and maverick insiders are often right about the need to replace received wisdom in science and society, as the history of the Nobel prize shows. This blog exists to back the best of them in their uphill assault on the massively entrenched edifice of resistance to and prejudice against reviewing, let alone revising, ruling ideas. In support of such qualified dissenters and courageous heretics we search for scientific paradigms and other established beliefs which may be maintained only by the power and politics of the status quo, comparing them with academic research and the published experimental and investigative record.

We especially defend and support the funding of honest, accomplished, independent minded and often heroic scientists, inventors and other original thinkers and their right to free speech and publication against the censorship, mudslinging, false arguments, ad hominem propaganda, overwhelming crowd prejudice and internal science politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, health and medicine, diet and nutrition.

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Henry Bauer, Peter Breggin , Harvey Bialy, Giordano Bruno, Erwin Chargaff, Nicolaus Copernicus, Francis Crick, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw, Freeman Dyson, Peter Duesberg, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman, John Fewster, Galileo Galilei, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Edward Jenner, Benjamin Jesty, Michio Kaku, Adrian Kent, Ernst Krebs, Thomas Kuhn, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling, Eric Penrose, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick, Sherwood Rowland, Carl Sagan, Otto Rossler, Fred Singer, Thomas Szasz, Alfred Wegener, Edward O. Wilson, James Watson.
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Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

Skepticism is dangerous. That’s exactly its function, in my view. It is the business of skepticism to be dangerous. And that’s why there is a great reluctance to teach it in schools. That’s why you don’t find a general fluency in skepticism in the media. On the other hand, how will we negotiate a very perilous future if we don’t have the elementary intellectual tools to ask searching questions of those nominally in charge, especially in a democracy? – Carl Sagan (The Burden of Skepticism, keynote address to CSICOP Annual Conference, Pasadena, April 3/4, 1982).

It is really important to underscore that everything we’re talking about tonight could be utter nonsense. – Brian Greene (NYU panel on Hidden Dimensions June 5 2010, World Science Festival)

I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing ever interfered with my learning was my education. My name as you already perceive without a doubt is George Bernard Shaw, and I certainly approve of this blog, in that its guiding spirit appears to be blasphemous in regard to the High Church doctrines of science, and it flouts the censorship of the powers that be, and as I have famously remarked, all great truths begin as blasphemy, and the first duty of the truthteller is to fight censorship, and while I notice that its seriousness of purpose is often alleviated by a satirical irony which sometimes borders on the facetious, this is all to the good, for as I have also famously remarked, if you wish to be a dissenter, make certain that you frame your ideas in jest, otherwise they will seek to kill you.  My own method was always to take the utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and then to say it with the utmost levity. (Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt for Life magazine) One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison, but anything that goes beyond this is voluntary submission to an unnecessary tyranny, and is likely to interfere with happiness in all kinds of ways. – Bertrand Russell, Conquest of Happiness (1930) ch. 9

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Belief)

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Obama Walks on Water

If King was Moses, is Obama the new Jesus?

Faces of fans show they were spiritually transported

Times photo captured Obama elevating on airport tarmac

Will President elect pull in rivals, establish heaven on earth? Or is he all too human, and naive?

apb075865-copy.JPGCan we trust this man? Despite Obama’s 60 Minutes interview, 15 minute press conference and impressive (if somewhat too Clintonesque) selection of Cabinet officers this week, it appears that fearful skeptics are still concerned that President elect Barack may not be the finest thing to happen to American politics since Lincoln and Roosevelt combined (click the superb photo left by Times campaign photographer Damon Winter twice for evidence in Obama’s favor writ large – Rushmore here we come!).

This myopia seems extraordinary. Perhaps these cynics missed seeing for themselves the interview of the future First Couple on CBS last Sunday (Nov 16), when Michelle and Barack Obama wowed 24 million Americans.

pb175957.JPGThe new White House duo gave such an excellent impression to all and sundry that we ended up confident that, ably supported by his wife, this lanky, large eared, ember eyed, mulatto Lincolnesque lawyer is not only a graceful orator, literate author, devoted husband and loving father, but is also, with his intellect, good humor, ever widening natural grasp of politics and government, financial imperviousness and inborn sense of public service and responsibility, a more convincing prophet than ever of progressive peace and prosperity and, once in power, is bound to be what his devoted fans envision him to be, a great, compassionate and determinedly constructive national and international leader who will advance the world toward the universal happiness it deserves.

In fact we hereby dare to predict that the man standing on top of the smoking political and economic wreckage of George W’s eight years will rebuild America at home and abroad so sanely, sensibly and successfully that the election in 2012 will return him to the White House with a record landslide of around 78-22%.

If such enthusiasm seems over the top to you, dear reader, it may be because you have yet to see the interview, now at CBS (link above) and on YouTube. What a novelty to hear and see a President-to-be speak with a lake-deep analytical intelligence behind his deeply thoughtful eyes! (Tone this down, please. – Ed.)

pb175956.JPG Those dark brown depths (click to enlarge twice) seemed to us, as we TiVo’d him repeatedly, to be windows into a soul uniquely capable of rising above the emotional confusion and tribal ideologies of messy democratic politics to see with crystal clarity what is needed for the national and global good.

A man both calm and passionate

If ever there was a man who will keep a cool head as all around are losing theirs, it is this well grounded visionary, Barack Hussein Obama, brought up on food stamps and now progressive Western democracy’s leader.

Obama via Kroft combines warm love for those close to him with an activist passion for the betterment of mankind as a whole. Yet what is unique is that he is also so cool – all this red blooded attention to others is allied with a unusually even intelligence and lawyerly analytical grasp. Obama’s ordered mind is clearly on a higher intellectual plane than George W’s linguistic and moral fumbling, but it is also a cut above the erstwhile keen pragmatic intuitiveness of one time Rhodes scholar Bill Clinton, we have to say (just compare their books). Surely this fluent ability to think straight and true must have been a positive factor in the election. If so, it speaks well for an electorate that ever since Adlai Stevenson has seemed suspicious of intellectual skills. (Please. – Ed.)

pb175959.JPGAs we labored to state earlier, it is one of Obama’s triumphs is that he has rehabilitated informed intelligence as a political asset. That’s why the moment we savored most in the hour long 60 Minutes appearance was when the next President vouched for it himself, as in “I am not stupid!”:

Kroft: There’s been a lot of talk about [that] you talked about your mother-in-law. Is she moving in with you?

Mr. Obama: Well, I don’t tell my mother-in-law what to do. But I’m not stupid. That’s why I got elected president, man.

Why Obama will prove masterly as captain of the world

In general it seems obvious from his surefooted treatment of policy questions in the campaign and his confident selection of a team of rivals for his experienced and centrist cabinet that Obama is not only distinguished by a lawyerly desire to dig into a topic and master it himself by drawing upon all aspects before making policy, but his independent mind is harnessed to a community leader approach which takes in all viewpoints before proceeding to judgment. (Isn’t that the same thing? – Ed.)

Since we try for a similar evenhanded thoroughness of research and understanding before committing to a position, including drawing on all our rivals and crritics whom we so respect and admire, we applaud Obama’s highly developed tendency to think for himself after drawing on all sources, even to the extent of following Lincoln in including opponents in his Cabinet.

Some might think he has gone too far in accommodating the Clintons now that he has picked Hillary for State but he has surely brought into the fold someone who might otherwise be a J. Edgar Hoover to his LBJ (“Better to have him inside pissing out than outside pissing in”, as that President put it). Once again this is a President who will hear and grasp all sides of a case before judging it, even if part of his inclination is a canny policy of drawing possible opponents close, in the Chinese manner (“Keep your friends close, and your enemies even closer. – Art of War, by general & military strategist Sun-tzu ~400 BC)

As a British expatriate we heartily applaud what has long been a successful policy of the English upper classes, which is to open the front door to revolutionaries and other hotheads who might disturb our peace of mind and property and marry them to our daughters as fast as possible.

Supreme poise allows far sighted clarity

pb185964.JPGClearly Obama has unmatchable confidence, which allows two things: listening to others, and independence of mind. His ego is strong enough for him to feel that it is his destiny is to be President without it being too narrowly focused or self indulgent.

There is not a whiff of egomania in the whole Kroft interview, which suggests in so many ways that psychologically Obama has all the time in the world to pay attention to others. This is not someone who will dip into the affections of interns or pander to the roar of the crowd to gain self esteem, but someone who has and will have no trouble devoting himself entirely to his family and to his job now, which is to save us all.

Thus when asked by a clearly taken (some said fawning, but there were tough policy questions too) Steve Kroft whether he was having difficulty in believing his victory was finally won and realizing the full extent of his new position, Obama had to confess that he really just felt he was now in the role that he was born for.

Kroft: Have there been moments when you’ve said, ‘What did I get myself into?’

Mr. Obama: Surprisingly enough, I feel right now that I’m doing what I should be doing. That gives me a certain sense of calm. I will say that the challenges that we’re confronting are enormous. And they’re multiple. And so there are times during the course of a given a day where you think, ‘Where do I start?’

Destiny had spoken. Once again we encounter the strange and scientifically inexplicable principle that great men and women frequently say they know what they were destined for from childhood. We were not surprised to read in a recent and sadly slender issue of irreplaceable Time magazine that Obama had written in his Jakarta prep school days that he was going to be president. (Update: Obama himself denied this in talking to Barbara Walters Dec 4 Thu on her ABC special, where he was featured as the Most Interesting Person of the Year. “The one thing I didn’t think I was going to be was President of the United States” he told her.)

The easy approachability of Obama’s style when he is talking to the public is allied to his desire to engage and co-opt everybody in the cause of improving the lot of all, seems to us. Steve Kroft interviewed the couple side by side on what appeared to be cushioned dining chairs, and Obama spent the entire interview sitting on the edge of his seat toward Kroft with his legs wide apart. Experts in body language will probably agree that this stance is a symbolic gesture of receptivity, as disarming as a handshake combined with an elbow grip and a huge smile and kind words. We imagine it is probably a first for a President-elect to project such welcoming acceptance to an audience of millions.

Is there evidence of Obama’s divinity?

If you will allow us to say so here, the work of Science Guardian, as readers know, consists of comparing the otherwise unread literature of any scientific field with the claims of the scientists and officials who lead its politics.

gallo-and-montagnier.jpgThis serious endeavor has resulted in some remarkable findings, for example, that the claims of the leading scientists (such as recent Nobel winner Luc “I found it first!” Montagnier and Robert “They found me not guilty of nothing! (sic)” Gallo, both pictured left) and officials in HIV/AIDS that there is a global pandemic caused by an infectious virus tendentiously labeled Human Immunodeficiency Virus or HIV are entirely hollow and without scientific foundation.

Not only is this belief completely unproven after twenty four years but in fact the claim was thoroughly debunked in 1986 in top journals with arguments that have never been refuted, while an annual harvest of research results have accumulated a pyramid of contradictions.

peter_duesberg.jpg Unfortunately, politics have protected and fueled the false belief and it has grown like a huge tumor on the body of good science ever since, immune to the efforts all those who know better such as Peter Duesberg of Berkeley (pic) to enlighten the masses as to how they are being misled by the authorities they trust.

A similar result has been obtained in cancer where the profitable paradigm that has ruled for three decades without medical advantage. The oncogene theory that cancer arises from mutations in certain predictable genes is shown in the elite literature by the same Duesberg to be without viable logic or evidence, contrary to the public claims of its proponents who have nonetheless wrung several Nobel prizes from their work.

Naturally it has occurred to us to apply the same methodology in other arenas to see if we can come up with new findings overlooked by the overworked and uninformed non specialists who largely report and present the official news.

As a result in the Obama case the staff of Science Guardian, using the most up to date technology available in the office to review all our files of the events of the recent Presidential Election of 2008 recorded in text, still and video, has undertaken a mammoth research project which is not yet complete, but already piled high enough to yield a remarkable preliminary conclusion revealed here for the first time: Barack Obama may be the new Messiah.

galloinaustralia.jpgOne of our tools is simply to examine photos and video for an impression of the internal makeup of the man or woman featured. For example, Peter Duesberg of Berkeley is a consistent truth teller in public and private, in our experience, whereas Robert Gallo has been recognized in reviews of his work by government officials as being severely challenged in this regard. We believe that the difference is readily signaled by comparing the faces of the two celebrated scientists. Another Gallo photo is added here for your use in this regard. Perhaps you can see what we mean.

Is Barack the Second Coming? First hard evidence emerges

The visuals we have in hand of Obama are also telling, we find, and indicate that this man has at the minimum a list of divine attributes which have excited many of his followers to swooning recognition of his possibly suprahuman status.

We first realized this momentous truth when reviewing the TV tapes and saw signs of uninhibited ecstasy in the crowds that gathered on 125th St in Harlem, when the results came through signaling Obama’s victory at just past nine o’clock on Nov 4 (Tues). But what really brought home the point that transcendent religious joy was involved came later when we watched the faces in the crowd in Chicago’s Grant Park later as our newly minted Great Guru made his acceptance speech.

pb095901.JPGMainly on the more openly expressive faces of women, but also visible on the features of men, we saw a truly astounding level of worshipful adoration and openhearted acceptance that exceeded the highest level of secular enthusiasm we have ever seen evoked by rock stars or other popular celebrities, even Oprah Winfrey, whose audiences often seem on the verge of kneeling before her as a goddess.

What we see incarnated in these expressions is nothing less than Transcendent Love, in fact, which of course is another name for God, as in “God is Love”. But judge for yourself. We present alongside these paragraphs some of the faces we captured from the tape.

Glory Glory Allelulia

pb105916.JPGSince everyone from Brad Pitt and Oprah Winfrey to Bill Maher and David Brooks, not to mention John McCain, seem to have caught Obamania since the election, we suspect that there is more to this visible surrender than the simple tendency of lively women to have a certain frisson of inner reaction to heroic figures that appear in public.

An office colleague has remarked that “He’s a handsome guy with power, so of course they all want him!” but this seems unduly worldly and simplistic. The crowd reaction to Obama obviously involved more than sexual hysterics of the kind evoked by Brad Pitt.

pb055774.JPGObama without doubt has an added dimension on top of the normal stature of a famous politician, especially one so newly minted. The faces of the women in the pictures are all upturned, you will notice, as if in supplication. All are transported by an inner light, as if they perceived Obama as transcendent to earthly concerns.

What it all seems to add up to essentially is a matter of faith on the spiritual plane. Unlike the cynics, Obama’s fans readily place their trust in him as in a father, whether family or Heavenly.

Thus a good hearted Italian woman of bountiful assets we met recently writes to us from Rome:

I’m so happy about Obama! I organized an “American dinner” – hamburger and chips – with my friends in my new home for the election night/day for an energetic support to Obama. I have followed the news on the TV until 3 o’clock in the morning (Italian time), and then I was tired and I went to sleep, but I was sure about the victory of Obama. The entire world has a new chance. I like Obama, his intelligence, his culture, his firmness with him asking to Obama why he didn’t answer to the bad words of his adversaries in the same way, at the same bad level; he answered: these people could be the same people that I will govern, how can I do it if now I offend them? He is really wise, I can trust in him, in this kind of human being.

Our correspondent is used to gurus in her profession, we happen to know, so her testimony can be taken at face value.

So is Obama divine or not?

So is this level of esteem justified? Obama has great intelligence, calm, and a capacity for communal leadership which transcends his peers, it seems clear. But is he the new Christ – can he work miracles? Are these women right in their vibrant intuitions?

apb075864-copy.JPGWe would normally reserve judgment, as befits a professionally skeptical though not yet jaded reporter, but today we came upon scientific proof of Obama’s supernatural powers – an image by a reliable, non Photoshopping New York Times photographer that records Obama walking on air. The shot was taken on a drizzly evening at an airport on the tarmac as Obama embarked surrounded by his campaign disciples. As you can see, he is elevated above them by three or four feet.

Since careful study of this image allows no other interpretation we offer it for your inspection and conclude that Obama is indeed the Second Coming of Christ, or the equivalent.

We reproduce a copy here for your inspection (click the image twice to enlarge it mightily) but for the best quality please visit the New York Times page where their campaign photographers work is laid out in a gallery. Choose the one third from the left on the bottom row with the bold portrait of Obama. This is the slide show of Damon Winter, and the photo in question is second in his fine selection.

The caption reads: Sen. Obama prepares to board his campaign plane in Manchester after a rally in Londonderry, N.H. on October 16th.

As you can see, our new 21st Century prophet is elevated several feet above the wet tarmac. We can find no other way of interpreting this image! We therefore conclude that Senator and President-elect Barack Hussein Obama is the new Messiah, as so many of the men and women’s faces at his Grant Park sermon testify.

pb115927.JPGIn the light of this conclusion, we now have an explanation for Obama’s sudden and otherwise hard to explain lightning fast ascendance from obscurity to the helm of the world in two years. We believe that this is twice as fast as Christ’s emergence as Savior of the World, which took four years, if we are not mistaken.

Of course, there is still a puzzle in that over 48% of the voters supported a personally charming, maverick, all too humanly erratic war hero, but reference to the Bible will indicate that rich men find it easier to pass through the eye of a needle that to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, and it is clear that McCain is like almost all modern Republican leaders in that regard, ie either rich or determined to be rich as the chief priority in their lives, often regardless of the cost of exploiting the gullible or other underprivileged groups.

Aided by divinity, will Obama triumph?

pb105917.JPGBut back to the point, can Obama handle the challenges to come? Armed with divine power, we don’t doubt it. That is why we advise readers not to worry even though we all face economic ruin and political destruction if he does not succeed in saving the US auto industry, and the rest of us, from the world economic nose dive, not to mention fencing off Al Quaeda and the Taliban from Pakistan’s nuclear stockpile, and somehow stopping Iran’s nuclear advance.

More reasons to think that Obama is divine?

But surely, some may complain, there should by now be other indications of his Christ-like status, if it is genuine, than the joyful ecstasy of young women, or the elevation of the candidate several feet above wet airport tarmac, even if taken by a New York Times photographer? (Some may also object that the elevatee does not look like a tall Obama, but given the caption, we conclude it must be, since no other silhouetted figure looks much like Obama either. )

pb075878.JPGWe find there are many. In his 15 minute press conference a week ago, for example, there were at least two others. The first was Obama pausing to inquire kindly after a reporter’s health when he spotted her wearing a sling – “What happened to your arm Lynn?”.

This was a highly significant (to us) indication of Obama’s role on earth of providing emotional and spiritual succor to all members of the human race, even journalists, in their sufferings. What other President-elect embroiled in the tensions and turmoil of waiting for the previous occupant to leave office and in choosing his Cabinet from what seem to be tens if not hundreds of supplicants would spare time in a press conference squeezed into barely 15 minutes to ask after a young lady’s welfare? This is the kind of high order of compassion which can be expected only from That Ones with a streak of Divinity showing through.

The second was a memorable moment, which was in itself enough to win over several million undecided voters. We refer to the charming phrase with which Obama, discussing the choice of a dog that he has promised his children once they settle in the White House, referred to himself as a “mutt” as in “a mutt like me”.

pb075879.JPGWe suspect that Obama himself must have realized that he may have given the game away with this disarmingly self-deprecating phrase, for it was very soon after that he abruptly ended the conference and swept out. Nothing of course could be more indicative of Christ-like stature than such extreme humility combined with guru-level leadership staus, which Obama, though still President-elect, has already achieved, with the press and the public breathlessly hanging on and deconstructing every word he speaks as the scripture of the New Nation.

pb095902.JPGThis is the man that his rivals, even before he won the nomination and the election, were moved to acknowledge was superior. Hillary Clinton could not help herself from exclaiming that it was a privilege to be on the same debating platform, and John McCain told a crowd, “Don’t tell him I said this but he’s an impressive fellow in many ways”.

Our final piece of evidence that this is all a heavenly conspiracy comes on YouTube, where a fan posted a video on SuperBarack, clearly influenced by a feeling or intuition that we are now all in the presence of a visitation from somewhere above, even though it more cautiously ascribes to Obama only the powers of a Superman.

Here is the full text of the CBS interview (click the Tab after the excerpt):

Kroft: People are comparing this to 1932.

Mr. Obama: Right.

Kroft:Is that a valid comparison, do you think?

Mr. Obama: Well, keep in mind that 1932, 1933 the unemployment rate was 25 percent, inching up to 30 percent. You had a third of the country that was ill housed, ill clothed, unemployed. We’re not going through something comparable to that. But I would say that this is as bad as we’ve seen since then. And if we don’t take some significant steps then it could get worse.

Kroft: You have a situation right now where you have General Motors, which is in dire straits.

Mr. Obama: Yeah.

Kroft: May run out of cash by the end of the year, maybe by the end of certainly, if we believe what we read in the papers, by the time you take office.

Mr. Obama: Yeah. Well, let’s see how this thing plays itself out. For the auto industry to completely collapse would be a disaster in this kind of environment, not just for individual families but the repercussions across the economy would be dire. So it’s my belief that we need to provide assistance to the auto industry. But I think that it can’t be a blank check.

So my hope is that over the course of the next week, between the White House and Congress, the discussions are shaped around providing assistance but making sure that that assistance is conditioned on labor, management, suppliers, lenders, all the stakeholders coming together with a plan what does a sustainable U.S. auto industry look like? So that we are creating a bridge loan to somewhere as opposed to a bridge loan to nowhere. And that’s, I think, what you haven’t yet seen. That’s something that I think we’re gonna have to come up with.


(CBS) Since Barack Obama was elected the 44th president of the United States 12 days ago, he has largely remained out of sight, getting high-level government briefings and conferring with his transition team. But he surfaced on Friday afternoon in Chicago, alongside his wife Michelle to give 60 Minutes his first post-election interview.

It covers a wide range of subjects including the economy, the ailing automobile industry, the government’s $700 billion bailout program, their visit to the White House, the emotions of election night and the quest for a family dog. You’ll hear all of it. But we begin with the president-elect and his thoughts about the new job.

Steve Kroft: So here we are.

President-elect Barack Obama: Here we are.

Kroft: How’s your life changed in the last ten days?

Mr. Obama: Well, I tell you what, there seem to be more people hovering around me. That’s for sure. And, on the other hand, I’m sleeping in my own bed over the last ten days, which is quite a treat. Michelle always wakes up earlier than I do. So listen to her roaming around and having the girls come in and, you know, jump in your bed. It’s a great feeling. Yeah.

Kroft: Has this been easier than the campaign trail?

Mr. Obama: Well, it’s different. I think that during the campaign it is just a constant frenetic, forward momentum. Here, I’m stationary. But the issues come to you. And we’ve got a lot of work to do. We’ve got a lot of problems, a lot of big challenges.

Kroft: Have there been moments when you’ve said, ‘What did I get myself into?’

Mr. Obama: Surprisingly enough, I feel right now that I’m doing what I should be doing. That gives me a certain sense of calm. I will say that the challenges that we’re confronting are enormous. And they’re multiple. And so there are times during the course of a given a day where you think, ‘Where do I start?’

Kroft: What have you been concentrating on this week?

Mr. Obama: Couple of things. Number one, I think it’s important to get a national security team in place because transition periods are potentially times of vulnerability to a terrorist attack. We wanna make sure that there is as seamless a transition on national security as possible. Obviously the economy. Talking to top economic advisors about how we’re gonna create jobs, how we get the economy back on track and what do we do in terms of some long-term issues like energy and healthcare. And how do we sequence those things in a way that we can actually get things through Congress?

Kroft: Are you in sync with Secretary Paulson in terms of how the $700 billion is being used?

Mr. Obama: Well, look, Hank Paulson has worked tirelessly under some very difficult circumstances. We’ve got an unprecedented crisis, or at least something that we have not seen since the Great Depression. And I think Hank would be the first one to acknowledge that probably not everything that’s been done has worked the way he had hoped it would work. But I’m less interested in looking backwards than I am in looking forwards.

Kroft: The government has spent almost $300 billion out of the TARP program.

Mr. Obama: Right.

Kroft: Money that was set aside to help the financial industry. And nothing much has changed if you look at it. Nothing much has changed. It’s $300 billion. Why is that?

Mr. Obama: I think the part of the way to think about it is things could be worse. I mean, we could have seen a lot more bank failures over the last several months. We could have seen an even more rapid deterioration of the economy, even a bigger drop in the stock market. So part of what we have to measure against is what didn’t happen and not just what has happened.

Having said that, there’s no doubt that we have not been able yet to reset the confidence in the financial markets and in the consumer markets and among businesses that allow the economy to move forward in a strong way. And my job as president is gonna be to make sure that we restore that confidence.

2 (CBS) Kroft: Once you become president, are there things that you’ll change?

Mr. Obama: Well, you know I think we still have to see how this thing unfolds over the next couple of months. One area that I’m concerned about, and I’ve said this publicly, is we have not focused on foreclosures and what’s happening to homeowners as much as I would like. We have the tools to do it. We’ve gotta set up a negotiation between banks and borrowers so that people can stay in their homes. That is gonna have an impact on the economy as a whole. And, you know, one thing I’m determined is that if we don’t have a clear focused program for homeowners by the time I take office, we will after I take office.

Kroft: Are you being consulted by Secretary Paulson? Is he telling you what’s going on?

Mr. Obama: You know what we’ve done is we’ve assigned somebody on my transition team who interacts with him on a daily basis. And, you know, we are getting the information that’s required to and we’re making suggestions in some circumstances about how we think they might approach some of these problems.

Kroft: Are they listening?

Mr. Obama: Well, you know, that we’ll find out.

Kroft: People are comparing this to 1932.

Mr. Obama: Right.

Kroft:Is that a valid comparison, do you think?

Mr. Obama: Well, keep in mind that 1932, 1933 the unemployment rate was 25 percent, inching up to 30 percent. You had a third of the country that was ill housed, ill clothed, unemployed. We’re not going through something comparable to that. But I would say that this is as bad as we’ve seen since then. And if we don’t take some significant steps then it could get worse.

Kroft: You have a situation right now where you have General Motors, which is in dire straits.

Mr. Obama: Yeah.

Kroft: May run out of cash by the end of the year, maybe by the end of certainly, if we believe what we read in the papers, by the time you take office.

Mr. Obama: Yeah. Well, let’s see how this thing plays itself out. For the auto industry to completely collapse would be a disaster in this kind of environment, not just for individual families but the repercussions across the economy would be dire. So it’s my belief that we need to provide assistance to the auto industry. But I think that it can’t be a blank check.

So my hope is that over the course of the next week, between the White House and Congress, the discussions are shaped around providing assistance but making sure that that assistance is conditioned on labor, management, suppliers, lenders, all the stakeholders coming together with a plan what does a sustainable U.S. auto industry look like? So that we are creating a bridge loan to somewhere as opposed to a bridge loan to nowhere. And that’s, I think, what you haven’t yet seen. That’s something that I think we’re gonna have to come up with.

Kroft: Are there a lot of people that think that the country would probably be better off and General Motors might be better off if it was allowed to go into bankruptcy?

Mr. Obama: Well, you know, under normal circumstances that might be the case in the sense that you’d go to a restructuring like the airlines had to do in some cases. And then they come out and they’re still a viable operation. And they’re operating even during the course of bankruptcy. In this situation, you could see the spigot completely shut off so that it would not potentially permit GM to get back on its feet. And I think that what we have to do is to recognize that these are extraordinary circumstances. Banks aren’t lending as it is. They’re not even lending to businesses that are doing well, much less businesses that are doing poorly. And in that circumstance, the usual options may not be available.

3 (CBS) Kroft: When the price of oil was at $147 a barrel, there were a lot of spirited and profitable discussions that were held on energy independence. Now you’ve got the price of oil under $60.

Mr. Obama: Right.

Kroft: Does doing something about energy is it less important now than…

His first legislative goal will be to get Congress to pass an economic stimulus package that he hopes will create jobs and put money in the pockets of ordinary citizens, construction programs to shore up the nation’s creaky infrastructure, a tax cut for the middle class and his first initiatives on health care. But some things he can do with the stroke of a pen.

Kroft: There are a number of different things that you could do early pertaining to executive orders. One of them is to shutdown Guantanamo Bay. Another is to change interrogation methods that are used by U.S. troops. Are those things that you plan to take early action on?

Mr. Obama: Yes. I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that. I have said repeatedly that America doesn’t torture. And I’m gonna make sure that we don’t torture. Those are part and parcel of an effort to regain America’s moral stature in the world.

4 (CBS) Kroft: Can you give us some sense of when you might start redeployments out of Iraq?

Mr. Obama: 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. Particularly in light of the problems that we’re having in Afghanistan, which has continued to worsen. We’ve got to shore up those efforts.

Kroft: Where does capturing or killing Osama bin Laden fall?

Mr. Obama: I think it is a top priority for us to stamp out al Qaeda once and for all. And I think capturing or killing bin Laden is a critical aspect of stamping out al Qaeda. He is not just a symbol, he’s also the operational leader of an organization that is planning attacks against US targets.

Kroft: How close are you to settling on a cabinet?

Mr. Obama: Well, I think that I’ve got a pretty good idea of what I’d like to see. But it takes some time to work those things through.

Kroft: When are you gonna make your first announcement?

Mr. Obama: Soon.

Kroft: Next week?

Mr. Obama: Soon.

Kroft: You met with Senator Clinton this week.

Mr. Obama: I did.

Kroft: Is she on the short list for a cabinet position?

Mr. Obama: You know, she is somebody who I needed advice and counsel from. She is one of the most thoughtful public officials that we have. Beyond that, you’re not getting anything out of me Steve.

Kroft: Will there be Republicans in the cabinet?

Mr. Obama: Yes.

Kroft: More than one?

Mr. Obama: You’re not getting more out of me.

Kroft: You’ve spoken to some former presidents.

Mr. Obama: I have.

Kroft: Any advice, any good advice they gave you?

Mr. Obama: You know, they were all incredibly gracious. But I think that all of them recognized that there’s a certain loneliness to the job. That, you know, you’ll get advice, and you’ll get counsel. Ultimately, you’re the person who’s gonna be making decisions.

And I think that even now, you know, I – you can already feel that fact.

Kroft: What are you reading right now? I mean, have…

Mr. Obama: A lot of briefing papers.

Kroft: A lot of briefing papers?

Mr. Obama: Yeah. I’ve been spending a lot of time reading Lincoln. There is a wisdom there and a humility about his approach to government, even before he was president, that I just find very helpful.

Kroft: Put a lot of his political enemies in his cabinet.

Mr. Obama: He did.

Kroft: Is that something you’re considering?

Mr. Obama: Well, I tell you what, I find him a very wise man.

5 (CBS) Kroft: Have you been reading anything about the Depression? Anything about FDR?

Mr. Obama: You know, I have actually. There’s a new book out about FDR’s first 100 days and what you see in FDR that I hope my team can– emulate, is not always getting it right, but projecting a sense of confidence, and a willingness to try things. And experiment in order to get people working again.

And I think that’s what the American people expect. You know, they’re not expecting miracles. I think if you talk to the average person right now that they would say, ‘Well, look, you know well, we’re having a tough time right now. We’ve had tough times before.’ ‘And you know, we don’t expect a new president can snap his fingers and suddenly everything is gonna be okay. But what we do expect is that the guy is gonna be straight with us. We do expect that he’s gonna be working really hard for us.’

‘We do expect that he’s gonna be thinking about ordinary Americans and not just the wealthy and the powerful. And we do expect that. if something doesn’t work that they’re gonna try something else until they find something that does.’ And, you know, that’s the kind of common sense approach that I want to take when I take office.

Kroft: There’s been talk on Capitol Hill and a number of Democratic congressmen have proposed programs that are part of sort of a new New Deal. The possibility of reviving agencies like the Home Ownership Loan Corporation.

Mr. Obama: Two points I’d make on this. Number one, although there are some parallels to the problems that we’re seeing now and what we say back in the ’30s, no period is exactly the same. For us to simply recreate what existed back in the ’30s in the 21st century, I think would be missing the boat. We’ve gotta come up with solutions that are true to our times and true to this moment. And that’s gonna be our job. I think the basic principle that government has a role to play in kick starting an economy that has ground to a halt is sound.

I think our basic principle that this is a free market system and that that has worked for us, that it creates innovation and risk taking, I think that’s a principle that we’ve gotta hold to as well. But what I don’t wanna do is get bottled up in a lot of ideology and is this conservative or liberal. My interest is finding something that works.

And whether it’s coming from FDR or it’s coming from Ronald Reagan, if the idea is right for the times then we’re gonna apply it. And things that don’t work we’re gonna get rid of.

Kroft: Are you gonna make a lot of speeches? Are you gonna talk a lot to the American people on television and radio?

Mr. Obama: You know, I’m not sure that the American people are looking for a lot of speeches. I think what they’re looking for is action. But one of the things that I do think is important is to be able to explain to the American people what you’re doing, and why you’re doing it. That is something that I think every great president has been able to do. From FDR to Lincoln to John Kennedy to Eisenhower. I mean, I think that they were people who were able to say ‘Here’s the direction we’re going. Here’s why I think it’s important. Here are the possible dangers or challenges. But ultimately, you know, this is gonna lead us to a better America.’ And I want to make sure that I can recreate a bond of trust between the presidency and the public that I think has been lost.

The President-elect and Mrs. Obama have already been on a tour of their new home. In the next portion of the interview, they talk about the challenges and the excitement of moving into the most famous address in the world.

1 (CBS) In 66 days, Barack and Michelle Obama and their daughters 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha will be the youngest first family to move into the White House since the Kennedys nearly 50 years ago.

While the Obama transition team has been working closely with the Bush administration to ensure an orderly transfer of power, the Obama family has been working hard on a transition of their own that began with an emotional election night in Chicago.

Steve Kroft: When was the first moment that it began to sink in that you were President of the United States? Do you remember?

Mr. Obama: Well, I’m not sure it’s sunk in yet.

Michelle Obama: I guess I’m sort of like him. I’m not sure if it has really sunk in. But I remember, we were watching the returns and, on one of the stations, Barack’s picture came up and it said, ‘President-Elect Barack Obama. ‘ And I looked at him and I said, ‘You are the 44th President of the United States of America. Wow. What a country we live in.’

Mr. Obama: How about that?

Michelle Obama: Yeah.

Mr. Obama: Yeah. Yeah. And then she said ‘Are you gonna take the girls to school in the morning?’

Michelle Obama: I did not. I didn’t say that.

Mr. Obama: It wasn’t at that moment.

Kroft: You made the address in Grant Park. And you brought the kids out. And, at some point you whispered something. Can you remember that?
Michelle Obama: I said, ‘Wow, Look at this.’

Mr. Obama: How ’bout that?

Michelle Obama: I told him, ‘Good job. Well done.’ To walk out there and see hundreds of thousands of hard working folks, because so many people put their energy and their hopes into this campaign. To see the outcome and the emotion, it was a very emotional evening because I think people were ready to take hold of this country and help move it in a different direction and you felt that.

Kroft: The emotion of that night was fueled, in part, by the fact that you were first African-American ever elected. Did you feel that?

Mr. Obama: There’s no doubt that there was a sense of emotion that I could see in people’s faces and in my mother-in-law’s face. You know, I mean, you think about Michelle’s mom, who grew up on the west and south sides of Chicago, who worked so hard to help Michelle get to where she is, her brother to be successful. She was sitting next to me, actually, as we were watching returns. And she’s like my grandmother was, sort of a no-fuss type of person. And suddenly she just kind of reached out and she started holding my hand, you know, kind of squeezing it. And you had this sense of, ‘Well, what’s she thinking?’ For a black woman who grew up in the 50s, you know, in a segregated Chicago, to watch her daughter become first lady of the United States. I think there was that sense across the country. And not unique to African-Americans. I think that.

Michelle Obama: That’s right.

Mr. Obama: I think people felt that it was a sign of the enormous progress that we’ve made in the core decency and generosity of the American people. Which isn’t to say that there were a number of reasons that somebody might not have voted for me. But what was absolutely clear was is that whether people voted for me or against me, that they were making the judgment based on is this guy gonna, you know, lead us well? Is this guy gonna be a good president? And that was my assumption walking in. And that’s how it turned out. And that felt good.

Kroft: What was your conversation like the next morning at the breakfast table with the kids.

Michelle Obama: Yeah, everyone was tired.

Mr. Obama: Because they had been up until midnight.

Michelle Obama: They had been up. But we got up and went to school. But we went to school late. Barack, you slept in. You know, so I think we were just back into the routine. Our hopes are to just to keep the girls moving. It’s like okay , Daddy’s president-elect, okay, we can get to school by 10. And we got to the school and the folks at the school were excited. Some people were cheering as I walked the kids to the class. And I remember Malia saying, ‘That’s embarrassing.’ But you know, it was a pretty normal day for us.

2 (CBS) And there have not been many of those. The past two years were spent on the campaign trail and before that Senator Obama split his time between their home in Chicago where Michelle and the girls lived, and a very modest apartment in Washington, which nearly burned down.

Kroft: So, you’ve given up the apartment in Washington that you stayed in?

Mr. Obama: I used to get teased, not just by Michelle, but by my own staff. They’d say, ‘You know, you’re the only senator that has a worse apartment than your 25-year-old staff people.’ Eventually, I think, Secret Service kind of looked at me like, you know, once the building caught fire, and the ceiling caved in, I said…

Michelle Obama: But he moved back in anyway.

Mr. Obama: For a while.

Michelle Obama: After the fire.

Mr. Obama: Shortly.

Kroft: Did you ever stay there?

Michelle Obama: I visited, but I didn’t sleep there.

Mr. Obama: She insisted on a hotel room.

Michelle Obama: I saw it. I saw it long enough to know that I wasn’t gonna stay there.

Mr. Obama: Yeah

Kroft: It is one bedroom? Studio?

Mr. Obama: Yeah, it was sort of a one bedroom. It had kind of the vintage, college dorm, pizza…

Kroft: Community organizer, right?, feel to it.

Michelle Obama: It reminded me of a little better version of the apartment you were in when we first started dating. That was a dump too.

Mr. Obama: Right near Harold’s Chicken Shack.

Michelle Obama:Yeah.

Mr. Obama: Yeah. That’s when I had the car with the-the hole in it.

Michelle Obama: And you could see the sidewalk, because the rust had gone through.

Mr. Obama: The air-conditioning.

Michelle Obama: So that was my side. I would look and see the ground going past. And I still married him.

Mr. Obama: That’s how I knew she loved me. It wasn’t for my money.

They got their first look at their new home last Monday, when the President and Laura Bush invited the Obamas to the White House, which has 130 more rooms than that old Washington apartment.

Kroft: What was it like going through there?

Michelle Obama: Well, first of all, Laura Bush was just so gracious. She is a really sweet person. And couldn’t have been more excited and enthusiastic about the tour. So that was wonderful. And her entire team, their team has been working closely just to make us feel welcome. But the White House is beautiful. It is awe-inspiring. It is. What I felt walking through there was that it is a great gift and an honor to be able to live here. And you know we want to make sure that we’re upholding what that house stands for. But I couldn’t help but envisioning the girls running into their rooms and, you know, running down the hall and with a dog. And, you know, you start picturing your life there. And our hope is that the White House will feel open and fun and full of life and energy.

Mr. Obama: Sleepovers.

Michelle Obama: And sleepovers.

3 (CBS) Kroft: I know that from talking to you, you’ve said that this has put a lot of, you know, your husband’s involvement in politics has put strains in your marriage from time to time. He’s about to take over the most pressure packed job in the world. But he’s also gonna be home, right?

Michelle Obama: Oh yeah. He’s got a big office at home now.

You know, this entire year and a half has brought us closer together as a family. And we managed to stay close and become even closer with Barack gone most of an entire two year period. And now we get to be together under the one roof, having dinners together. And, you know, I envision the kids coming home from school and being able to run across the way to the Oval Office and see their dad before they start their homework. And having breakfast. And he’ll be there to tuck them in at night. And, you know, again, you know, there’ll be moments of deep seriousness and times of great focus. But, you know, we’ll be together doing that. And that gives me reason to be very excited.

But that’s not the only thing that is about to change for the Obamas. When 60 Minutes first met them two years ago in Chicago, everything was much simpler.

Kroft: I can remember the first time we went to your house We were greeted at the door by the girls. They were a little smaller then. A couple years younger. But that has to have changed. I mean, you can’t get in the car and drive all over Chicago, right?

Mr. Obama: Yeah. I remember the first time we interviewed – we just drove down right near your mom’s house.

Michelle Obama: Oh, that’s right. That’s right. You did.

Mr. Obama: Got out of the car, walked–

Mr. Obama: Yeah, that’s a little harder to do now.

Kroft: You told me that when you went off to Washington and made the decision to live there and when you came back to Chicago you had certain chores that you had to perform. You had to wash the dishes and make your bed.

Mr. Obama: Yeah.

Kroft: Are you free now on that front?

Mr. Obama: Well, I…

Kroft: Certainly there’s gonna be somebody else to wash the dishes and make your bed.

Michelle Obama: Yes.

Mr. Obama: There sometimes it’s soothing to wash the dishes.

Michelle Obama: You? Since when was it ever soothing for you to wash the dishes?

Mr. Obama: You know, when I had to do it. I’d make it into a soothing thing.

Michelle Obama: The thing you have to remember, Steve, is that you, the interesting part about this year is that it is slowly transitioned us into this. So today doesn’t feel as normal as it did yesterday. If we had compared it to the January before he announced, it would seem truly odd. But we have gradually, you know, had more and more changes. And I think, for us, that’s helped us get adjusted to do it. So today isn’t a shock.

Mr. Obama: One of the great joys of this campaign is the seeing how the girls have adjusted to this thing. They have stayed their normal, cheerful, happy, courteous, curious selves. And that was one of my biggest worries. And remains one of my biggest worries. You know, when we think about, I know Michelle and I have talked about this a lot. How do we just maintain that precious normalcy in our two girls? And, you know, ’cause right now they’re not self-conscious. They’re. you know, they don’t have an attitude. And I think one of our highest priorities, over the next four years, is retaining that. If at the end of four years, just from a personal standpoint, we can say they are who they are. They remain the great joys that they are. And this hasn’t, you know, created a whole bunch of problems for them. Then I think we’re gonna feel pretty good.

Kroft: How has your life changed in the last ten days?

Michelle Obama: You know, it’s calmed down a bit. I mean, we’re– we’re back into more of a routine.

Mr. Obama: There’s still some things we’re not adjusted to.

Michelle Obama: Like what?

Mr. Obama: Like–

Michelle Obama: What do you want?

Mr. Obama: Me not being able to take a walk.

Michelle Obama: Oh, well, you know.

Mr. Obama: No, I mean, though those are things that…

Michelle Obama: I don’t walk as much as he does though. So I guess I don’t miss it.

Mr. Obama: Yeah. I mean, you know.

Michelle Obama: You want to go for a walk?

Mr. Obama: I do. I’d love to take you for a walk. Although it’s cold today. But…

Michelle Obama: Yeah, I wouldn’t go with you.

4 (CBS) Mr. Obama: I know. Well, that’s something that I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. I mean, the loss of anonymity and this is not a complaint, this is part of what you sign up for. Being able to just wander around the neighborhood. I can’t go to my old barber shop now. I’ve gotta have my barber come to some undisclosed location to cut my hair. You know, the small routines of life that keep you connected I think – some of those are being lost. One of the challenges I think that we’re going to be wrestling with is how to stay pretty normal. Because they and we said this before the campaign, and I believe this. actually think that we are as close to what normal folks go through, and what their lives are like, as just about anybody who’s been elected president recently hanging onto that is something that’s important. Michelle helps on that ’cause she’s just a sensible person.

Kroft: I know you’ve said that your first priority is to be mom in chief.

Michelle Obama: Yes.

Kroft:You’re a Harvard Law School grad yourself. And a Princeton grad. You were a high-powered executive. How long do you give her, knocking around that big house, before she starts to want to imprint on the job of being first lady?

Mr. Obama: I think Michelle is gonna design her own role. I think she’s gonna set her own path. But I here’s one thing I know about Michelle she’s serious when she talks about being a mom. That’s why our girls are so wonderful. I’d love to take credit for it. But this is the one who deserves most of the credit. And…

Michelle Obama: Well, the thing we’ve learned, you know, as we’ve watched this campaign, is that people, women, are capable of doing more than one thing well at the same time. And I’ve, you know, had to juggle being mom in chief and having a career for a long time. The primary focus for the first year will be making sure that the kids make it through the transition. But there are many issues that I care deeply about. I care about military families and the work/family balance issue. I care about education. I, both Barack and I, believe that we can have an impact in the D.C. area. You know, in terms of making sure we’re contributing to the community that we immediately live in. That’s always been something that we try to do. Whether it’s in our own neighborhoods or in the schools that we’ve attended. So there’s plenty to do.

Kroft: Did you seriously consider sending the girls to public school?

Michelle Obama: You know, we’re still in the process of figuring out that transition. And what we have asked people to understand is that the decision that we make will be based on the best interest of the girls. We haven’t made that decision yet. And you know, we want that to be a persona; process. And people have been really good about respecting that.

Who else will be moving into the White House with them? Find out in the next part of our interview.

(CBS) The president-elect has a lot of decisions to make in the weeks and months ahead, and some promises to keep. One of them is to his daughters. When they began lobbying him two years ago to get a dog, he put them off by saying we’ll get one when we move into the White House. And the girls haven’t forgotten.

Steve Kroft: How are things coming on the dog front?

Michelle Obama: The dog, the dog front? We’re on-call mode on the dog front. Because the deal with the dog was that we would get the dog after we got settled. Because as responsible owners, I don’t think it would be good to get a dog in the midst of transition. So when we settle, get in a routine, we think about late winter, early spring, we’re gonna get the dog. Now, we cut that deal with the kids before America knew about it. So they’re good with it.

Mr. Obama: Although, Americans…

Michelle Obama: They’re ready for us to get the dog now.

Mr. Obama: They are ready.

Kroft: We put the paper down here just in case.

Michelle Obama: Is that…

Mr. Obama: I was wondering what that was for.

Kroft: You brought it today.

Mr. Obama: I thought it was some trick for the lighting or something.

Michelle Obama: It’s about dogs. That’s good.

Kroft: Do you have a special transition team for the dog? Or are you just doing that?

Michelle Obama: We don’t…. This is a family event. We’re getting a lot of suggestions though. Boy, I mean the people are sending suggestions. And we’re taking it all under advisement.

Kroft: There’s been a lot of talk about [that] you talked about your mother-in-law. Is she moving in with you?

Mr. Obama: Well, I don’t tell my mother-in-law what to do. But I’m not stupid. That’s why I got elected president, man.

Kroft:She can if she wants to.

Mr. Obama: But, she sure can if she wants. I think it’s fair to say that Marian Robinson is one of the unsung heroes of this campaign. We couldn’t have done it without her. ‘Cause she retired, looked after the girls, gave Michelle confidence that somebody was gonna be there when Michelle was on the road.

She’s just been an unbelievable support for all of us during this process. And you know, she likes her own space, you know. She doesn’t like a lot of fuss around her. And, like it or not, there’s some fuss in the White House. But we hope that she comes.

Kroft: So you have a new dog and your mother-in-law moving in.

Mr. Obama: Steve, I’m not gonna compare my mother-in-law to a new dog.

Kroft: You’re much more excited about your mother-in-law

Mr. Obama: How do you get in long with your mother-in-law man? You know, the way these questions are going I think I need to give you some tips.

Kroft: We get along fine. I have one last question. As president of the United States, what can you do, or what do you plan to do, about getting a college football playoff for the national championship?

Mr. Obama: This is important. Look, excuse me for a second.

Michelle Obama: Please. Don’t mind me.

Mr. Obama: I think any sensible person would say that if you’ve got a bunch of teams who play throughout the season, and many of them have one loss or two losses, there’s no clear decisive winner that we should be creating a playoff system.

Eight teams. That would be three rounds, to determine a national champion. It would it would add three extra weeks to the season. You could trim back on the regular season. I don’t know any serious fan of college football who has disagreed with me on this. So, I’m gonna throw my weight around a little bit. I think it’s the right thing to do.Final conclusion: the women are right

Any careful reader not just of the excerpt above but of the whole of this wonderful text – revealing Obama as firmly grounded and realistically humorous, but also, all knowing, all understanding, all loving and all giving – will recognize at once that Steve Kroft was in the Presence of a preternaturally talented Being from another World.

After all, there it is, a blatant reference to “miracles”, and to the “new president snapping his fingers and making it happen”:

Obama: And I think that’s what the American people expect. You know, they’re not expecting miracles. I think if you talk to the average person right now that they would say, ‘Well, look, you know well, we’re having a tough time right now. We’ve had tough times before.’ ‘And you know, we don’t expect a new president can snap his fingers and suddenly everything is gonna be okay. But what we do expect is that the guy is gonna be straight with us. We do expect that he’s gonna be working really hard for us.

If this is not paving the way for a miracle or two by mentioning it, even in a back handed way, what is?

pb105922.JPGSo we conclude we are in safe hands, and that the women are right. A Man of Destiny, possibly a Being from another, better political Universe, has arrived in the nick of time to rescue us from a complete meltdown of finance and output worldwide.

At a point when the world is spinning into economic hell in a handbasket and confidence knows no bottom, a leader with the otherwise impossibly coincidental name of Barack Hussein Obama, a name that contains Iraq, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden rolled into one, has arrived from another plane or planet to bring us all together and lead us out of economic and political purgatory and back to the Promised Land.

All we need do is pray to him – as indeed, most of us already are. Father Obama, give us this day our daily bread. Also, give it to us tomorrow too.

Ed. note: For another view altogether, by non-Obamaniac Ralph Nader, click on this link to In the Public Interest: The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same.
Or click this tab for text (but with none of the useful live links of the original) after this excerpt:

The signs are amassing that Barack Obama put a political con job over on the American people. He is now daily buying into the entrenched military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned Americans about in his farewell address.

With Robert Rubin on his side during his first photo opportunity after the election, he signaled to Wall Street that his vote for the $750 billion bailout of those speculators and crooks was no fluke (Rubin was Clinton’s financial deregulation architect in 1999 as Secretary of the Treasury before he became one of the hugely paid co-directors tanking Citigroup.)

Obama’s apologists say that his picks show he wants to get things done, so he wants people who know their way around Washington. Moreover, they say, the change comes only from the president who sets the priorities and the courses of action, not from his subordinates. This explanation assumes that a president’s appointments are not mirror images of the boss’s expected directions but only functionaries to carry out the Obama changes.

While the liberal intelligentsia was swooning over Barack Obama during his presidential campaign, I counseled “prepare to be disappointed.” His record as an Illinois state and U.S. Senator, together with the many progressive and long overdue courses of action he opposed during his campaign, rendered such a prediction unfortunate but obvious.

Now this same intelligentsia is beginning to howl over Obama’s transition team and early choices to run his Administration. Having defeated Senator Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primaries, he now is busily installing Bill Clinton’s old guard. Thirty one out of forty seven people that he has named so far for transition or appointments have ties to the Clinton Administration, according to Politico. One Clintonite is quoted in the Washington Post as saying: “This isn’t lightly flavored with Clintons. This is all Clintons, all the time.”

Obama’s “foreign policy team is now dominated by the Hawkish, old-guard Democrats of the 1990’s,” writes Jeremy Scahill. Obama’s transition team reviewing intelligence agencies and recommending appointments is headed by John Brennan and Jami Miscik, who worked under George Tenet when the CIA was involved in politicizing intelligence for, among other officials, Secretary of State Colin Powell’s erroneous address before the United Nations calling for war against Iraq.

Mr. Brennan, as a government official, supported warrantless wiretapping and extraordinary rendition to torturing countries. National Public Radio reported that Obama’s reversal when he voted for the revised FISA this year relied on John Brennan’s advice.

For more detail on these two advisers and others recruited by Obama from the dark old days, see Democracy Now, November 17, 2008 and Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet, Nov. 20, 2008 “This is Change? 20 Hawks, Clintonites and Neocons to Watch for in Obama’s White House.”

The top choice as White House chief of staff is Rahm Emanuel — the ultimate hard-nosed corporate Democrat, military-foreign policy hawk and Clinton White House promoter of corporate globalization, as in NAFTA and the World Trade Organization.

Now, recall Obama’s words during the bucolic “hope and change” campaign months: “The American people understand the real gamble is having the same old folks doing things over and over and over again and somehow expecting a different result.” Thunderous applause followed these remarks.

“This is more ‘Groundhog Day’ then a fresh start,” asserted Peter Wehner, a former Bush adviser who is now at the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The signs are amassing that Barack Obama put a political con job over on the American people. He is now daily buying into the entrenched military-industrial complex that President Eisenhower warned Americans about in his farewell address.

With Robert Rubin on his side during his first photo opportunity after the election, he signaled to Wall Street that his vote for the $750 billion bailout of those speculators and crooks was no fluke (Rubin was Clinton’s financial deregulation architect in 1999 as Secretary of the Treasury before he became one of the hugely paid co-directors tanking Citigroup.)

Obama’s apologists say that his picks show he wants to get things done, so he wants people who know their way around Washington. Moreover, they say, the change comes only from the president who sets the priorities and the courses of action, not from his subordinates. This explanation assumes that a president’s appointments are not mirror images of the boss’s expected directions but only functionaries to carry out the Obama changes.

If you are inclined to believe this improbable scenario, perhaps you may wish to review Obama’s record compiled by Matt Gonzalez at Counterpunch.

26 Responses to “Obama Walks on Water”

  1. MacDonald Says:

    We have no doubts it’s Obama levitating; that just goes to show how much out of touch he is.

    In the meantime I have been looking at some more pictures of Robert Gallo, and after close scrutiny I believe him to be both honest and kind-hearted. Please retract your unfair physiognomical comments immediately:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Palpatine_ROTJ.jpg

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    “Although, I am not Catholic. I believe this image to be both blasphemous and wrong. The fact that Wikipedia would allow an image of an evil figure to stand as the photo for the now dead Pope John Paul II is just horrible. Please have this removed asap!”

    Is the above notation in Wiki yours, MacD? The link you provided is so confusing. Personally we believe there is some mistake, Robert Gallo may be looking somewhat the worse for wear these days, with his conscience weighing on him more and more as the nonsense he floated so many years ago now is used to torture even schoolchildren, but this image is not he. Rather, it is the Hyde part of Dr Anthony Fauci, ruler of NIAID since 1984, and much more responsible for the HIV/AIDS debacle than Dr Gallo, who helpfully proved that HIV could not cause AIDS at the very beginning of events in 1984, when he showed that he could not find it in more than one third of AIDS patients. We are sorry if our post gives the impression that the renowned Dr Gallo was being anything more than polite when he claimed otherwise in the intervening 24 years. We believe that now the Nobel having gone wrongly to Montagnier for finding HIV in the first place (it should have gone to him for his initiative in San Francisco insisting that HIV could do nothing by itself, but needed a co-factor, and thus be shared with Gallo and Duesberg for letting HIV off the hook before anyone else) Gallo is on the verge of washing his hands of the whole affair, and officially renouncing HIV as the cause by taking out a large advertisement in the New York Times headed “I was right in the first place!”

    Lest our post above give anyone another wrong impression, let us say here that we firmly believe in Barack, because character is history, and though he may have put together a cabinet that seems to be mirroring Bill Clinton’s in 1992, the one that paralyzed his efforts for two years or more, this man is a man of steel, as vouched for by Steve Kroft on Charlie Rose, and will never be swayed by underlings. Once he clues in to how Washington really works, he will take the whole squirming gang of thieves and chuck them into the Potomac. Hillary Clinton’s acceptance of the job offer about to be made to her after Thanksgiving is forced by this reality, that there will be no gainsaying the determined purpose of this Great White-Black Hope over the next four years once he hits his stride in the Oval Office. Obama will rule Washington as he will rule the world, and no one will be able to stand in his way.

  3. MacDonald Says:

    I concur. What we need now is blind faith in a strong leader receiving his mandate directly from God, and with unchecked executive powers. Let us therfore think of Barack Obama as an “Eesh Elo Kim”, Man of God, Leader of Multitudes.

  4. MacDonald Says:

    Apparently there are certain views and activities the l Divinity-Elect, clearly striving for omniscience in addition to omnipotence and levitational skills, cannot tolerate, so it looks like the views of NAR will not be represented in that big Noah’s Ark where he intends to lend his big ears to all opinions.

    Otherwise how to explan this?

    Three, two, one, controversy! “Mr. Obama has elevated the vetting even beyond what might have been expected,” declared the New York Times on Nov. 13. TV commentators, giddy with White House puppy speculation only hours earlier, expressed concern. The words “intrusive” and “most extensive” were frequently used. Rachel Maddow raised her first eyebrow at the new administration. In a commentary on ABCNews.com, Sam Donaldson wondered if Obama would pass his own vetting (citing question 20, about association with controversial characters).

    But something about those Internet-usage questions caused a lingering shock. The idea of listing every blog comment you’ve ever made? Laughable. But the imperative to disclose every Internet alias you’ve ever used? Uncomfortable. Unexpected. And more than a little ironic. The grassroots campaign that was incubated — and largely won — on the Internet has now assumed the role of moral groundskeeper, parsing and judging the online behavior of the generation that launched it.

  5. Truthseeker Says:

    The questionnaire which is freely available at the NYT as a pdf (google “obama questionnaire”) is certainly impossible. All one can do is laugh. No human could answer it truly and get a job.

    Obama is choosing from the usual suspects but what choice does he have? Despite his outstanding qualities as a young outsider he needs to draw on experience ie network connections and knowledge – in others, and his selections are excellent from that point of view. He is strong enough to bring the best out of them and not be swayed by their own small time ideologies, especially since the current megacrisis has shown him how incompetent the generals of the establishment can be on every front. Inclusive, able, drawing on the wisdom of others, rejecting their self seeking and petty biases, this outsider now supreme insider has all it takes. He has lifted up the entire world with hope and expectation, all that is, except the cynics of Science Guardian.

    From the New Yorker:
    ——————————————–

    From The Transition Team

    by Bruce McCall
    December 1, 2008

    Dear Potential Obama Administration Cabinet Member:

    Please complete this form, providing full and honest answers to all questions. N.B.: Why not call or text ten friends and have them submit this form, too?

    PART I: BACKGROUND

    1. Do you worry that someone might inform on you to Lou Dobbs about how many unregistered aliens are employed in your household(s)?

    2. Circle any of the following activities that you have engaged in.

    a. Entertained a kleagle of the Ku Klux Klan in your home.

    b. Taken a sip from someone else’s Coke/Diet Coke.

    c. Been abducted by aliens and taken to Karl Rove’s office.

    d. Opened an e-mail with the subject line “Make her jaw drop.”

    3. Who would be most interested to learn that you have flown on Ron Burkle’s private jet with Bill Clinton?

    a. The R.N.C.

    b. Hustler.

    c. The U.S. Attorney General.

    d. Hillary.

    4. Have you ever socialized with:

    a. A Baldwin brother?

    b. A Serbian war criminal?

    c. A Senate page?

    d. Senator Joseph Lieberman?

    5. Please provide the proper phonetic pronunciation of “Chicago.” ________

    PART II (CHURCHGOERS ONLY)

    If your pastor has ever used such themes as “Most folks are nice,” “Thank God for little puppy dogs,” and “Strawberry socials are the glue holding American civilization together” as the topic of a sermon, please FedEx his or her name and address to the above address and charge it to the D.N.C.

    PART III: RELIABILITY

    My loyalty to President-elect Obama is so deep that I would:

    a. Fill in for him at a private White House lunch with Al Gore.

    b. Volunteer to paper-train his family’s new puppy.

    c. Break the news to Hillary if she is not named Secretary of State.

    PART IV: THE ECONOMY

    I would rather use the $700 billion in federal bailout funds to:

    a. Bail out the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

    b. Hire John McCain to try to double the money at the Vegas craps tables.

    c. Finance an accelerated scientific program to clone Warren Buffett twelve times and create a new Supercouncil of Economic Advisers.

    PART V: INITIATIVE

    1. The First Lady’s pet project during the President’s first term should be:

    a. Creating a network of Be Proud of America clubs in the public schools.

    b. Raising math scores.

    c. Outlawing Bloomin’ Onions.

    d. Leading a movement to name the first female Major League Baseball manager.

    2. To renew a sense of hope in America, I would immediately:

    a. Bleach ten thousand grizzly bears white and create the effect of a polar-bear population explosion by placing them in neighborhoods all over the Northern U.S.

    b. Stage a nationwide contest to rename the White House and eliminate the inappropriate Anglo-Saxon ethnocentrism.

    c. Rush a few thousand books to the George W. Bush Library before it opens.

    P.S. We know who you are, “Ms. Haras Nilap,” and there is no position open for you at this time. ♦
    —————————————-

    This contribution to the welfare of all who read it is excerpted complete from the New Yorker because it makes the point that the New Yorker is one of the reasons to spring out of bed in the morning even while the entire global system is cratering.

  6. MacDonald Says:

    Haha… Very good. But Mr. TS, although you might have to explain the one about Ms. Haras Nilap to Mr. Todd Dy Rum. But why do you seem to believe the only people with experience and insight are found among right-wing Clintonistas? Or rather, why does Swami Obama seem to think so? If he were to keep his “enemies” any closer it would get a bit crowded between the sheets for Ms. Obama’s taste I’d imagine. Be that as it may, Mr. Obama is basically perpetuating the political aristocracy of the last 30 years or more. And watch out, there just might be a position for Ms. Haras Nilap, or failing that Mr. Nhoj Cmniac.

  7. Truthseeker Says:

    Borrowing from a site called topix.com, we have the following:

    ——————
    Sarah Palin is the Commander and Chief of the Alaska National Guard:

    Alaska is the first line of defense in our missile interceptor defense system. Alaskan NORAD Region (ANR) and The 49th Missile Defense Battalion of the Alaska National Guard is the unit that “Protects the entire Nation” from ballistic missile attacks from China, Russia and North Korea. It is onpermanent active duty, unlike other Guard units.

    As governor of Alaska, Palin is briefed by Major General Craig E. Campbell on highly classified military issues, homeland security, and counterterrorism. Her exposure to classified material may rival even Biden’s and certainly by far exceeds Obama’s.

    Sarah is also the Commander and Chief of the Alaska State Defense Force (ASDF), a federally recognized militia incorporated into Homeland Security’s counterterrorism plans.

    Governor Palin is privy to military and intelligence secrets that are vital to the entire country’s defense. Given Alaska’s proximity to China, Russia and North Korea she may have security clearances we don’t even know about.

    According to the Washington Post, she first met with McCain in February, but nobody ever found out. This is a woman used to keeping secrets. She can be entrusted with our national security, because she already is.
    ————

    So please do not disrespect a woman who we understand is still planning to run for President in 2012.

  8. Truthseeker Says:

    MacD, more to the point, are you sure you are giving Mr Obama the respect he deserves? This man came from nowhere to Top World Dog in 24 months. He knows what he is doing, believe us, even if you don’t believe, as we do, that he has God’s ear. What he is doing is a) winning power (accomplished) and b) hiring a hit squad to do his bidding. All the cissy progressives are running about squawking but Obama is doing what Nader never managed, winning power to change – cha-cha-change – things and actually change things ie rescue the weak and restore justice to all. The Tao of Obama has as its first principle: Victory for the Weak Follows Winning Power from the Strong. Second principle is: Use the Strong to Defeat the Strong.
    .
    In Britain the mortgage banks were lending 100% and 125% no money down mortgages which drove prices up 6 times in a decade. People got mortgages of ten times their annual earnings! Less regulation than the US. Banks started lending money not from deposits alone but from cheap money from international wholesale markets. 1 in 5 jobs depended on finance compared to 1 in 16 in the US. Bottom fell out in September when Lehman went bust. Banks couldn’t get money from the wholesale markets so couldn’t lend to housing so housing prices tanked. Sales are now down 50% if not more in eg St Albans. So all their mortgages have gone bad too, now. Vicious deflation is setting in as lending has stopped and now spending is stopping. Few shopping bags on Oxford Street. Unemployment highest in 11 years. Pound down 1/4 against the dollar. The previously scorned Gordon Brown is now considered Britain’s Lord and savior for pushing a policy of direct injections into the banks which has now been adopted the world over. (Well done Gordon!) Now he has cut taxes for Christmas. (PBS)

    But cutting taxes and making loans cheap is like pushing on a string when confidence has vanished. Wouldn’t you rather have Obama, with his gigantic stimulus by spending to restore infrastructure and take energy green?

  9. MacDonald Says:

    That Obama knows all too well what he is doing is what I am now beginning to be afraid of.

    Was it really the Illuminati who paid for his education? Who can shine a Light om the Lost Years of Swami Obami.

    I saw Nader narrating a story about a conversation he had as a child with his father. The obviously very bright kid asked why capitalism always survives. The father reportedly answered because it’ll always make socialism save it. There’s a Chomsky bonus: No such thing as a functioning capitalistic system, equated here with free markets.

    Green development sounds good. It’s one of those things everybody agrees on, even Sarah Palin, whose security c;earance is so high she deals with it personally every time Putin rears his head in her personal airhead space. But is Obama’s industrial bailout really going to transform the root of the system in practice? Hardly.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mr7pLuNGLE

  10. Truthseeker Says:

    What precisely is the beef you have with the great capitalist system, MacD? It is the engine of wealth from which you progressives can siphon off subsidies for the weak and underprivileged, who will always be with us. Obviously if you offer a bag of sweets to a child and say Take one! and turn away he/she will take the whole lot, as a Brit analyst said today about the bankers there, so you need some regulation of the greed of CEOs, Wall Street thieves etc. But the basic principle of accumulating financial capital through savings and taxes and devoting it to investment in equipment which doubles the productivity of workers and the efforts of business owners is a fine one, and a lot better at getting people to work than Communism with its tendency to be hijacked by the biggest thieves and ideological criminals and clog up with laziness and lack of responsibility.

    Obviously well managed capitalist engined socialism (free education, free health care, unemployment for as long as needed, basic income floor for all of $20,000) is the best path since it uses the engine of free capitalism to improve the lot of all. We hope you agree. Aristotle who preached the Golden Mean and he was a very wise man. Let every man be born free to make a buck through toil and ownership, but render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, so that the road get paved and the bridges stay up, and the lame and ill get looked after.

  11. Baby Pong Says:

    The Great One’s ascent from unknown to King of the World in 2 years was probably engineered by the CIA.
    The election of someone with a name that resembles two of America’s most recently detested bogeymen, and his vice president’s name completing the phrase “Obama Bi(nla)den”, is the equivalent of Americans electing someone named Benitto Axis Hittle as president in 1948 and as his veep, Everett Braun.

    The only plausible explanation for this is that the Illuminati puppetmasters are giving a demonstration of their supreme mastery at manipulating the masses’ psychology by first creating two false demon memes for them to hate and then, within a shockingly short time period, making the masses do a 180 and love those same memes.

    They are telling us, in their inimitable way, that they now can control our perceptions totally and can get us to do whatever they want.

    I guess that this message is aimed at the more analytic amongst us, to create the sense that opposition is futile.

  12. MacDonald Says:

    But Sir?! Did Nader and Chomsky, two great orators, not articulate my beef well enough? It seems that socilalism is the engine that runs what we call euphemistically capitalism, not the other way round. And the capitalistic system is no less prone to hijackings by thieves and crooks than the communist system, as you illustrate with your child-in-candy-store analogy.

    “The basic principle of accumulating financial capital through savings and taxes and devoting it to investment in equipment which doubles the productivity of workers and the efforts of business owners” is not found in the real world, as Nader and Chomsky just explained to you.

    But even if it were so well that’s a pauper’s description of the inner workings of capitalism. Production of surplus capital (which is what our apologistic host is describing in those glowing terms) is not an end in itself in human affairs. There’s the rub. The relationship between capital accumulation and technology is wholly incestuous, a perfect tautology. Biotech is an excellent example of this: Human health is the supposed end, but the way the end is pursued is dictated solely by the idea of technology; technology for which there has to be markets and consumers – sick people, that is. Creation of markets is, as we know, a good capitalistic principle. Hence, in one of those rare moments when history crystalizes in a single symbolic event, we saw the creation of such a biotech-dictated market at a press conference 25 years ago.

    The idea that capitalism inherently – we must talk about defining characteristics rather than accidental properties if we are to make sense – is something somebody other than the captalist can siphon anything off is almost too laughable to engage. I challenge the Apologistic Seeker to present an argument that wouldn’t work just as well for the relationship between the plantation owner and his slaves.

    Likewise his false dichotomy between Capitalism and Communism is just that: A false dichotomy, invented by the most neanderthalish part of the neanderthalish American political culture.

    Capitalism is an invention that seeks to optimize generation AND accumulation of capital. It cannot but exploit and expand; such is the nature of the beast you propose to harnish oh Naive One.

  13. Robert Houston Says:

    Whether capitalism, the American economy, the value of the dollar, or even the U.S. Treasury can survive the current Bush program of trillion dollar bailouts for the corporate elite, it’s clear that a heroic superman of divine origin is needed to save the day. Like the Lord, if he doesn’t exist we need to invent him. Truthseeker has shown the way in this post, which presents such an awesome and idealistic vision of what the world needs now.

    It’s time that the skeptics faced the truth. In the recent Presidential campaign we saw the emergence of a truly Christlike candidate, who, like the son of Nazareth, sought to help the poor and to promote peace on Earth. Both morally and intellectually, he was head and shoulders above all the other candidates. Like Lincoln, he never told a lie, never fudged the truth. A brilliant student, he had a straight A average at his ivy-league university, graduating magna cum laude. He then went on to Harvard Law School where he graduated with distinction. He worked tirelessly as a community organizer and law professor and author, as well as devoting himself to public service. Though a member of an ethnic minority in America, he surmounted all obstacles and lived like a saint, without a trace of scandal. Through his astute understanding and immense wisdom and knowledge, he gave the electorate a chance for a real change for the better at the last.

    Like Christ, he was rejected and ridiculed and scorned. Read his letter to Barack Obama, the charming con-man who won and who immediately betrayed every campaign promise by putting in place a team of right-wing rogues from the Clinton and Bush regimes to carry on every foolish policy of George Bush and the neo-cons for the cause of war and corporate power.

    That true saviour and sainted super hero in the last election was Ralph Nader. His recent remarks that Truthseeker was kind enough to quote at the end of a wonderfully innocent, fantasy-ridden post were the only notes of realism.

    P.S.: The photo of Obama walking on air was an optical illusion due to the use of a telephoto lens and low angle on figures standing on the mirrorlike surface of a rainswept tarmac. All appear to be floating – even the car.

  14. MacDonald Says:

    Mr. Houston,

    LOLOLOLOL!!!

    I see now I wrote “production of capital” above. Although capital these days does seem to be “produced” mainly by printing on worthless paper, I guess capital is still supposed to be generated in a capitalist system.

  15. Baby Pong Says:

    While I too like Ralph Nader in many ways, and would have preferred him to the other candidates, before we canonize him we might remember that he once called David Crowe a conspiracy theorist for questioning Aids dogma. That’s if I’m remembering correctly something David wrote in an article.

  16. Nick Naylor Says:

    TS, you said, “Robert Gallo has been recognized in reviews of his work by government officials as being severely challenged in this regard (consistent truth teller).”

    I think Dr Gallo should be allowed to defend himself on this point (from Parenzee Transcript):

    Q After the Pasteur Institute made that allegation, did the National Institute of Health in the United States set up an internal inquiry headed by Yale biochemist Frederic Richards.?

    A No. The National Institute of Health used the Richards Committee in the final stages after there was found to be no wrongdoing by the original team of scientists which lasted almost two years, then no guilt was found by anybody. A second group came and again found no guilt, this is when a congressman was obsessively going after American scientists, eight to be inclusive, including a Nobel Prize winner David Baltimore. In the end we were found guilty of nothing. The Richard’s Committee was advisory to one of Dingell’s persons the congressman going after the scientists. She was head of that Committee. She used an outside group, carefully selected, none of whom were retrovirologists. This one person didn’t know any retrovirology, and he was advising and taking the information from a woman who was working for this congressman, a woman whose background was in sociology, not science. That was their role, they never met with us and that is the one committee that wanted to be critical but did not know the facts of the other side. When it was all reviewed collectively, just know this: no scientific committee ever found me guilty of a single thing, ever. There was political pressure in an office in Washington by a powerful congressman that was paralleling some of the worst stages of history in the past, in some respects. That congressman went after some scientists, nothing happened. His office, not him, apparently put some pressure on people that were lawyers, such as yourself, in an Office of Research Integrity in Washington DC having nothing to do with science and they acknowledged that in Science Magazine after all this was over. They said they were damned if they found something wrong with me and they were damned if they didn’t. That’s the quote from the Science Magazine. No scientific review body found me guilty of anything. Lawyers, for a few weeks did, then dropped it all when my colleague, who did the work that was being contested, went forward and it was reviewed by objective people, by scientists, retrovirologists, molecular biologists – a host of people brought into a room like you’re in and, over a considerable period of time evaluated the whole thing and found him totally innocent as well and they dropped anything with me. I repeat the early inquiries and investigations of me found nothing by any scientific group that ever evaluated me.

    Q Following an inquiry by the National Institute of Health, there was then an investigation by an organization NIH, Office of Scientific Integrity, or OSI; is that correct?

    A Yes, that is what I alluded to earlier. There were three or four virologists and the head of the committee was a woman, non-scientist, who was in fact later found to be working for Congressman Dingell, who in fact was let go by NIH when all this was learned as you must know. She lost her job. The answer is yes and we were found not guilty of anything and having proven, I have documented every single one of the 48 isolates we claimed we had. Every one was documented by investigations that must be as much as Galileo went through. All 48 were documented on the day and date we claimed – 48 not 1. I want to keep emphasizing that – 48 isolates of the virus, not 1, were all documented.

    Q In September of 1991, did OSI publish a draft report in which you and a Mr.

    A No, OSI did not publish a drafted report, Congressman Dingell disavowed it. You should know that – it was disavowed by Dingell and done by the same lady. I cannot comment on that lady’s overall capacities, only that she had to be released. The lady who released that wrote it herself. She was released from NIH. She was not a scientist. She’s a sociologist. She had other problems also that I will not go into but if I were on trial, I would let you know about them and for you to use her and quote that release document suggests that your clients have led you down a really fuzzy path that they don’t understand. That was circulated around by people that wanted to attack HIV. That document doesn’t exist as any accepted document by anyone. It was not only thrown out of the Appeals Court, it was disavowed in Science Magazine by Congressman Dingell. The woman who released it used to work for Congressman Dingell, had a job at NIH, until they found out what she was doing. She was discredited. That is her document …

    END EXCERPT

    I’m not putting this up to say the record shouldn’t be revisited. That’s why I put up those other posts on the real fraud – missed by these investigations – that has apparently also escaped Dr Duesberg’s attention. But not Professor deHarven.

    Could the fact of the missing EM to validate the particle count still not being in the media light be the fault of the defense lawyer’s poor preparation? That maybe it was Popovic’s lapse of truth telling in one critical area? Like you with Mr deShong, maybe defense lawyer was caught flat-footed on the airiness of “dissident lore”; thus no follow-ups to “when my colleague, who did the work that was being contested, went forward and it was reviewed by objective people, by scientists, retrovirologists, molecular biologists – a host of people brought into a room like you’re in and, over a considerable period of time evaluated the whole thing and found him totally innocent.”

    Wouldn’t it have been great if Parenzee’s lawyer had prepared himself with that record?

    This great country will not be saved by those who refuse to travel beyond hero worship. That is, it is a cowardly approach for constant inaction: if the designated hero doesn’t do it or find it, I’m not going to stick my neck out.

  17. Nick Naylor Says:

    Wait a minute … you guys aren’t talking about the divine rule of capitalism are you?

    MacD – alas if these gentlemen are saying farewell to reason at this particular critical moment.

    I know of no other way to get more of the record to TS’ attention:

    Time to Nationalize a Bank ROBERT KUTTNER October 31, 2008 http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?article=time_to_nationalize_a_bank

    Instead of just throwing money at banks that it can’t or won’t control, government should exercise the rights of ownership — which is to make policy.

    The U.S. Treasury, at taxpayer expense, is pumping out an initial $124 billion in bailout money to 24 of America’s biggest banks, in hope of getting them to start lending again. But many of these banks are so traumatized that they’re reluctant to lend.

    So why waste the money on them? If the government took over a failed bank outright, instead of throwing money at banks that it can’t or won’t control, government could do the job properly.

    Banks ordinarily lend out money at several multiples of their own capital. They take in deposits and also borrow short-term cash in money markets — and then lend the money to consumers and businesses. Because they have to keep capital reserves against possible loan losses, when their own capital takes a big hit, their lending implodes.

    In this crisis, the banks have lost many hundreds of billions of dollars of capital. Falling stock prices have depressed their capital value even further. The theory was that if government replenished a big chunk of that capital, banks would start lending again.

    But apparently you lead a banker to capital, but you can’t make him lend. Several banks, most notably Citigroup, have advised Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson that they don’t consider business conditions right to do a lot of lending. Instead, they plan on using the money to buy up other banks and to pay shareholders dividends. Paulson behaves as if the government has no leverage, despite having just given Wall Street all this money.

    Paulson didn’t even ask for the right to have the government get bank stock in exchange for all this taxpayer money, but Congress insisted on giving it to him. Now, however, he is refusing to exercise the rights of ownership — which is to make policy.

    Several outraged members of Congress, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have argued that Paulson should set tougher conditions. For instance, there should be no payment of dividends to shareholders during the period that a bank is taking public money; and no mergers or acquisitions without the consent of government, and no executive bonuses or “golden parachutes.”

    In fact, the use of taxpayer funds to pay dividends is the bigger outrage. After all, when private shareholders invested in a bank, they accepted the risks of ownership. They get dividends in good years — but in bad years they take a hit. The government bailout was intended to start credit flowing again, not to finance dividend payments.

    But the bankers’ lobby and its chief man in Washington, Paulson (temporarily on duty at the Treasury), argue that if government puts strings on its aid, it will scare off private capital. In this view, if government limits dividends, it will be bad for the value of the banks’ stock. This is nonsense, because in a year when banks are taking huge losses, they have no business paying dividends under any circumstances.

    However, even a number of Democrats have bought the argument. “There’s not much we can do other than jawbone,” Sen. Chuck Schumer told The Wall Street Journal. Schumer, a close friend of the financial industry, could be Banking Committee Chairman in the next Congress. And within the Obama camp, economists Larry Summers and Laura Tyson are sympathetic to the view that Treasury should not push the bankers too hard, lest stock prices get depressed. However, House Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank plans hearings November 18 aimed at imposing stronger conditions.

    Meanwhile, the United Steelworkers union has released an analysis comparing Paulson’s recent deals to provide government funds in exchange for stock warrants with a similar deal made by super-investor Warren Buffett when he recently invested $5 billion in Goldman Sachs. Researchers for the Steelworkers calculated that Buffet got between seven and 14 times in share value what Paulson negotiated on behalf of taxpayers.

    Paulson was one shrewd deal-maker when he worked on Wall Street as the head of Goldman Sachs. But now that he is at Treasury, he is letting the banks take his supposed client (the American people) to the cleaners. You’d almost think he was still working for the banks.

    Under Paulson, government assumes all of the losses — but feigns impotence when it comes to getting the banks to resume lending. So it would be much better for the government to take over at least one bank outright. Then the government-owned bank, freshly capitalized with new public funds, could resume lending — and not have to worry about paying dividends, satisfying stock analysts, or manipulating its share price.

    Franklin Roosevelt called this strategy “yardstick competition.” In key industries, his idea was to have one public institution compete directly against private ones, to test their claims and to lead the way. The FDIC already does this on an interim basis when it takes over failed banks. If the private banking sector can’t get credit flowing again, it’s better for government to start doing the job directly rather than throwing money at bankers who won’t cooperate.

    Has Deregulation Sired Fascism? By Paul Craig Roberts
    http://www.creators.com/opinion/paul-craig-roberts/has-deregulation-sired-fascism.html

    Remember the good old days when the economic threat was mere recession? The Federal Reserve would encourage the economy with low interest rates until the economy overheated. Prices would rise, and unions would strike for higher benefits. Then the Fed would put on the brakes by raising interest rates. Money supply growth would fall. Inventories would grow, and layoffs would result. When the economy cooled down, the cycle would start over.

    The nice thing about 20th century recessions was that the jobs returned when the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates and consumer demand increased. In the 21st century, the jobs that have been moved offshore do not come back. More than 3 million U.S. manufacturing jobs have been lost while George W. Bush was in the White House. Those jobs represent consumer income and career opportunities that America will never see again.

    In the 21st century, the U.S. economy has produced net new jobs only in low-paid domestic services, such as waitresses, bartenders, hospital orderlies and retail clerks. The kind of jobs that provided ladders of upward mobility into the middle class are being exported abroad or filled by foreigners brought in on work visas. Today when you purchase an American name brand, you are supporting economic growth and consumer incomes in China and Indonesia, not in Detroit and Cincinnati.

    In the 20th century, economic growth resulted from improved technologies, new investment and increases in labor productivity, which raised consumers’ incomes and purchasing power. In contrast, in the 21st century, economic growth has resulted from debt expansion.

    Most Americans have experienced little, if any, income growth in the 21st century. Instead, consumers have kept the economy going by maxing out their credit cards and refinancing their mortgages in order to consume the equity in their homes.

    The income gains of the 21st century have gone to corporate chief executives, shareholders of offshoring corporations and financial corporations.

    By replacing $20-an-hour U.S. labor with $1-an-hour Chinese labor, the profits of U.S. offshoring corporations have boomed, thus driving up share prices and “performance” bonuses for corporate CEOs. With Bush-Cheney, the Republicans have resurrected their policy of favoring the rich over the poor. John McCain captured today’s high-income class with his quip that you are middle class if you have an annual income less than $5 million.

    Financial companies have made enormous profits by securitizing income flows from unknown risks and selling asset-backed securities to pension funds and investors at home and abroad.

    Today, recession is only a small part of the threat that we face. Financial deregulation, Alan Greenspan’s low interest rates and the belief that the market was the best regulator of risks have created a highly leveraged pyramid of risk without adequate capital or collateral to back the risk. Consequently, a wide variety of financial institutions are threatened with insolvency, risking a collapse comparable to the bank failures that shrank the supply of money and credit and produced the Great Depression.

    Washington has been slow to recognize the current problem. A millstone around the neck of every financial institution is the mark-to-market rule, an ill-advised “reform” from a previous crisis that was blamed on fraudulent accounting that over-valued assets on the books. As a result, today institutions have to value their assets at current market value.

    In the current crisis, the rule has turned out to be a curse. Asset-backed securities, such as collateralized mortgage obligations, faced their first market pricing in panicked circumstances. The owner of a bond backed by 1,000 mortgages doesn’t know how many of the mortgages are good and how many are bad. The uncertainty erodes the value of the bond.

    If significant amounts of such untested securities are on the balance sheet, insolvency rears its ugly head. The bonds get dumped in order to realize some part of their value. Merrill Lynch sold its asset-backed securities for 20 cents on the dollar, although it is unlikely that 80 percent of the instruments were worthless.

    The mark-to-market rule, together with the suspect values of the asset-backed securities and collateral debt obligations and swaps, allowed short-sellers to make fortunes by driving down the share prices of the investment banks, thus worsening the crisis.

    If the mark-to-market rule had been suspended and short-selling prohibited, the crisis would have been mitigated. Instead, the crisis intensified, provoking the U.S. Treasury to propose taking responsibility for $700 billion more in troubled financial instruments in addition to the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and AIG bailouts. Treasury guarantees are also apparently being extended to money market funds.

    All of this makes sense at a certain level. But what if the $700 billion doesn’t stem the tide and another $700 billion is needed? At what point does the Treasury’s assumption of liabilities erode its own credit standing?

    This crisis comes at the worst possible time. Gratuitous wars and military spending in pursuit of U.S. world hegemony have inflated the federal budget deficit, which recession is further enlarging. Massive trade deficits, magnified by the offshoring of goods and services, cannot be eliminated by U.S. export capability.

    These large deficits are financed by foreigners, and foreign unease has resulted in a decline in the U.S. dollar’s value compared to other tradable currencies, precious metals and oil.

    The U.S. Treasury does not have $700 billion on hand with which to buy the troubled assets from the troubled institutions. The Treasury will have to borrow the $700 billion from abroad.

    The dependency of Treasury Secretary Paulson’s bailout scheme on foreign willingness to absorb more Treasury paper so that the United States has the money to bail out the troubled institutions is heavy proof that the nation is in a financially dependent position that is inconsistent with that of America’s “superpower” status.

    The United States is not a superpower. It is a financially dependent country that foreign lenders can close down at will.

    Washington still hasn’t learned this. American hubris can lead the administration and Congress into a bailout solution that the rest of the world, which has to finance it, might not accept.

    Currently, the fight between the administration and Congress over the bailout is whether the bailout will include the Democrats’ poor constituencies as well as the Republicans’ rich ones. The Republicans, for the most part, and their media shills are doing their best to exclude the ordinary American from the rescue plan.

    A less appreciated feature of Paulson’s bailout plan is his demand for freedom from accountability. Congress balked at Paulson’s demand that the executive branch’s conduct of the bailout be non-reviewable by Congress or the courts: “Decisions by the secretary pursuant to the authority of this act are non-reviewable and committed to agency discretion.” But Congress substituted for its own authority a “board” that possibly will consist of the bailed-out parties, by which I mean Republican and Democratic constituencies. The control over the financial system that the bailout would give to the executive branch would mean, in effect, state capitalism or fascism.

    If we add state capitalism to the Bush administration’s success in eroding both the U.S. Constitution and the power of Congress, we may be witnessing the final death of accountable constitutional government.

    The United States might also be on the verge of a decision by foreign lenders to cease financing a country that claims to be a hegemonic power with the right and the virtue to impose its will on the rest of the world. The United States is able to be at war in Iraq and Afghanistan and is able to pick fights with Iran, Pakistan and Russia because the Chinese, the Japanese and the sovereign wealth funds of the oil kingdoms finance America’s wars and military budgets. Aside from nuclear weapons, which are also in the hands of other countries, the United States has no assets of its own with which to pursue its control over the world.

    The United States cannot be a hegemonic power without foreign financing. All indications are that the rest of the world is tiring of U.S. arrogance.

    If the U.S. Treasury’s assumption of bailout responsibilities becomes excessive, the dollar will lose its reserve currency role. The minute that occurs, foreign financing of America’s twin deficits will cease, as will the bailout. The U.S. government would have to turn to the printing of paper money, as did Weimar Germany.

    For now, this pending problem is hidden from view because, in times of panic, the tradition is to flee into “safety” — that is, into U.S. Treasury debt obligations. The safety of Treasuries will be revealed by the extent of the bailout.

    Change We Can Bank on, by Robert Scheer http://www.creators.com/opinion/robert-scheer.html

    This is not change we can believe in. Not if Robert Rubin or his protege, Lawrence Summers, get to call the shots on the economy in President-elect Barack Obama’s incoming administration. Both Clinton-era treasury secretaries deserve a great deal of the blame for the radical deregulation of the financial industry that has derailed the world economy. They both should, along with former Federal Reserve chief Alan Greenspan, perform rites of contrition and be kept at a safe distance from the leadership of our nation.

    Yet Rubin and Summers are highly visible in the Obama transition team, with Summers widely touted as Obama’s pick for secretary of the treasury. New York Federal Reserve President Timothy Geithner, who also worked in the treasury department under Rubin and Summers, is the other leading candidate. But it was Summers who most vehemently pushed for congressional passage of that drastic deregulation measure, the Financial Services Modernization Act, which eliminated the New Deal barriers against mergers of commercial and investment banks, as well as insurance companies and stock brokers. Standing at his side as President Bill Clinton signed the legislation, Summers heralded it as “a major step forward to the 21st century” — and what a wonderful century it’s proving to be.

    It was also Summers who worked in cahoots with Enron and banking lobbyists, and who backed Republican Sen. Phil Gramm’s Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which banned any effective government regulation of the newly unleashed derivatives market. The result was not only a temporary boon to Enron, which soon collapsed under its unbridled greed, but also to the entire Wall Street financial community.

    The only opposition from within the Clinton administration came from Brooksley E. Born, who as head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, dared defy Summers and Rubin, as well as Greenspan. In frequent appearances before Congress, she warned that the burgeoning derivatives trading “threatens our economy without any federal agency knowing about it.”

    In reward for her prescience, Born, a highly regarded legal expert on derivatives, was treated to scornful attacks from the old boys’ network, led (again) by Rubin, Greenspan and Summers, who questioned her competency and insisted it was she who threatened the stability of the market.

    That sexism, as well as stupidity and greed, might have played a role in the dismissal of Born’s concerns has been raised by some of Summers’ critics, who were still smarting even after his subsequent forced departure from the presidency of Harvard University after disparaging women’s innate ability to grasp mathematics and science.

    “It was Larry Summers who called her up and screamed at her,” Amy Siskind, co-founder of the New Agenda, a women’s rights group that grew out of the Hilary Rodham Clinton presidential campaign, told the Boston Globe to support her view that Summers is a “known misogynist.”

    Whatever the motives, Born was painfully right in her warnings and Summers was totally wrong in overseeing the passage of legislation that summarily prevented any government regulation of the debt instruments that have proved so disastrous.

    I don’t know if Born, now retired at 68, would be interested in the treasury secretary position, but she is certainly far more qualified than the other candidates under consideration.

    Barring that possibility, why not go with Sheila Bair, the chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), who has distinguished herself by proposing a sterling alternative example of how to deal with the banking collapse? It is Bair who has most forcefully advanced the goal, advocated by Obama in his recent “60 Minutes” interview, of putting homeowners before banks. Under her leadership, the FDIC has made sure that the insured banks, which it supervises and occasionally takes over, act to prevent foreclosures rather than using government handouts to finance new bank mergers.

    On Tuesday, House Democrats led by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass, accused Paulson of betraying congressional language authorizing the $700 billion bailout that specifically called for “mortgage foreclosure diminution.” Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., charged, “We’re basically funding mergers and acquisitions, not lending.” On Friday, Bair introduced a proposal to allocate $24.4 billion of the bailout specifically to modify loans to prevent 1.5 million foreclosures, but was opposed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

    Because Geithner and Summers support Paulson’s approach, Obama should reject them and pick Bair to give us the kind of change he’s been promising.

    State Banks Could Solve Financial Crisis, By Nicholas von Hoffman, November 26, 2008
    Howl http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081215/howl?rel=hp_currently

    Is enough ever enough? At last count Paulson, Bernanke, Geithner et al. had dumped $45 billion into Citigroup, plus promising to pay off $249 billion worth of Citi’s rotten investments if need be.

    To keep this famously ill-managed, organizational monstrosity afloat, yet more billions may be required. As the Washington Post’s Steven Pearlstein writes, “The rationale for saving Citi is that with $3 trillion in assets, more than 300,000 employees and operations in more than 100 countries, this was a bank that was too big and too connected with the rest of the financial system to be allowed to fail. The question now is whether an institution of that size and scope is also too big to succeed.”

    Unless Citigroup is broken up–which, given the tenuous condition of the financial system, no one dares discuss in public–this organization is not going to resume making loans. As a bank, Citigroup is in a vegetative state, unable to perform its economic functions.
    All told, the US government has committed almost $239 billion to 101 banks and financial institutions to save them from going under so that they can again make the loans that make the economy spin at something faster than poverty level. The commitment of such a huge fortune has not achieved the goal of getting the banks lending again.

    So the Federal Reserve Board has come forth with two more programs intended to get loans flowing. These will dump or pump or push another $800 billion into the clogged arteries of the nation’s financial system, if indeed the nation still has one. The mind reels, boggles, spins or goes blank at these numbers.

    Regardless of how much money is poured into these institutions, it always turns out that they are more in the red than they said they were, or than they thought they were. In either case, trying to make them solvent and ready to make loans again is somewhat like trying to fill up a bathtub without a stopper in the drain.

    It does not help that much of the public has come to believe bankers are lying swine. Every new bailout to keep the banks afloat arouses public suspicion, not to say anger. People in straitened circumstances, out of work or fearing they soon will be, people whose life savings have been decimated are nursing a growing resentment at the unfathomably rich treatment accorded these organizations and the pampered, often incompetent, almost always excessively greedy executives who run them.

    The general anger and indignation must also play a part in the banks’ inability to come back from the financial graveyard, even with the assistance of endless golden intravenous feedings. Maybe it’s time to try something new. Maybe it’s time for state governments–with federal help–to start some new banks with clean balance sheets that can begin lending on the day they open their doors. There is precedent for this.

    There is the Bank of North Dakota. The BND was established by the state of North Dakota, which owns it, in 1919. The reason for its existence is that the farmers and small businessmen of the state were confounded by the same impossibility to secure loans back then that has frozen the nation in place in 2008. The banks were not lending, so the state started a bank which did lend and does to this day. It is making student loans and other kinds of loans that are unavailable elsewhere.

    The bank is the depository institution for the State of North Dakota’s funds and it also accepts deposits from ordinary people and businesses. Since it is a socialistic institution, not intended to make a profit, it does not have a motive to misbehave, as our private enterprise banks have done.

    Any state can start its own bank using the funds it has deposited in private banks. That comes to many billions, and withdrawing so much money at one time could be all that is needed to send any number of banks into death throes. So the switchover would have to be carried out gradually with the federal government, which is so free and easy with its cash, supplying the startup money.

    Socialism, as we have been taught, is a wicked thing, but North Dakota has dabbled in it for nigh onto ninety years and seems to have survived in good health. North Dakotans appear to be as patriotic and liberty-loving as Americans in the other states, even with their collectivist bank.

    If every state had its own bank and something approaching a parallel financial structure, that might keep the private banks closer to the straight and narrow. If a dollop of socialism is more than most can stand, it’s up to them to think up something else or the rest of our taxpaying lives will be spent watching the government give our money to Citigroup.

    Return of the Wall Street Hustlers by Robert Scheer, 11/26/08
    http://www.thenation.com/doc/20081208/scheer

    Robert Scheer is the editor of Truthdig, where this article originally appeared.

    Maybe Ralph Nader was right in predicting that the same Wall Street hustlers would have a lock on our government no matter which major party won the election. I hate to admit it, since it wasn’t that long ago that I heatedly challenged Nader in a debate on this very point.

    But how else is one to respond to Barack Obama’s picking the very folks who helped get us into this financial mess to now lead us out of it? Watching the president-elect’s Monday introduction of his economic team, my brother-in-law Pete said, “You can see the feathers coming out of their mouths” as the foxes were once again put in charge of the henhouse. He didn’t have time to expound on his point, having to get ready to go sort mail in his job at the post office, but he showed me a statement from Citigroup showing that the interest rate on Pete the Postal Worker’s credit card was 28.9 percent, an amount that all major religions would justly condemn as usurious.

    Moments earlier, Obama had put his seal of approval on the Citigroup bailout, which his new economic team, led by proteges of Citigroup Executive Committee Chairman Robert Rubin, enthusiastically endorsed. A bailout that brings to $45 billion the taxpayer money thrown at Citigroup and the guarantee of $306 billion for the bank’s “toxic securities” that would have been illegal if not for changes in the law that Citigroup secured with the decisive help of Rubin and Lawrence Summers, the man who replaced him as Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration.

    As Summers stayed on to ensure passage of deregulatory laws that enabled enormous banking greed, Rubin was rewarded with a $15 million-a-year executive position at Citigroup, a job that only got more lucrative as the bank went from one disaster, beginning with its involvement with Enron in which Rubin played an active role, to its huge role in the mortgage debacle. It is widely acknowledged that Citigroup fell victim to a merger mania, which Rubin and Summers made legal during their tenure at Treasury.

    Yet despite that dismal record of dismantling sound regulation, Summers has been picked by Obama to be the top White House economic adviser and another Rubin disciple, Timothy Geithner, is the new Treasury secretary. Geithner, thanks in part to the strong recommendation of Rubin, had been appointed chairman of the New York Federal Reserve Bank after working for Rubin and Summers during the Clinton years. Once at the New York Fed, he was the main government official charged with regulating Citigroup, a task at which he obviously failed. Yet over the weekend, it was Geithner who hammered out the Citigroup bailout deal with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and a very actively involved Rubin.

    As the Washington Post reported, Paulson had indicated last week that no further bailouts were planned before the new administration took office until “Rubin, an old colleague from Goldman Sachs, told Paulson in phone calls that the government had to act.” Rubin conceded in an interview with the Post that he had played a key role in the politics of the bailout.

    This outrageous conflict of interest in which Rubin gets to exploit his ties to both the outgoing and incoming administrations was best described by Washington Post writer Steven Pearlstein: “The ultimate irony, of course, is that just as Rubin and Co. at Citi were being bailed out by the Bush Administration, President-elect Barack Obama was getting set to announce a new economic team drawn almost entirely from Rubin acolytes.”

    As opposed to the far tougher deal negotiated on the bailout of AIG, the arrangement with Citigroup leaves the executives, including Rubin, who brought Citigroup to the brink of ruin, still in charge. Nor is there any guarantee of the value of the mortgage bundles that taxpayers will be guaranteeing. That is because, as candidate Obama clearly stated in his major economics address back in March, the deregulation pushed though during the Clinton years ended transparency in banking.

    Why then has he appointed the very people responsible for this disaster to now make it all better? Why not ask him? Heck, yes, it is time for the many of us who responded to his e-mails during the campaign to now challenge our e-mail buddy as to why he suddenly acts as if the interests of Wall Street and Main Street are one and the same.

  18. Nick Naylor Says:

    “a lot better at getting people to work than Communism with its tendency to be hijacked by the biggest thieves and ideological criminals and clog up with laziness and lack of responsibility.”

    Err, TS where have you been lately?

    Now here’s a reading list for big boys that I just gave you. You see you’re too old to believe in fairy tales anymore.

  19. Truthseeker Says:

    Gentlemen, if you have to refer to extremely long and tiresomely uninspired articles, please quote the salient parts and url the rest. The reason is that some people need to print out the copy here for reading and reference. Much obliged. All of it says very little more than your own witty comment – mercifully brief – above. Yes. Touche!

    The important thing in all this is to avoid people who cannot think beyond the obvious and insist on rolling out trite and plodding commentary which simply repeats conventional wisdom as if it were news. (Host excepted, of course.)

    On second thoughts we retract that, since going through the text and highlighting the indubitable truths in bold we find they probably need to be quoted so extensively one may as well record them all.

    One caveat though – Larry Summers did not disparage women’s abilities in math and science, at least on paper as quoted. He merely asked that science research the issue properly and decide the question. Since it did we learned that the bell curves of accomplishment for the two sexes will cluster around the same level if opportunity is equalized, but the extremities will be occupied by men – more stupid ones, more geniuses. But again, perhaps Larry Summers’s tone gave him away. Perhaps he signaled disparagement with his voice.

    Also, the figures in billions are now out of date by quite a sum.

  20. MartinDKessler Says:

    Robert Houston said: ” Like Lincoln, he never told a lie, never fudged the truth”. Really? Lincoln was a lawyer, Obama is a lawyer. When Lincoln put together the Emancipation Proclamation, it was an act of political opportunism. It was a legal fiction. Ah! Lying.

  21. Robert Houston Says:

    Martin Kessler has a point. My statement, “Like Lincoln, he never told a lie” should have been “Like George Washington…” The latter is reputed – justly or not – to have held a no-lying policy from childhood. The “Christlike candidate” whose honesty and other virtues were described in my previous comment was not Barack Obama but Ralph Nader, as my next paragraphs made clear. In fact, I accused Sen. Obama of dishonesty: “the charming con-man who won and who immediately betrayed every campaign promise…”

    A recent web article is a good example of the growing alarm at Obama’s Betrayal. Nick Naylor provided some excellent articles on this theme but, like Truthseeker, I wish he used URLs or selected quotes instead of dropping massive amounts of text.

    I also agree with Truthseeker that former Treasury Secretary and Harvard President Larry Summers was unfairly criticised for his remarks on women. That was a minor issue, however, compared with the fact that Mr. Summers was the chief architect and unrepentant advocate of the deregulatory policies that Obama and others have charged were the main cause of the current financial crisis. That Summers and his former protege Tim Geithner should now have the top jobs overseeing the economy further demonstrates the surprising ignorance and/or bad judgment of the President-Elect. Divine or not, he seems clueless.

  22. MacDonald Says:

    Mr. Houston, it is hard to swallow that it is something as innocent as cluelessness that has inspired Obama’s choices.

    There is a growing related concern and that is the narrative our own Truthseeker has been complicit in creating, that the President-Elect is somehow gathering a cabinet representative of the diversity and plurality of the American people. with his choices and words Obama is now starting to feed into the far Right’s lie that the American electorate is “Centre-Right” (with the Centre defined by the Right). He does so by claiming that he doesn’t want a cabinet of yes men; he wants peple who share his core values and vision, but may disagree with him on the strategy. I don’t think any of the serious contributors to this blog will have trouble spotting the double-speak here. If the shared vision is US hegemony, it matters little if the advisors agree on who it is advisable to bomb next.

    Obama and his handlers are also creating an illusion of purality in other ways, for instance by the gender and race composition. In the National security team, now formally announced, Afro-Americans and women are represented in just the right ratios to white males to make the basically hawkish team appear colurful and progressive. Here is Ms. Joan “Vapid” Walsh summarizing the Myth-Elect as it relates to Obama’s National Security team. The involuntarily self-satirical blog post is headlined “TEAM AMERICA” – what else:

    Obama’s foreign policy and national security team, formally announced on Monday, was impressive in its genuine diversity. This wasn’t faux diversity or tokenism, but a group of people who represent a refreshingly wide spectrum on ideology, gender, race, age and life experience. Three women, three African-Americans, three white men, two Republicans, or perhaps independents. It shows the world that Obama is pulling together a strong team that looks like America, but that his primary value is excellence and competence. He also made clear this now-cliché “team of rivals” will be expected to debate and even clash, but he will make final decisions and set policy.

    Just to mention the names that have been bandied about on this blog, I see no Chomsky, no Nader, no Ron Paul anywhere in this or any other of the Obama teams supposedly presenting a “refreshingly wide spectrum of rivals”.

    Obama is moonwalking full speed now – not out of Iraq but out of his commitment to treat the place as a sovereign nation. In all the President-Elects musings yesterday about what was the right time-frame for withdrawal, and when we could expect to get down to the absolute minimum of 80,000 American logistics, training and security personnel, there was not a single reference to the wishes of the Iraqi people or its governement. Not one.

    Obama clueless? Hardly.

  23. MacDonald Says:

    I shal forbear to correct typos, but I owe those with an iron stomach to mention that Ms. Walsh can be enjoyed in full here:

    http://www.salon.com/opinion/walsh/election_2008/2008/12/01/security_team/

    I didn’t make it more than 1/3 through.

  24. MartinDKessler Says:

    That both Democrats and Republicans are happy with the “competent” choices Obama has made for key positions is telling. Many of the people chosen for the cabinet like Summers (as Robert has posted) were directly involved with the economic problems we have now. I guess you could call them “experienced”. Had Nader been elected president, I think both the Democrats and the Republicans would have been very unhappy with how Nader would overhaul much of what our government would look like. Like many have said before, Democrats and Republicans are really two sides of the same coin. Remember, Obama very publicly took the “HIV” test. He’s a very lucky person. Blacks are much more likely to test “positive” (for what who knows) than whites. Had Obama gotten a positive result, he wouldn’t have been a presidential candidate much less the president elect.

  25. Truthseeker Says:

    Stunning point, MacD. But maybe Obama would have gotten interested enough to crack the whole charade wide open. Hard to imagine how he could have avoided being covered with muck like anyone else who kicks this skunk, but if anyone could have done it he could.

    Needless to say we are shocked at the lack of perception of the cynics to whom Obama is not sufficient inspiration. Are you not aware that the man is a saint? Imagine all the women who must be throwing themselves at him. yet not a murmur of scandal even of the Jimmy Carter “in my heart I lust” variety.

    We understand, though. Battered by eight years where the Oval Office was hijacked by a banana republic takeover, you find it too hard to believe that the new political Christ will with his extended hand raise you up out of ill health and beggary to walk with Him into the Light as the Sun Rises on a New Earth.

    All we can say is, Please believe. One thing you may not understand. Wimpy good hearted truthtellers such as Ron Paul or principled truthtellers like Nader will never gain office, they don’t have the moxy to win the game. In Obama we have lucked into a man rises above petty ideologies which in the Cabinet officers you deplore mainly reflect self interest, roots, powerseeking and rationalization, all easily brushed aside by the Iron hand of the new Leader with Purpose who will herd these cats toward the Sunrise of Peace and Prosperity. These sillinesses are merely the fodder of media hacks. All the men and women he has chosen are pragmatic realists who if they have made mistakes in the past are sorely chastened and ready to profit from the lessons. Even Gates is a new man, is he not? under the transcendent leadership of a man who talks more sense that anyone else in politics. Thank God he is in charge. You cannot see this? Just look at his wife and daughters. Obama will now be the father of the nation in the same successful manner.

    Here some comfort for all you cynics. Maybe. Next Picks May Reflect Liberal Tilt . Obama may now pick liberals to fill out Cabinet.

    Cynicism exacts a personal price in the 21st Century: irrelevancy.

  26. MacDonald Says:

    Woe is me!!!

    Is it the well-intentioned Truthseeker trying to soothe, or the heartless imp playing a prank on us poor derailed cynics? I lamented above the transparent perversion of our political discourse that makes Centre of Right and Left of Centre, and here is another prime illustration of such empty-headed journalism offered as. . . comfort? The first sentence alone should earn these “journalists” a life-time on traffic duty:

    By STEPHEN POWER and LAURA MECKLER
    WASHINGTON — President-elect Barack Obama, after picking moderates for several cabinet positions, is looking at more-liberal candidates to fill some of the remaining vacancies.

    Foul is fair and hawks are moderates we learn, so who are the “liberals”?

    One potential choice is Rep. Xavier Becerra, a California Democrat who is in talks with the Obama transition team about heading the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, according to two Democratic officials familiar with the selection process. Mr. Becerra is widely seen as a skeptic of free trade.

    A skeptic of free trade? Here is what earned Mr. Beccerra this reputation:

    Rep. Becerra, who sits on the House Ways and Means Committee that oversees trade issues, voted for the North American Free Trade Agreement but later said he regretted it. He helped lead congressional opposition to the 2005 Central American Free Trade Agreement, citing concerns about labor standards, and opposes a pending free-trade pact with Colombia. But he has supported some other free-trade deals, such as those with Peru and Chile.

    If you’ve once stated concerns about labour standards you’ve earned your bona fides as a leftie loon against all things free – despite the fact that Beccerra has voted for the so-called fee trade agreements almost every time.

    Ok, so What else would make the whole Obama admin. slide to the Left?

    Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva has emerged as a leading candidate for interior secretary, two people familiar with the deliberations said. Mr. Grijalva has been an outspoken critic of the Bush administration’s policies on oil and gas drilling on public lands.

    Aha! If you’re not an enthusiastic supporter of Bush’s unrestrained drill now, drill here, drill to your hearts’ content my cronies. you’re a one of them tree hugging cultural marxists that aid and abet oil producing terrorists. Much worse than that:

    In an interview this week, Mr. Grijalva said he is interested in the job. He said his priority would be to “return facts and science back to the equation” of how Interior makes decisions about the use of public land.

    How profoundly un-American! A pulitzer would be quite in order for the intrepid reporters Stephen Power and Laura Meckler, the first to expose the rumoured-to-be-contemplated liberal excesses of the Prez-Elect.

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