Diary

MI Morning Update 2-18-09

622 Days until Election Day

February 18, 2009

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“You should not get caught up on a word [nationalisation]. I would argue that we cannot be ideologically a little bit pregnant. It doesn’t matter what you call it, but we can’t keep on funding these zombie banks [without gaining public control]. That’s what the Japanese did.”
U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) in a Financial Times interview. Wow!

MORNING UPDATE:

COMMENTARY & ARTICLES COMING TO AN END…this Friday will be my last “Articles of Interest” and collection of top political clips. I am in the process of creating my own private webpage where I will continue to post regular commentaries and share articles of interest…but not daily and no compilation of clips. I hope to have an address by tomorrow…still called “That’s Saul, Folks!”.

STIMULUS PACKAGE…IS IT A SCAM?…As Newt said…With less than 48 hours notice, they passed a 1,073 – page collection of special interest spending and dared to call it a "plan." With interest, the $787 billion bill will cost us, our children and their children about $1.14 trillion. That works out to about $4 trillion. That works out to about $30,000 in new debt for each American household. Worse, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) asked the Congressional Budget Office to estimate the cost of permanently extending the twenty most popular provisions in the bill. The cost? $3.27 trillion. Are you worried yet???

OBAMA BRINGING THE TROOPS HOME…According to POLITICO, President Barack Obama has approved sending roughly 12,000 troops to Afghanistan, 8,000 Marines and a 4,000-soldier Army brigade, plus support troops.

TWITTER…anyone can follow my daily activities and impressions throughout the day by joining and following along. Twitter.com is another social networking site most easily described as a type of instant messaging – but with tons of people. You can follow the ‘tweets’ of others – and they follow you and what you write. The catch is that your posts are limited to 140 characters. But for many, that’s enough to say the important things. To follow me click here. To follow the Michigan Republicans, click here.

FACEBOOK...is a great "social networking" tool that many Republicans are using. This is particularly popular with College Republicans, TeenAge Republicans and Young Republicans. If you would like to become a "friend" join me here. To join the Michigan Republicans, you can join here.

MRP STATE CONVENTION…Just a quick note to let you know that the Michigan Republican’s website has been updated with State Convention information.   For your reference in directing potential delegates to the site, the address is: http://www.migop.org/event.asp.

CPAC 2009 Timeless Principles, New Challenges…Register today for the largest gathering of conservative grassroots activists in the country! The American Conservative Union Foundation is pleased to invite you to participate in the nation’s largest annual gathering of conservatives. The 36th Annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) will be held on February 26-28, 2009.

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Check…out…our…online Articles of Interest………News…you…can…use………

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REST OF THE STORY:

No Further Commentary Today

TODAY’S TOP STORIES

The following stories and more are available at my Articles of Interest online.



Automakers reveal changes they depend on to survive

BY MARK PHELAN

When General Motors Corp. Chairman Rick Wagoner said Saturn and Saab must either be sold or go out of business as GM focuses on its key brands to survive, he embraced the reality of a drastically smaller U.S. car market Tuesday with a move GM’s critics have advocated for years.
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As GM huddles to protect its vital organs — Chevrolet, Cadillac, Buick and GMC — Chrysler LLC promised a profusion of new models in its viability plan to the Treasury Department. While GM protects resources for its core brands, however, Chrysler’s strategy depends on its proposed alliance with Fiat SpA.

For too long, GM’s brands fought each other for corporate resources more fiercely than they battled Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. Saturn is a casualty of that unnecessary fight.

Wall Street Pans Obama’s Plans

Charles Gasparino

ON the day that President Obama signed the much- hyped "stimulus bill" into law – one of the largest spending plans in US history, billed as nothing short of a savior for a US economy heading toward a possible Great Depression – the stock market reacted loudly and resolutely, falling nearly 300 points.

No one can deny that Obama’s been dealt a crummy hand – he took office with a weak economy and a banking system in shambles. And the markets may ultimately rebound if the "stimulus" actually does a little stimulating.

But the consensus building on Wall Street is that this president doesn’t look to be up to the job of fixing the economy.


Stocks Hate Obeynomics

The results are clear. The market hates Obama’s stimulus package and just about everything related to Obamanomics. Or shall we call it Obeynomics? (I’ll explain in a minute.) Stocks are down 27% since the Nov. 4th election. Stocks have plummeted more than 40% since Obama sewed up the Democratic nomination in June.

Capital is on strike. And why wouldn’t it be? Private capital has no idea what future holds in terms of taxes, regulation, trade, deficits and the value of the dollar. None whatsoever.

Capital has figured out one thing, however. The politicians in Washington most hostile to private investment are running the show. Example: David Obey, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. From Wikipedia: “Obey is one of the most liberal members of the House; he considers himself a progressive in the tradition of Robert La Follette.”


GM needs up to $30 billion in aid to avoid failure

By Kevin Krolicki

DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Corp (NYSE:GM – News) said on Tuesday it could need a total of up to $30 billion in U.S. government aid — more than doubling its original aid — and would run out of cash as soon as March without new federal funding.

The request for additional aid from the top U.S. automaker came in a restructuring plan GM submitted to U.S. officials on Tuesday.

The GM restructuring plan of more than 100 pages was posted on the U.S. Treasury Web site.

The request came on the same afternoon that No. 3 U.S. automaker Chrysler requested an additional $5 billion from the current $4 billion in U.S. government aid, saying it expected the brutal downturn in the U.S. market to run another three years.


Old Ways Of Washington Persist Despite Administration’s Ambitious Ethics Agenda

by Eliza Newlin Carney

The Obama administration has fielded some tough ethics questions lately, and Congress may be next.

House Democrats have done their best to tamp down smoldering controversies involving Ways and Means Chairman Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., and John Murtha, D-Pa, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense. But the questions dogging the two are not likely to go away soon, particularly given recent Republican efforts to revive the ethics wars.

Democratic leaders beat back a GOP bid to remove Rangel from his Ways and Means chairmanship last week as the chamber voted 242-157 to scuttle a resolution by Republican Conference Secretary John Carter, R-Texas. Carter had called on Rangel to step down as chairman until the House Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics) Committee concludes its probe into his activities. (Sixteen House members, including those investigating Rangel, voted present.)


VEBA not resolved in tentative UAW deals

BY BRENT SNAVELY • FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER

Although the UAW said Tuesday that it has reached tentative deals with each of the Detroit Three to modify its 2007 labor contract, the union acknowledged that the largest, and most contentious, issue remains.

The tentative deal does not include an agreement on how to fund a critical health care trust — commonly called a VEBA — and no deal will be final until that gets worked out.

The UAW announced its tentative deals with the automakers just as General Motors Corp. and Chrysler LLC filed viability plans with the U.S. Treasury Department on Tuesday.


Obama OKs about 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan

By ANNE GEARAN

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama has approved adding about 17,000 U.S. troops for the flagging war in Afghanistan, administration, defense and congressional officials said Tuesday.

The Obama administration is expected to announce on Tuesday that it will send one additional Army brigade and an unknown number of Marines to Afghanistan this spring and summer. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of the official announcement.

About 8,000 Marines are expected to go in first, followed by about 9,000 Army troops.

The new forces represent the first installment on a larger influx of U.S. forces widely expected this year. Obama’s decision would get several thousand troops in place in time for the increase in fighting that usually comes with warmer weather and ahead of national elections in August.


Republicans Prep the Portals of Online Organizing

By Emily Cadei, CQ Staff

Republicans already are gearing up to regain lost ground from the 2008 elections, with a plan to level the digital playing field and fight the Democrats precinct by precinct and byte by byte.

That was the overarching theme Feb. 6 at a hastily organized “Tech Summit” held by the Republican National Committee, which brought party activists and strategists together to present ideas on how the RNC can better use available technologies to engage voters.

Under new Chairman Michael Steele, the GOP has embraced new technology as part of its rehabilitation efforts in the wake of the disastrous 2008 election.

Close to 300 people took part, with hundreds more joining online. The summit featured a steady stream of speakers, each sharing their thoughts on everything from online marketing to political text messaging to social networking.

Iran minister seeks missiles on Russia trip

MOSCOW: Iran’s defence minister will seek to convince Russia on Tuesday to deliver air defence systems which could help repel possible Israel and U.S. air strikes, Russian media reported.

Iran has long been interested in buying Russian S-300 air defence systems from Russia but Israel has sought to convince Moscow not to deliver the systems.

Iranian Defence Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar met Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov in Moscow on Tuesday.

"I hope this visit will lead to the further development of relations between our two countries in all areas, including in the sphere of military cooperation," Najjar was quoted as saying by the Iranian embassy in Moscow.