The Long Goodbye.

Though he's been there for eight long years
And most of them spent prone,
He never left his Texas ranch
But left his brain at home. …

"How," he wondered "did we get here?"

This was at the "The buck stops here." meeting, in the middle of September 2008.

The story of how we got here is partly one of Mr. Bush's own making.

?

Bush chose to oversee them — an old prep school buddy who pronounced the companies sound as they headed toward insolvency.

Bush dismissed warnings from people inside and outside the White House that housing prices were inflated and that a foreclosure crisis was looming.

What? Me?
Worry???

"No one wanted to stop that bubble," Mr. Lindsay said. "It would have conflicted with the president's own policies."

Fox News asked Mr. Bush if he was worried about being the Herbert Hoover of the 21st century.
"No," Mr. Bush replied. "I will be known as somebody who saw a problem and put the chips on the table to prevent the economy from collapsing."

This is FOX News?

Bush's banking regulators brandished a chain saw over a 9,000-page pile of regulations. States tried to use consumer protection laws to crack down on predatory lending, the comptroller of the currency blocked the effort, asserting that states had no authority over national banks.

North Carolina's attorney general, said, "They took 50 sheriffs off the beat at a time when lending was becoming the Wild West."

The president did push rules aimed at forcing lenders to more clearly explain loan terms. But the White House shelved them in 2004, after industry-friendly members of Congress threatened to block confirmation of his new housing secretary.

In the 2004 election cycle, mortgage bankers and brokers poured nearly $847,000 into Mr. Bush's re-election campaign, more than triple their contributions in 2000.

Among the Republican Party's top 10 donors in 2004 was Roland Arnall.
He founded Ameriquest, the nation's largest lender in the subprime market.

In July 2005, the company agreed to set aside $325 million to settle allegations in 30 states that it had preyed on borrowers with hidden fees and ballooning payments.

Why $700,000,000,000.oo?

When Bush and his team met after the failure of Lehman Brothers and the emergency rescue of A.I.G., Mr. Paulson warned of economic calamity. Paulson spelled out a $700 billion plan.

"Is that enough?" Mr. Bush asked.

He said, "I don't think we can get more."

So that explains why the Detroit losers got a smaller cut -and where it had to come from.

Cheney played a leading role in economic policy, though housing was not a primary interest. Like Bush, he had a deep aversion to government intervention. Nonetheless, he backed the bailout.

Bush typically darts out of such meetings quickly. But this time, he lingered, patting people on the back and trying to soothe his downcast staff. "During times of adversity, he ucks everybody up," Mr. Paulson said.

It was not the end of the failures or government interventions; the administration stepped in to rescue Citigroup and the Detroit automakers.

With 31 days left in office, he will leave it to historians to analyze "what went right and what went wrong,. This isn't one of the presidencies where you ride off into the sunset waving goodbye."

That would depend how you define waving.

5000 words; NY Times

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18 thoughts on “The Long Goodbye.

  1. Originally posted by public enemy numbed half wit:

    "I will be known as somebody who saw a problem and put the chips on the table to prevent the economy from collapsing."

    In all fairness to Herbert Hoover -and despite a tag that the article seems weighted in favour of the man, with this glowing account:There is very little similarity between both men. Hoover was an orphan at 9, self educated and made a partner in his business which he started at the litteral bottom of.He was inventive, brave and capable and highly respected in both sides of the house.I don't rate politicians highly and powerful ones hardly at all. But Hoover was a keeper by the above linked account.Someone aught to do a comparison chart. It would be a good school project for a US kid. So any budding Lisa Simpsons out there… let's see some.

  2. WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush's foreign policies may be unpopular in the Middle East, but Arab leaders showered his top diplomat with jewelry worth far more than a quarter of a million dollars last year. While Bush himself didn't fare nearly as well, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice raked in at least $316,000 in gem-encrusted baubles from the kings of Jordan and Saudi Arabia alone, making her one of top recipients among U.S. officials of gifts from foreign heads of state and government and their aides in 2007.In January, Jordan's King Abdullah II gave Rice an emerald and diamond necklace, ring, bracelet and earrings estimated to be worth $147,000, according to the State Department's annual inventory of such items released Monday just in time for Christmas.The king and his wife, Queen Rania, also gave Rice a less expensive necklace and earrings along with a jewelry box valued at $4,630, the document shows.Not to be outdone, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia presented Rice with a ruby and diamond necklace with matching earrings, bracelet and ring worth $165,000 in July. The inventory also includes a $170,000 flower petal motif necklace the Saudi monarch gave to Rice in 2005, which the department says was not previously disclosed.From the same Arab leaders, Bush received just over $100,000 in gifts in 2007, the list shows.Other gifts include an $85,000 sapphire and diamond jewelry set and $10,000 piece of artwork depicting a desert scene of bedouins, camels and a tent made of gold given to first lady Laura Bush by Saudi King Abdullah.Unfortunately for the Bushes, Rice and other recipients, they won't be able to enjoy the gifts as they have been turned over to the General Services Administration and government archives in accordance with federal law, which bars officials from accepting personal presents in almost all circumstances.The inventory, prepared by State Department's Office of Protocol, catalogues all gifts given to top administration officials. The presents range from the modest — a $6 assortment of nuts and dried fruit from the Dalai Lama to Mrs. Bush — to the extravagant — Rice's jewelry — and the odd — a $570 Brush Cutter with "comfort grip handles" from the Swedish prime minister to the president, presumably for use at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.Bush got a $150 bronze platypus paperweight from an Australian official. The prime minister of Singapore gave Bush $450 worth of fitness equipment, including a "uSurf Wave Action Exerciser" and an "iGallop Core and Abs Exerciser," according to the documents, which offer a window into the tastes of foreign leaders.The wife of Japan's former prime minister Shinzo Abe appears to be an animal lover, having given Laura Bush two red, white and blue hand-embroidered pillows with American flag designs and the names and images of first dogs Barney and Miss Beazley worth $100 last year.She also gave the first lady a $700 porcelain Limoges box with the two pets painted on it and a stuffed black fleece Scotty toy valued at $100, the inventory shows.Some gifts reflect the recipient's specialty. Gen. Peter Pace, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff received two machine guns — one mounted — worth $1,300 from his Colombian and Russian counterparts, while Defense Secretary Robert Gates got a $3,200 decorative Arab knife from a Bahraini official and a steel dagger valued at $345 from the Jordanian king.The source of gifts to U.S. intelligence officials is classified, but CIA chief Michael Hayden took in $8,000 in gifts, including a sword, fountain pen and silk rug, in 2007.http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/latestnews/index.php?id=12894Anyone ever see Dumbya meet with the parents of a soldier he sent to death?Last I heard he shunned all of them that wanted to meet him.

  3. They haven't learned a fricking thing have they:Originally posted by Dem candidate:

    "clearly willing to say anything and make anything up to try to win a campaign."

    A campaign to retake his seat has shown up another lackadaisical Greedy Oil Pirate for what he is:

    "bold solution to fix our economy is to blame someone else and talk about a guy who makes movies."

    This is local politics writ small. Apparently idiot incumbent of the South-Central Michigan Congressional District sees no reason to advocate a reason to vote for him. Reasonably consecutive executive thinking that.I wonder where he gets it from?So instead he has come up with a desperate ploy: Use BIG political attitude with attitude on his opponent.Only it don't wirk, do it?

  4. I have just had another epiphany:Cost of a coach ticket from Detroit to DC? ~$300Cost of a first class ticket from Detroit to DC? ~$900Cost of a private jet flying from Detroit to DC? ~$20,000Applying Occam's Razor on the same scale:The spendthrifts want $30,000,000,000.Not a more reasonable $1,350,000,000.Actually only needing a mere $22,500.Unless there is something wrong with my maths. (Huh!)Something wrong there.30 billion is to 20 thousand as20 thousand is to 300.Forget the 900. You want to find out what 300 is to 20 thousandWhich is: 66.7 dollars to 1So for every 66.7 dollars in 30 billion dollars you only give the buggers:$449,775,110.How many cars is that?

  5. Never underestimate the power of stupid:

    WASHINGTON — The two most influential women in President George W. Bush's White House — first lady Laura Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice — are strongly defending the president's legacy against critics who are calling his administration one of the worst in history."I know it's not, and so I don't really feel like I need to respond to people that view it that way," Mrs. Bush said in an interview that aired Sunday. "I think history will judge and we'll see later."Rice took a similar view in a separate interview, saying that claims that the Bush administration has been one of the worst ever are "ridiculous.""I think generations pretty soon are going to start to thank this president for what he's done. This generation will," Rice said."Because I think the fact that we have really made foreign assistance not just an issue of giving humanitarian aid or giving money to poor people, but really insisting on good governance and fighting corruption," she said."I think the fact that this president has laid the groundwork for a Palestinian state, being the first president, as a matter of policy, to say that there should be one, and now, I think, laying the foundation that's going to lead to that Palestinian state — I can go on and on."

    Just enough time left to genocidally end the palastinian problem for their own good I take it?How long, oh lord?(For fear you are as ignorant as the keepers of the most stupid ruler in Christendom; the Palastinian state was at peace ever since the Saracens got it back from the Christians butchering them hundreds of years ago.)

  6. The future president of the USA is waiting to take over during one of that nation's darkest periods in its history since the US Civil War.The last vestiges of it's automobile industry is hanging by a thread and the Israelis are slaughtering men women and children in what remains of the once beautiful orange groves, of the once peaceful Palestine, with the latest weapons of mass destruction the US has invented.The world banks are stuck in limbo over their financial crises and the committees formed in the US governemet are coming to realise the extent of torture that took place in the USA over the last 5 to 8 years.Guess who is on holiday?You wouldn't Christmas Eve it would you?You would not Christmas Eve it!I mean, a Charlie Chaplin film, yes -maybe. Maybe even any bad 1930's Hollywood melodrama. Yes; not unlikely.Chimpland.I'm going to miss it.I'm going to miss it terribly.

  7. I've underestimated young Georgie. It looks like he's already up to his greed neck in his next break under scam:

    "It is an enormous market," said Mr. Seidman, who has already joined two such potential money-making efforts and is evaluating proposals to participate in a third. "I am enjoying this."David B. Iannarone, a former R.T.C. lawyer who is managing partner at a firm that handles defaulted commercial real estate loans, said, "The people who worked on this back in the early 1990s are back in vogue."The agency was set up by the government in 1989 to sell off what ultimately grew to $450 billion worth of real estate and other assets assembled from 747 collapsed savings banks.What is obvious to former R.T.C. officials is that, like the last go around, a great deal of money will be made by a select group of investors and business operators, particularly those with government contacts. The former government officials said in interviews that much of what is motivating them is a desire to help the nation recover from this latest stumble. But they acknowledge they intend to be among the winners who emerge."Fortunes will be made here, no doubt about it," said Gary J. Silversmith, one of more than a dozen former R.T.C. officials interviewed who now are involved in enterprises seeking to profit from bank bailouts.

    Now ask yourself what a lack luster loser would be doing plotting at home in his hideaway? The man is being paid to fail by his managers.Nobody could possibly make a living doing what he does unless there is a scam involved. And he is so successful at it they made him king.

  8. Lord of Misrule:Originally posted by New York Times:

    Kept afloat by billions of dollars in American and other foreign aid, the government of Afghanistan is shot through with corruption and graft.From the lowliest traffic policeman to the family of President Hamid Karzai himself, the state built on the ruins of the Taliban government seven years ago now often seems to exist for little more than the enrichment of those who run it.A raft of investigations has concluded that people at the highest levels of the Karzai administration, including President Karzai's own brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, are cooperating in the country's opium trade, now the world's largest.In the streets and government offices, hardly a public transaction seems to unfold here that does not carry with it the requirement of a bribe, a gift, or, in case you are a beggar, "harchee" — whatever you have in your pocket.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/02/world/asia/02kabul.html?_r=1&hpI wonder how much it would cost the Dixie Chicks to get airtime there.

  9. Originally posted by from the BBC:

    Australia has formally rejected a US request to take in detainees from the Guantanamo Bay military jail.Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the decision was based on "stringent national security and immigration considerations."It is the second time in a year that Australia has rejected such a request.Washington has expressed concern that some inmates released from Guantanamo could be tortured or persecuted if they were returned to their home countries.

    Trying to sweep some more dirt under the carpet?I wonder if any witnesses to the early disasters that took place in the Iraq conflict survived.IIRC they piled a shed load into steel containers and left them in the sun for a few days. When they got out they killed a CIA torturer.I dare say they died of natural causes in Syria or somewhere salubrious.A bit like watching George Dumbass come up with a lame joke as he watches someone knock the teeth out of a shoe thrower.

  10. Anonymous writes:

    Originally posted by more from the BBC:

    Opposition lawmakers in South Korea have scuffled with security guards who tried to end their blockade of parliament in the capital Seoul.Several MPs from the Democratic Party were injured in the brawl.The MPs are protesting against plans by the ruling Grand National Party to push through more than 80 bills, including a major trade agreement with the US.

    When he was talking to god; did the subject of storing things ever come up, I wonder?+++++++What's this about:Please type this security code : d85f40

  11. Anonymous writes:

    Originally posted by more from the BBC:

    Opposition lawmakers in South Korea have scuffled with security guards who tried to end their blockade of parliament in the capital Seoul.Several MPs from the Democratic Party were injured in the brawl.The MPs are protesting against plans by the ruling Grand National Party to push through more than 80 bills, including a major trade agreement with the US.

    When he was talking to god; did the subject of storing things ever come up, I wonder?+++++++What's this about:Please type this security code : d85f40

  12. Can't say I am impressed with Opera logging me out every couple of days and nothing in the Wand to help me bacck in.I suppose I aught to be glad that I don't live under the tender auspices of Dumbass Bush:[quote the BBC's "Own Correspondent"]Continuing poverty means many children are forced to work Walking through central Kabul one day, I felt a little tug at the back of my thick winter coat.I turned and looked down and saw a little girl with a serious face asking for money. She was about five years old, dressed in old unwashed clothes and wearing plastic flip-flops.I gave her the equivalent of $1 (£0.70).Her face lit up with a luminous smile of delight."Tashakur, tashakur [thank you, thank you]," she said and skipped off back down the street to her mother, turning several times and waving and shouting tashakur again and again.I met more children in Paghman, a village in the Kabul suburbs.They were young boys rushing about in a small park, playing hide and seek, crouching down behind concrete benches or hiding behind trees and letting out yelps of pleasure when they narrowly avoided being caught.Four of them spotted me and came over and asked me to take a photograph. I showed them the image on the screen on my camera. "Taskakur, tashakur."Later, as the sun sank behind a mountain covered with fresh snow, the same boys were shivering.Thousands of foreign troops have been in Afghanistan since the Americans drove the Taleban away after the 11 September attacks on the US in 2001.Truck drivers working for the US military face frequent dangers"What have they done for us all this time?" Hassan, 18, demanded of me. "I can't even get a job." And then his eyes filled with tears of frustration and anger."Why does it have to be like this?" he asked. "Why is my country so miserable?"On the road into Kabul from Jalalabad – on the dangerous route from Pakistan and the Khyber Pass – I sat on a woven plastic mat drinking green tea from glass cups with a group of lorry drivers.They carry containers with supplies and equipment for the US military.They told me they had been shot at often. One of their friends had been shot dead. But despite working for the Americans, these drivers have no protection, no military escort.They laughed and joked as they talked."How do you manage to be so cheerful?" I asked."We are happy because we made it, because we're still alive," they replied.The international forces say they have significantly improved life for most Afghans since 2001. There are dozens of new roads, for example. And, according to the British Government, millions of children have been enrolled in new or reconstructed schools. Since the fall of the Taleban about 35% of girls now go to school.But many of the main avenues in and out of Kabul – and some of the wide streets near the city centre – are pitted with potholes and turn into rough tracks with clouds of dust billowing into homes and shops whenever a vehicle passes.And those schools? Children enrolled in school is not the same as children turning up for class. Numerous schools are padlocked and empty. Many parents are afraid to let their children – especially their daughters – go to school amid reports of schoolgirls being attacked by the Taleban, with acid thrown in their faces.And aid workers in Afghanistan say many of the new schools do not have one very basic requirement – teachers.A British MP and former junior foreign minister with responsibility for Afghanistan, Kim Howells, recently complained that the country is "corrupt from top to bottom", and suggested the British Government should stop treating President Karzai's government with kid gloves.A Kabul doctor, Abdel Hakim, told me Kim Howells was right. I asked him if he had encountered corruption himself."Oh yes," he replied, "simply to get a job in a hospital or at the health ministry, I have to pay a shirini, a sweetener."And everyone I met – everyone – said they would not vote for Hamid Karzai at the elections later this year.Less than two hours away from Kabul by plane, I had a stopover in Dubai. Bright lights, dozens of high-rise office blocks, smart beach hotels and impressive eight-lane motorways streaming with opulent cars. But then, unexpectedly, I was back in the Afghan capital.One of the films showing at the Dubai International Film Festival was Kabuli Kid, made on location in Kabul. It is a drama, but it is so authentic it feels like a documentary.It is about a taxi driver who stops for a woman carrying a baby. She pays up front. She gets out, abandoning her sleeping child on the back seat.The driver does not notice until his next fare asks him: "Is this your son?"It is a harrowing and authentic illustration of life in a nation where many babies still do not survive for long. Despite so-called international assistance for more than seven years now, the number of children who die under the age of five is still one of the highest in the world.And many of those who survive walk the streets of Kabul tugging at coats begging for money.[/quote]

  13. And finally (for now.)Originally posted by BBC:

    The huge American carmaker Chrysler has received a $4bn (£2.75bn) emergency loan from the US government in a deal to help it stave off collapse.It is part of a $13.4bn rescue package approved last month by Washington for Chrysler and its rival General Motors.Both companies said they needed the money to pay suppliers at a time of plunging sales and credit concerns.They were promised bail-out funds on condition that they restructure and prove their viability by 31 March."This initial loan will allow the company to continue an orderly restructuring," Chrysler Chief Executive Bob Nardelli said in a statement.GM, America's largest car manufacturer, received its first $4bn loan earlier this week and is to receive an additional $5.4bn later this month.The US Treasury has also provided a rescue package for GMAC – General Motors' troubled car loan arm, which is co-owned by Chrysler's owner, Cerberus Capital Management.Correspondents say that when the major US carmakers release results next week, they are expected to show that sales for December fell to the lowest full-year level since 1992.

    The knock on effect has only been discussed as far as susequent use of the money paid to car workers. The auto industry is the backbone of huge hinterlands of Detroit.But all over the USA people with cars and no money are selling them at cutthroat prices. So rather than buy new, most potential customers are buying second hand.So every car lot is having hard times. The big manufactureres aught to shut down completely for 6 months to create a deficit of new cars. And maybe use that time to reflect on the sort of models they intend to produce in the future.The trouble with that idea is that innovative designers are very much a second fiddle to the bean counters. And when bean counters run things, everyone from miner to farmer to everyone else, suffers.There is no way Obamma is going to put anything together that will show results in 4 years. By then everyone will have forgotten all about Diebold's elections -and maybe even the chimpanzee.There is no chance the USA can stop car imports is there?

  14. Whilst thinking about the devastation there must be in the area hit by all these quakes at PNG (or what was PNG?) it occurred to me to plug the words "Katrina" and "Superdome" in to a search engine.Read between the lines here:Originally posted by Wikipedia:

    Effect of Hurricane KatrinaMain article: Effect of Hurricane Katrina on the Louisiana SuperdomeThe Superdome was used as a "shelter of last resort" for those in New Orleans unable to evacuate from Hurricane Katrina when it struck in late August 2005. A few days later the dome was closed until September 25, 2006. During the ordeal, the stadium housed about 30,000 people.Reopening after Katrina Contractors repair the roof to prepare for the reopening of the Superdome. (July 10, 2006)The Superdome cost $193 million to repair and refurbish. To repair the Superdome, FEMA put up $115 million, the state spent $13 million, the Louisiana Stadium & Expedition District refinanced a bond package to secure $41 million and the NFL contributed $15 million.

    I was thinking as I looked it up: "Why didn't ANYONE – not just the people who were supposed to… but why didn't anyone go in there and get them out?"And thinkng while it loaded the result: "If I was building a largish stadium, I imagine I'd have several good roads to it. I'd probably have to have them BY LAW."Never mind the "Yo doin a heckuva job killin brownies" crack. It cost 193 million to repair and refurbish. Is that to stock it with storm proof sheltering for next time?Or did the agency involved suddenly find itself flush with unused dollars?Anyone know WTF they were doing?

  15. Considering New Orleans was the first city to be totally wiped out of the United States of America since the Indians were eradicated, it is surprising how little information there is about the Superdome debacle in the encyclpoedia that anyone can write:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effect_of_Hurricane_Katrina_on_the_Louisiana_SuperdomeIt doesn't even specify how long people were held captive there. Never mind any care and follow ups about them…How very odd.I imagine as much is known about the San Fransisco Earthquake and fire as about Katrina. How can that be?

  16. So I did a bit more searching and found that not only is Mayor Nagin still Mayor Nagin but Dumbass blames him:Originally posted by Winki:

    On September 4, President Bush responded to Nagin's criticism by focusing on the failings of state and local authorities, stating that the disaster's magnitude "created tremendous problems that have strained state and local capabilities. The result is that many of our citizens simply are not getting the help they need, especially in New Orleans. And that is unacceptable."

    Whilst presidunces can get away with murder, he did after all get the Iraq war going in a matter of days -Yes I know it required a considerable lack of planning…It can't take all that much effort to call in some very powerful forces can it? I can just see him gawping "My Pet Goat" style at the water coming in.One supposes a country the size of the United States should comfortably cope with the logistics of looking after the needs of a couple of divisions of men for a week.I mean how did they get a stadium's worth of people to Iraq in a few days and feed and shelter them? Nothing insurmountable there.And with the needs of the New Orleans crowd they didn't even need to be supplied with guns and drugs apparently.Am I being silly? Here are the components of the US Army:Squad – 9 to 10 soldiers commanded by a sergeant.Platoon – 16 to 44 soldiers led by a lieutenant.Company – 62 to 190 soldiers commanded by a captain.Battalion – 300 to 1,000 soldiers normally commanded by a lieutenant colonel with a command sergeant major as principle NCO assistant.Brigade – 3,000 to 5,000 solders. Normally commanded by a colonel with a command sergeant major as senior NCO, brigades are employed on independent or semi-independent operations.Division – 10,000 to 15,000 soldiers commanded by a major general and can conduct sustained battles and engagements.Corps – 20,000 to 45,000 soldiers. Commanded by a lieutenant general the corps provides the framework for multi-national operations. Army – 50,000 + soliders. Typically commanded by a lieutenant general.A theater army is the ranking Army component in a unified command, and it has operational and support responsibilities that are assigned by the theater commander in chief. The commander in chief and theater army commander may order formation of a field army to direct operations of assigned corps and divisions.An army group plans and directs campaigns in a theater, and is composed of two or more field armies under a designated commander. Army groups have not been employed by the Army since World War II.http://usmilitary.about.com/od/army/l/blchancommand.htm*******I would have said that a United States President would have to well and truly divorced from reality if all the help he can generated for a devastated major US city is a couple of camera ops.Why wasn't he asked to resign?

  17. Originally posted by New York Times:

    Army Letter to Survivors Was Addressed to 'John Doe'The US Army sent 7,000 letters headed: "Dear John Doe" to family members of soldiers who have died in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.The letters were supposed to have carried personal greetings, the fault of a subcontract printers. It did not check the letters before they were mailed.The Army said that its chief of staff, would be sending 7,000 personally addressed letters of apology."Whether it's a computer error or a human error does not matter."

    I'm not sure how it could be a computer error without it being an human error. But then it hardly behooves a military planner to leave no room for doubt -does it?http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/us/08military.htmlHe stood upon the White House steps, whence all but he had goneWith no banana skins in sightWhere had his slippers gone?He looked about and saw a crowd had come to hurl abuse"Why, thank you friends" the fool pretends "for all your good-will shoes."

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