Dictatorial Much?

Let’s all just dance around the Hitler 2.0 theme.  If it has a bill, orange webbed feet, and goes “quack, quack”; it’s probably a frakkin’ duck.  At least he hasn’t started having them taken out and shot….oops, think I may have spoken out of turn about that one.

I hate using this source, but it is what it is.

Obama Repeatedly Reminds House GOP Of Their Zero Stimulus Votes

In a meeting with House Republicans at the White House Thursday, President Obama reminded the minority that the last time he reached out to them, they reacted with zero votes — twice — for his stimulus package. And then he reminded them again. And again. And again.

A GOP source familiar with the meeting said that the president was extremely sensitive — even “thin-skinned” — to the fact that the stimulus bill received no GOP votes in the House. He continually brought it up throughout the meeting.

Obama also offered payback for that goose egg. A major overhaul of the health care system, he told the Republican leadership, would be done using a legislative process known as reconciliation, meaning that the GOP won’t be able to filibuster it.

I want what I want, when I want it, and I want it now.

Congress has until October 15 to pass health care or student lending reform under the normal process. If it doesn’t, reconciliation can be used to eliminate the 60-vote requirement.

Democratic aides said that Obama made clear to the GOP leadership that he would continue to work in a bipartisan way, but that they didn’t have veto power over health care policy. GOP aides, however, said that Obama was pretty clear that reconciliation would be used. “From what was told me, it sounded more like he would almost definitely use reconciliation for healthcare. I don’t think he hedged much,” said one.

How does one work in a bipartisan manner while holding a gun to someone else’s head?  How does that work?  This is right up there with telling the banks they had to take the TARP money and then not allowing them to pay it back.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) pushed back against the decision to use reconciliation. “As he told the President during a meeting at the White House on Thursday, Senator McConnell and his colleagues want to be part of the solution to reforming our country’s health care system and expects the majority party to include Republicans in that process. Sen. McConnell wants a bipartisan solution,” said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart.

“Fast-tracking a major legislative overhaul such as health care reform or a new national energy tax without the benefit of a full and transparent debate does a disservice to the American people,” said McConnell in a statement. “And it would make it absolutely clear they intend to carry out their plans on a purely partisan basis.

All of this coming right along with changes to student loans, and the collapse of the commercial real estate market.  It is actually worse than I first envisioned it.  When one puts the threads together, the tapestry becomes apparent.

The Commercial Real Estate Bubble…Coming To A Bank Near You

I know you folks are very savvy, paying attention, and doing math with a real pencil instead of a red crayon, so what comes next is NO SURPRISE to you.  Are we all ready for the next part of the rollercoaster ride when the commercial real estate bubble implodes? If you still have money in the stock market, why is that? (Once again, bold emphasis is mine, and may I repeat how screwed we are?)

From the WSJ:

U.S. Presses Some Banks to Act After Stress Tests

WASHINGTON — Federal officials are pushing several of the country’s largest banks to bolster capital reserves, people familiar with the matter said, as regulators try to repair bank balance sheets and the public image of the U.S. banking sector.

I can almost hear you speaking…

The identities of the banks, among the 19 institutions that were subjected to federal “stress tests,” couldn’t be learned. Analysts believe they likely include regional banks with large exposures to commercial real estate in the Midwest and Southeast. Three people familiar with the matter said at least three banks are in this position.

Government officials believe most banks in need can improve their capital footing without taking money from the government bailout fund. This would be done by raising funds from private investors or converting the government’s existing investments in banks into a new type of equity that would better cover banks in case of future losses.

That would be common shares or nationalization.

In the latter scenario, the U.S. could end up owning large chunks of banks, raising the specter of something akin to nationalization. Federal officials have said any such move would be temporary. Some banks could end up requiring a cash infusion from the Treasury.

Is anything temporary with this government?

In February, the Obama administration said 19 bank holding companies with more than $100 billion of assets would have to undergo a stress test. The move was designed to calm fears about the solvency of the banking system. The exams, conducted by more than 150 federal regulators, analyzed potential losses from residential mortgages to complex securities products.

Oh, I am so calling b*llshit on that phrase.  The move was designed to see what would happen when the commercial real estate bubble imploded.

Regulators want banks in the future to be able to maintain an additional “buffer” of capital above the minimum standards, a Federal Reserve official told reporters Friday. The official wouldn’t identify the specific buffer.

Because that would give it away, yes?

The Fed released the methodology for the tests Friday, although didn’t provide many of the specifics that bank investors and analysts had been seeking.

Imagine that?

In embarking on the tests, government officials are walking a tightrope. The move could have the opposite its intended effect and raise public fears that banks ordered to raise more capital are on the verge of collapse. The Fed specifically said Friday that needing to boost capital should not be viewed as “a measure of the current solvency or viability of the firm.”

<snip>

Under the tests, all 19 banks are all believed to be “well capitalized” by current standards. The tests, however, pushed banks to determine what their conditions would look like if the economy worsened precipitously.

Like, for instance, trillions in commercial real estate defaults?

Fed officials and some of the banks wrapped up in less than 60 minutes; others dragged on for several hours, according to people familiar with the matter. Participants were told to keep mum on what was discussed.

Those would be the banks that are heavily leveraged in commerical real estate.

The 19 banks identified by the government, and the winners are: J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Citigroup, Bank of America Corp.,  Wells Fargo & Co.,  Goldman Sachs Group, Morgan Stanley, MetLife, PNC Financial Services Group, US Bancorp, Bank of NY Mellon Corp., SunTrust Banks Inc., State Street Corp., Capital One Financial Corp., BB&T Corp., Regions Financial Corp., American Express Co., Fifth Third Bancorp, Keycorp, GMAC LLC.

Read the government’s methodology here, produced by the Board of Governors of The Federal Reserve System.  (A round of applause, please?  Did.Not.Think.So.)

Ladies and Gentlemen; once again, buckle up…

Another Thread To The Pilgrims Society

H/T to Practical Madman for the link, there are 11 more videos in the series.  I got to 3:30 where Prescott Bush is mentioned, and y’ll know what that means.   Watch, and once again, you decide.  For those of you that are interested, I have put a drop-down page up top under The Pilgrims Society with all 12 videos.  I am now going back down the rabbit hole….

Swine Flu Outbreak; Never Before Seen Mixture? UPDATED

(Look for 4/24/09 Afternoon Update at the bottom of this post. More updates following…)

Last night I stumbled across this from Reuters:

Seven people in U.S. hit by strange new swine flu

WASHINGTON, April 23 (Reuters) – Seven people have been diagnosed with a new kind of swine flu in California and Texas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday. All seven people have recovered but the virus itself is a never-before-seen mixture of viruses typical among pigs, birds and humans, the CDC said. “We are likely to find more cases,” the CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat told a telephone briefing. “We don’t think this is time for major concern around the country.” Only one of the seven cases was sick enough to be hospitalized and all have recovered, Schuchat said. CDC officials are unsure whether the cases are related to an unusually late and severe flu season in Mexico in which 20 people have died.

This morning there are more details.

US ‘very concerned’ about swine flu outbreak

US medical authorities expressed strong concern Friday about an unprecedented multi-strain swine flu outbreak that has killed at least 60 people in Mexico and infected seven people in the United States.“It’s very obvious that we are very concerned. We’ve stood up emergency operation centers,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesman Dave Daigle told AFP.

One major source of concern was that the virus included strains from different types of flu.

“This is the first time that we’ve seen an avian strain, two swine strains and a human strain,” said Daigle, adding that the virus had influenza strains from European and Asian swine, but not from North American swine. (emphasis mine)

In 11 of 12 reported human cases of swine influenza (H1N1) virus infection in the United States from December 2005 to February 2009, the CDC has documented direct or indirect contact with swine.

But the seven known cases of the previously undetected strain in the United States — five from California and two from Texas — did not have contact with pigs. The seven people infected have all recovered from the flu.

“We have determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human,” the CDC said on its website. “However, at this time, we have not determined how easily the virus spreads between people.”

Local and state health officials were interviewing not just the people who were infected but the people with whom they had contact, Daigle noted.

Officials were looking for the source of the infection, Daigle said, adding that US health officials were due to receive samples from Mexico that would be tested at a lab at the centers based in Atlanta, Georgia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified swine influenza as a potential source of a human flu pandemic. Pandemics usually occur every 20 years.

“Our experts and others are saying are not saying it’s not a matter of whether but when. And we are past due,” said Daigle.

Buckle up people.  I will keep you updated on my current research into the 1918 pandemic.

********

UPDATE: 4/24/09 Afternoon

Deadly new flu strain erupts in Mexico, U.S.

“Our concern has grown as of yesterday,” Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters in a telephone briefing.

Global health officials were not ready to declare a pandemic — a global epidemic of a new and deadly disease such as flu. “So far there has not been any change in the pandemic threat level,” Besser said.

But the human-to-human spread of the new virus raised fears of a major outbreak. Mexico’s government suspended classes for millions of children in Mexico City, where scared residents rushed out to buy face masks and kept their kids at home.

“We’re frightened because they say it’s not exactly flu, it’s another kind of virus and we’re not vaccinated,” said Angeles Rivera, 34, a government worker who fetched her son from a public kindergarten that was closing. (Just for those that care to know, I have NEVER had a flu shot and have only had the flu twice in the last 31 years.)

NO CONTAINMENT

Canada has not reported any cases of the flu and is not issuing a travel warning for Mexico, but the country’s chief public health officer David Butler-Jones said the outbreak was “very concerning” and Canada was paying close attention.

The CDC’s Besser said it was probably too late to contain the outbreak. “There are things that we see that suggest that containment is not very likely,” he said. Once it has spread beyond a limited geographical area it would be difficult to control.

But there is no reason to avoid Mexico, CDC and the WHO said. “CDC is not recommending any additional recommendations for travelers to California, Texas and Mexico,” Besser said.

Personally, I would be calling and emailing the CDC telling them to shut the border given the suspected 1,004 cases currently in Mexico.  Of course, it may just be too late.  Interested parties can reach the CDC at 1-800-232-4636 and email cdcinfo@cdc.gov.

Here is another tidbit which could be something completely different.

Possible Swine Flu Outbreak At NYC Prep School

Department Of Health Officials Testing 75 Students At St. Francis Preparatory School In Queens

New York City health officials say that about 75 students at a Queens high school have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms and testing is under way to rule out the strain of swine flu that has killed dozens in Mexico.

The Health Department’s Dr. Don Weiss said Friday that a team of agency doctors and investigators were dispatched to the private St. Francis Preparatory School the previous day after students reported fever, sore throat, cough, aches and pains. No one has been hospitalized.

The handful of sick students who remained at the school were tested for a variety of flu strains. If they’re found to have a known human strain that would rule out swine flu.

Results could take several days. In the meantime, the school says it’s postponing an evening event and sanitizing the building over the weekend.

Update: 4/25/09

Navyvet48 (resident of Kansas) has just informed me that there are two confirmed cases of this flu in Kansas and 8 of 9 suspected in the NYC prep school outbreak…waiting for confirmation on that one.

How many of you think this flu outbreak was put out to keep the tea parties from continuing to happen?

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