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Marginalia: guess you had to be there

by Cat Sat Jan 24th, 2009 at 03:04:29 PM EST

I think that there there are a very few so-called political junkies and pundits, versed in the revolutionary ethos of the New Dealers --the recovered memory of-- who will appreciate what transpired to day. In one five-hour period. You had to click to be there at the birth of Recovery.gov, a model of the new technology where a new politics of transparency and commerce converge.

Obama Promotes Energy, Health Insurance in Stimulus (Update2) | Bloomberg | Last Updated: January 24, 2009 11:39 EST

By Kim Chipman and Julianna Goldman

Jan. 24 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama, seeking to sell his stimulus package to the public, promoted plans to build up clean-energy industries, expand health-insurance coverage and boost security at U.S. ports as part of the broader effort to pull the economy out of a yearlong recession.

"If we do not act boldly and swiftly, a bad situation could become dramatically worse," Obama said today in his first weekly radio and video address as president.

The administration released a report today outlining some of Obama's priorities for the two-year recovery package. They include loan guarantees for renewable-energy investors, providing health insurance coverage to almost 8.5 million people who've lost jobs and enhancing security at 90 ports.

The president is trying to keep up momentum for his plan to boost the economy so that he can sign legislation by mid- February. House Democrats already have begun work on an $825 billion package of spending and tax cuts, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she will bring the package to the House by Jan. 28. The Senate released portions of its proposal yesterday. ...

Mmm hmm. This is the story the latest version of the story I captured 'round 10:00 a.m. EST after I clicked through the recovery.com embedded link. Turns out that the domain recovery.com was available for sale. The URL is "parked" at godaddy.com servers with the godaddy registrar. godaddy is a GOOG joint. Domain registration at godaddy.com does not necessarily mean that the domain content is "parked" in godaddy.com servers. And, yes, the collosal irony of GOOG automated AdWords placement which associates ITC hegemon (telecom, cable, ISP incumbents) to the "twin peaks" (Blueprint for a Modernized Financial Regulatory Structure) of fiscal policy and infrastucture "reinvestment" did not escape me. After all I've been following health information technology (HIT) and USDA so-called broadband venture capital for a couple years.

"Oops" 24 Jan 2009

A few hours later I said to myself, "Self, you ought to put these images in an open thread. It's good for a few laughs." So I returned to Bloomberg.com to collect the article URL and, lo, I find Update 1, version 2, wherein I noticed emendment recovery.gov. The dooda who hold recovery.com, recovery.org, and recovery.us, are on the verge of a wealth "breakthrough."

"Naked Launch" 24 Jan 2009

See an interesting discussion of the New New Dealer potential to disrupt financial capitalism at Bill Moyers' Journal. Yesterday Moyers interviewed Sirota and Frank, both Obama supporters. Moyers admits, he's shocked that the CEO of a "small cap" like Flushing Financial would say aloud TARP funds industry combination: "I'm not making this up -- Flushing Financial crowed that it was newly flush enough to use the bailout bucks to raise the ante and buy new companies"

THOMAS FRANK: You know, it's a funny thing because he -- I love Obama. I voted for him many times. He was my state senator back in Chicago. I've, you know, followed this guy's career for ages. I think he's the greatest thing in the world. I don't understand why a man that just won a sweeping victory over the other party -- you know, won a landslide in the electoral college and the other party, you know, is crawling off with its tail between its legs, you know, horribly discredited, everything they believe in ruins.

And he goes to that party and says, you know -- he wanted a majority of the Republican votes in the Senate for his stimulus package as well as, of course, the Democrats. And I read that, I was, like, well, why? You just gave them a whooping that they're not going to forget in a long time, you know? You are in charge.

Let them, you know, why go to them? Let them come to you. And I think -- you know what I think is going to happen is that he's going to discover very quickly what Bill Clinton discovered but then Bill Clinton never -- you know, that these guys are implacable, you know? That they are not going to come around, that they don't have his best interests at heart. And they don't even have the nation's best interests at heart. I'm sorry. I'm very partisan.  ...

DAVID SIROTA: What we have done is simply handed the money over with no mandate to actually change the behavior, change the structure of the banks, change the management of the banks. So my take is pretty simple.

If we're going to throw this much money -- remember, $350 billion is half the bailout. That's $1,100 for every man, woman, and child in the country. If we're going to put that kind of money into the banking system, we should get much more leverage. And I think the one other thing I think is really important, you'll notice that in the entire debate over the bailout, nobody has really tried to make the point or ask the question: is spending $700 billion, a trillion dollars, giving to the banks, is that the best way to improve our economy?

No one has said that this is a better way to lift the economy than, say, passing a universal healthcare program, doing a jobs program, a New Deal-style jobs program. That part of the debate is simply off the table. We're expected to simply assume that the ways to lift the economy is to give this money to the banks.  ...

Unfortunately, I think the actions that he has taken have been ones that are much more towards the status quo. I mean, he was the guy whose first exercise of presidential power was, right before he came into office, he threatened to veto any bill that Congress passed rejecting or limiting more bailout funds from going to Wall Street.

He has put in place into his administration people who have been either involved in the current bailout -- Tim Geithner -- or people who have really advocated for lots of the same free market fundamentalism that this bailout really epitomizes. So, you know, I'd like to hope. That's Obama's big word, "hope." The question is: Are we going to get change? We don't know.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sat Jan 24th, 2009 at 03:44:36 PM EST
Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case | Wired | 22 Jan 2009

The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants.

In a filing in San Francisco federal court, President Barack Obama adopted the same position as his predecessor. With just hours left in office, President George W. Bush late Monday asked U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to stay enforcement of an important Jan. 5 ruling admitting key evidence into the case.

Thursday's filing by the Obama administration marked the first time it officially lodged a court document in the lawsuit asking the courts to rule on the constitutionality of the Bush administration's warrantless-eavesdropping program. The former president approved the wiretaps in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

"The Government's position remains that this case should be stayed," the Obama administration wrote (.pdf) in a filing that for the first time made clear the new president was on board with the Bush administration's reasoning in this case.

H/T Marisa

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sun Jan 25th, 2009 at 09:15:51 AM EST
from Schesinger The Coming of the New Deal

Within Roosevelt's own circle, [Raymond] Moley favored what he called 'a policy of cooperative business-government planning' to combat economic instability and social insecurity. [Rex] Tugwell had a particularly comprehensive conception of government-business planning. 'Self-government in industry' by itself, Tugwell thought, would only benefit the individual industry. What was necesary was rather 'a forced balance among all industries.' ...

Jerome Frank, Tugwell's ally in the Department of Agriculture, had similar views. He felt that the key mass-production industries should be treated frankly as monopolies and made to adopt intelligent policies; and he contended that the solution of the problems of a profit economy lay in 'an intensification of coordination between all parts of the economy.' "Just as America took an important step forward whent rejected political anarchy and integrated this continent into one nation," wrote Frank, "so it needs now to press forward to a deliberate economic integration." Like Tugwell, Frank would strive for this integration through a new central agency. ...

The nation was more than ready. Many people had an anguished sense of crisis. For some, society itself seemed confronted by the specter of dissolution. "It is no wonder," said Bernard Baruch, "that the whole of industry seems to have risen en masse to find some way to check it as a matter of stark self-preservation." Alexander Sachs of the Lehman Corporation, a close friend of Hugh Johnson's, summed up the feeling when he said that the entire Western economic order was threatened "not by the destructive impact of external or natural forces, but by a spontaneous disintegration from within." This was not, Sachs said, normal economic depression; it was 'economic nihilism, which, from a national point of view, cannot be permitted to go on.' The crisis did appear, in a phrase of the day, worse than war. For a moment, all bets were off, all antagonisms adjourned; Americans, it seemed, had to work together or else they would founder together.

During the interegnum, the first one hundred days of FDR's administration, fifteen separate "landmark" bills were written by Jerome Franks's cadre of imported attys, warehoused in hotels around town, and served to Congress to enact. Which it did swiftly, knowing full well provisions of the National Industrial Recovery Act established deregulation of corporate trusts. Is it any wonder then, really, that today "lobbyists" are entrenched in D.C., dictating a 647-page omnibus bill to dole out government debt to telecom carriers that purport to defend "freedom of speech" --and price discrimination?

[Robert] Wagner, of course, had been concerned with employment planning ever since arriving in the Senate. In his group, David Podell, a trade association lawyer, proposed modifying the Antitrust Act through codes of fair competition in the interests of business self-government; Gilbert H. Montague was an expert on the law of business association; Robert M. La Follette, Jr., emphasized public works and national planning; W. Jett Lauck of the United Mine Workers spoke both for the interests of labor and for the UMW approach to economic planning; and Harold Moulton of the Brookings Institution brought an economist's judgement to the reconciliation of the various suggestions. The Dickinson group drew primarily on the ideas and resources of the Executive Branch ...

By early May [1933], there were two main drafts [of the Agricultural Adjustment Act and the "Blue Eagle" NIRA] --a [Hugh] Johnson draft, written originally on a couple of sheets of legal-size foolscap, based on a tough government licensing system; it bore the endorsement of Moley, Douglas, and Richberg; and a Dickinson draft, more legalistic, complex, and cautious, looking to industrial self-government through trade associations, and bearing the endorsement of Frank and of the Wagner group. [1958: 93 -97]

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.
by Cat on Sun Jan 25th, 2009 at 02:11:41 PM EST

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