Posts Tagged United States
Dreadmonger Washington Bureau – Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), speaking on behalf of their fellow members on the Congressional “super committee” today sent a terse message to the White House:
Ms. Murray and Mr. Hensarling, co-chairs of the Congressional “super committee”, met with reporters today on the steps of the Capitol building .
“The message was sent,” said Senator Murray, “in order to emphasize that the committee is finding it difficult to come up with the $1.2 trillion in cost reductions mandated by the president‘s deficit reduction program. In mid-September, the president raised the target to $3 trillion. Now he has asked us to come up with another $447 billion to pay for the American Jobs Act. This is like asking Governor Christie one more time if he wants to run for president. At some point, you’ve just got to back off, you know?”
“The president said in his joint speech to Congress,” added Congressman Hensarling, “and I am quoting here, ‘this bill is paid for’. Then, he turns around, hands it to us, and says, ‘here, you guys figure out how to pay for it’. That’s not exactly fair. Our plate’s already pretty full. I mean, come on, $1.2 trillion is not exactly chump change. ”
The “super committee” is reeling, shell-shocked from the recent rounds of increased demands coming from the White House for more and more spending cuts.
“We’re feeling a bit dumped on,” said Senator Murray. “It just seems as if every day, we get a new demand for more cuts. I’m not really sure what our objective is now. But, I do know that, whatever it is, we need to get it done by Nov. 23rd and the clock is ticking. I wake up with panic attacks, hyperventilating in the middle of the night. A trillion dollars is hard for me to relate to. This is a whole lot of money. Seriously.”
“If we can just get a break in these ever-increasing demands, we might be able to actually get something accomplished,” said Congressman Hensarling. “I keep waiting for somebody to make a wish for a ‘gazillion dollars’. It’s getting kind of ridiculous.”
The “super committee” will provide recommendations to Congress for, well, let’s just say for a boatload of spending cuts by November 23.
Dreadmonger will provide updates as they become available.
- Congress super committee members receive donations from big industry and unions (guardian.co.uk)
- US Deficit Panel Chiefs Strike Conciliatory Theme In Meeting (forexlive.com)
- Obama Deficit Plan Could Derail Hopes for Super Committee Success (usnews.com)
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced today that he and his Democratic colleagues in the Senate would put forth a new proposal to pay for President Obama’s American Jobs Act bill. Their latest proposal, which will be released in its entirety by week’s end, places a greater tax burden on people whose income is more than $1 million a year. The version of the proposal outlined by Leader Reid today would have these wealthy individuals forfeit all of their assets and income and join the Occupy Wall Street protesters for a period of at least six months.
“We think that this accomplishes two of our main goals,” said Leader Reid. “First, it provides a mechanism for these millionaires to finally pay their fair share and second, it gives them the opportunity to live on the street amongst those individuals in our society who are suffering as a direct result of their financial misdeeds. We see this as fiscally prudent. And, it provides an element of poetic justice.”
Top Senate aides said that, under the proposal, millionaires would be required to actually live on Wall Street, make signs, and participate in the daily demonstrations conducted by the Occupy Wall Street protestors for a minimum of six months.
Aides went on to say that this was just one of several proposals that Democrats were pursuing to pay for the president’s proposed bill. By looking for alternatives, the Democrats are clearly signalling that they do not have the support of their caucus to pass the bill as it is currently written.
President Obama has asked the congressional super committee to identify another $ half trillion in savings to pay for the jobs measure. This is beyond the $1.2 trillion in spending reductions the committee is chartered with finding in support of the deficit reduction plan.
To pay for the proposal, the White House has recommended limiting itemized deductions for individuals making more than $200,000 a year along with closing certain tax loop-holes and implementing the “Buffett Rule” for an increase in capital gains tax rates.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will introduce his “millionaire’s plan” as an alternative aimed at addressing concerns raised by his caucus with the president’s proposal.
“We believe our “millionaire’s plan” offers financial benefits along with a generous helping of American justice. We think this will be popular with the American people and we believe that these guys will fit right in down there at Occupy Wall Street.”
Dreadmonger will provide updates to the story as they become available.
- Protest time: Support the Occupy Wall Street movement and a new American Spring (thehill.com)
- The most powerful Occupy Wall Street twitpics (cbsnews.com)
- Kristof: ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Needs Clear Goals (littlegreenfootballs.com)
Mr. Holder, reading from a prepared statement, spoke with reporters tonight at the scene of the arrests in Washington, D.C.
“This ongoing operation, spear-headed by Justice along with logistics support from the Office of Homeland Security and technical support from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, was both swift and precise in execution. The joint task-team identified and arrested the three individuals who are believed to be responsible for the abuse of refreshment budgets that was uncovered earlier this week by our internal audit team.”
“The investigation had been underway for quite some time,” continued Mr. Holder, “and, as the news media broke the story this week, we felt it prudent to move forward with the arrests of the individuals previously identified in the case.”
Arrested tonight were Justice Department interns Bunny Whidmore (age 21), Trisha Maxwell (age 22), and Jennifer Bittly (age 21). The three interns were taken into custody without incident by Federal Marshalls at the apartment they share in Washington, D.C.
Mr. Holder went on to say, “We at DoJ want the American people to know that the rules are the same for every American. Even in a case like this one, where suspects Whidmore, Maxwell, and Bittley are affiliated with our Department, we will not hesitate to bring wrong-doers to swift justice.”
A Department of Justice inspector general audit released earlier this week reported that just under $500,000 was spent at ten conference events between Oct. 2007 and Sept. 2009. Those events served the legendary $16 muffins as well as snacks of Cracker Jacks, popcorn and candy bars that cost $32 per person.
“Let it be clearly known by the American people,” said Mr. Holder, “that this Department of Justice is on the job and will continue to diligently monitor conference snack abuse even when it is internal to the Department. There are no special rules when it comes to justice.”
Dreadmonger reporters requested comment from the three suspects as they were being led away in handcuffs by Federal Marshalls. We received one comment from intern Bunny Whidmore.
“Can you call my Mom for me? The conference they’re talking about happened when I was 17 years old – I was still in high school – I didn’t even work here then.”
Dreadmonger will provide updates to the story as they occur.
- Great news: Audit reveals Justice Department paid $16 for muffins (hotair.com)
- Justice Department’s $16 Muffins and $32 Cracker Jacks (outsidethebeltway.com)
- $16 Government Muffins? Actually, No (abcnews.go.com)
Luther Melly, Assistant to the Vice-Undersecretary of the Department of the Interior, said today that the Department has created contingency plans to ‘repurpose’ the newly completed Boeing aircraft manufacturing facility in Charleston, SC. The plans, which would be initiated if and when the National Labor Relations Board is successful in their lawsuit against Boeing, would create a new, dual-purpose use for the facility.
“The proposal has the facility segmented into two parts,” said Assistant Melly. “One of these sections will become the site for a Permanent Job Fair, to be operated by employees from the Department of Labor. The second section will become a Native American Gaming Center, owned and operated by the Catawba Indian Nation.”
Dreadmonger reporters from our Southern Bureau, went to Charleston today to seek comment from Boeing, from the Catawba Indian Nation, and from local officials. All declined our repeated requests for comment.
Our reporters were able to speak with a group of protestors picketing in front of the Boeing plant in Charleston. The group, which carried signs bearing the acronym, “RNTTT”, spoke briefly with Dreadmonger reporters.
“We represent the RNTTT and we are here to demand our rights to open and operate a casino right here in this building,” said a spokesman from the group who would only identify himself as ‘Red”.
The RNTTT, or Red Neck Trailer Trash Tribe, is a group of self-appointed “Native Americans” who are petitioning the US Government for the right to open their casino on the Boeing site.
“Our people,” continued Red, ” have been in these parts for more than 300 years. So, we think that qualifies us as ‘Native Americans’ too. We have petitioned the Department of the Interior to officially designate our people as a ‘Native American tribe’: The Red Neck Trailer Trash Tribe.”
“Upon recognition of our status as a Native American people by the US Government, we further propose to open the ‘Country Boy Casino’ right here on this site. As Hank Jr. says, ‘Country boy will survive!’ And we mean to.'”
Governor Nikki Haley, was briefly on site to hear what protestors had to say. She initially declined to respond to questions from Dreadmonger reporters.
As she was leaving the site of the protests, our reporters asked, “Governor Haley, what do you plan to do if the NLRB is successful in shutting down the Boeing plant?”
The Governor stopped, turned, and paused for effect.
“We’re thinking of ‘repurposing’ our cannons and firing on Fort Sumter again,” she said. With that, Governor Haley turned and left the scene.
Dreadmonger will provide updates as they become available.
- Parts in place to assemble first SC Boeing 787 (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Boeing cuts ribbon on $750 million 787 plant in S.C. (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Op-Ed Columnist: How Democrats Hurt Jobs (nytimes.com)
LONDON (Dreadmonger) – Global stock markets tumbled again this week as officials from Morgan Stanley lowered their forecasts for global growth for 2011 and 2012. An unnamed Morgan Stanley official, in an exclusive interview with Dreadmonger’s London Bureau, said, “This really sucks. We are close to running out of adjectives to describe how bad this sucks. No doubt.”
The spokesman for the brokerage firm went on to say that increasing commodity prices, a weakened dollar, and continuing political and social tensions around the globe combined to paint a bleak economic outlook for the next two years.
The spokesman said that both the U.S. and European economies are “hovering dangerously close to recession.” As a result, the firm has cut its 2011 global gross domestic product growth forecast to 3.9% from 4.2%, and its 2012 estimate to 3.8% from 4.5%.
Paul Krugman, Nobel prize winning economist and op-ed columnist for the New York Times, commented, “To say that the ‘economy sucks’ doesn’t really capture the gravity of the situation. I think these guys need to go back to the OED or something. This came out of the London office, right? Pitiful, really, that the vocabulary coming from this eminent financial institution has devolved to street language. It embarrasses us all and coarsens the discussion.”
The Morgan Stanley spokesman further commented on Mr. Krugman’s statement by saying, “Well, you can tell Mr. Krugman that Morgan Stanley says he sucks, as well. He’s the Nobel Prize-winning economist, isn’t he? If we go back to his forecasts, of, oh, say 2007, what do we see? And, how’s that Keynsian stimulus program working out for you, Paul?”
Krugman responded by telling Dreadmonger reporters, “What, some low-level PR guy from this esteemed issuer of countless Mortgage Backed Securities, this company that JP Morgan refused to take for nothing back in 2008, thinks it is in his purview to smear me, a Nobel Prize-winning economist and op-ed journalist for the New York Times, with his punk-a** gutter-language? Not likely.”
Dreadmonger is unable to print the response from Morgan Stanley to Mr. Krugman in this family friendly publication.
Dreadmonger will continue to closely monitor the story and provide updates as they become available.
- U.S. ‘dangerously close’ to recession – Morgan Stanley report (money.cnn.com)
- Morgan Stanley cuts global growth outlook (marketwatch.com)
Exclusive Dreadmonger report:
Waters and the rest of the Congressional Black Caucus have organized the March On Martha’s, designed to get the attention of President Obama as he vacations with his family on Martha’s Vineyard.
“There is a growing frustration in this country and in minority communities because the unemployment rates are so high,” Waters said. She went on say that the increasing wealth gap between blacks and whites is “creating frustration and yes, some anger” within the black community.
“The Congressional Black Caucus loves the president, too. We’re supportive of the president, but we’re getting tired. We’re getting tired. The unemployment is unconscionable. We don’t know what the strategy is. We don’t know why on this trip that he’s in the United States now, he’s not in any black community,” Congresswoman Waters said.
The March on Martha’s will begin in Falmouth Harbor where marchers will meet at the pier. After crossing the Nantucket channel on local ferries, marchers will convene for a rally in front of the Beetlebug Coffee House in Vineyard Haven. The coffeehouse, a local mainstay, is known to be frequented by the Obamas during their many visits to Martha’s Vineyard in recent years. The Beetlebug, which also operates a tony, laid back line of clothing, has designed shirts to commemorate the march which will be provided free of charge to all marchers.
Cornell Archers, proprietor of The Beetlebug, told Dreadmonger, “We are proud to provide t-shirts to the marchers and we also plan to have trays of our homemade blueberry scones along with fresh free market coffee available for them. We see this as an opportunity to ‘Meet and Greet’ with marchers and locals alike enjoying a relaxing, fun, and funky day in the sun.”
Dreadmonger will provide updates as plans for the march progress.
Luther Melly, Undersecretary for the US Department of the Treasury Printing Service, spoke with a small group of reporters early this morning on the rear steps of the US Treasury building in Washington, DC.
“We have decided that it is more cost-effective to tap into the world-class manufacturing capability that now exists in China than to continue to operate the somewhat antiquated printing facilities we have here in the US.” Melly said.
“We took a look at a cost-benefit analysis ranking the proposal we received from the Chinese and comparing it to the investment required to upgrade our old technology printing facilities here at home. We ultimately decided that this is a job best left to the experts in Asia.”
According to Melly, a key part of the negotiations with the Chinese concerned interest payments that the US pays to China on funds borrowed from them and secured by US Treasury Notes.
“Ultimately,” said Melly, “we agreed that they could just print up their own payment every week. We would, of course, agree on the amount, but it will be much simpler for them just to print it up for themselves. We see this as a huge cost savings on the administrative end alone.”
As part of the negotiations, the Chinese further agreed to discontinue phone calls to the residence of US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner in the evenings and on week-ends.
Melly said, “There is some guy from China who calls himself ‘Trevor’ who calls Secretary Geithner’s home relentlessly about upcoming interest payments. We wanted to make sure that this activity was suspended for evenings and week-ends to give the Secretary some peace and quiet.”
On a brighter note, Melly went on to say, “The good news is that we will continue to stamp our coins right here in the US.”
“People just don’t realize how much harder the paper printing is, as compared to the coin stamping. Frankly,” Melly said, “a couple of times in the past few years, the printing machines have broken down and we almost ran out of money. Our guys have these gigantic printing presses patched together with chewing gum and baling wire and, when they go down, all hell breaks loose. Thanks to our friends at the Canadian Bank Note Company, we were able to do a work around so the US consumer didn’t really notice. We just don’t have the expertise any more to keep these plants going 24/7. The Chinese have really become much better at this. We need to focus our resources here at home on those areas where our US base of knowledge-workers are best utilized.”
When Dreadmonger inquired as to what those areas might be, Melly responded, “Why, green jobs, of course.”
Dreadmonger will provide updates to this story as details become available.
- China’s Calling Tim Geithner…from India (dreadmonger.com)
David Axelrod, campaign strategist for the President’s re-election committee, met briefly with reporters this afternoon outside the Hercules Industries Battery and Wind Turbine manufacturing facility in Decatur where he was touring with the President.
“President Obama sees this as a balanced, innovative, and pragmatic solution to the challenges that face the US today,” Axelrod told reporters. “By adding a second Vice President to assist the President and Vice President Biden in meeting the urgent demands that face the country today, we are, in effect increasing the size of the core Executive team by 50%. We see this move as an enabler to more effective management and a real time saver for the President.”
Axelrod went on to say, “As the President’s re-election campaign kicks into high gear, consuming more and more of the President’s time, the two VP’s will pick up a lot of the day-to-day responsibilities. For example, Vice President Biden is already managing affairs in the middle east for the President and he has taken the lead role in negotiating the recent debt and deficit proposals with Congress.”
“We see the new guy, or who knows,” Axelrod said with a slight smile, “maybe we’ll have a woman in the role this time. But we see this new person as someone who can take on many of the more substantive functional and tactical activities that currently fall squarely on the President’s shoulders.”
When asked by reporters if the President had a short list of candidates he was considering for the post, Axelrod would only comment that, “The President has not shared that with me but, I am sure he does have some ideas.”
“Jaime’s a good man and, the President feels that we do have some repair work to do with big business. But I really don’t have any idea if he is a candidate for the position or not.”
Reporters from Dreadmonger inquired if the creation of a second position of Vice President was strictly legal under the Constitution.
Axelrod responded by saying, “Well, we haven’t really got all the answers there yet. But if there is some kind of a clause or something in the Constitution that specifically says you can only have one Vice President, we thought we would just change the new name to Viceroy, or Assistant VP, you know, something like that. How does Vice Chancellor sound to you?”
Axelrod ended the meeting with reporters saying, “Gotta run now, guys. The President has a golf game to get to and he’s flying out early tomorrow morning for 10 well-deserved days off in Martha’s Vineyard with Michelle and the kids. We’ll keep you posted as this idea gets fleshed out.”
Dreadmonger will provide updates as they become available.
Dateline Dreadmaker News Central:
Standard & Poor’s Managing Director, John Chambers, told Dreadmonger this morning, “We believe the entire planet should now be considered at economic risk – except for Texas, which is actually doing pretty good.”
“Initially, we downgraded the US Government, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac. Then we began to look at states like California, New York. and Arizona.Then one of our junior guys in the bond room said, ‘What about Italy and Spain?’. So, we just thought, you know, let’s just do the entire planet. Except, of course, for Texas.”
When queried by Dreadmonger about the $2 trillion math error that White House officials and US Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner noted on Sunday talk shows this past week-end, Chambers replied, “Look, we have now extended our downgrade to the degree that this so-called ‘math error’ that Secretary Geithner is complaining about is, essentially, chump change.”
“At S&P, our guys have looked at places like Saturn, Jupiter, you know, Venus, and we just don’t see the high debt to GDP ratios that we see on this planet. I should point out that S&P downgraded Pluto right after it lost its planetary status in 2006. So, obviously, Pluto is not a valid comparison. We don’t count Pluto any longer.”
When reporters from Dreadmonger pointed out that, as in the case of sub-prime mortgage securities in 2008, S&P acted on a downgrade of Pluto only after the fact, Chambers responded, “Standard & Poor’s, if you count its predecessor companies, has been rating bonds since the 1920s. We have a long track record of over 100 years. If we missed a few along the way, well, nobody bats a thousand now, do they?”
Chambers went on to warn, “We think that there is the possibility of extending the downgrade in future months if we don’t see real, marked improvement in the situation on Earth”.
When asked by Dreadmonger how S&P might further extend it’s downgrade beyond Planet Earth, Chamber’s only gave a slight smile and said, “well, there’s still Texas.”
Dreadmonger will provide updates to this developing story in real-time.
Tim Geithner isn’t sleeping well these days. And now, he says, it’s bound to get worse.
“They’re calling from India but, it’s really the Chinese calling about the money we owe them. And now, with this idiotic S&P downgrade, I know it’ll just get worse.”
Geithner says he receives several calls every day like clockwork from “Trevor”.
“He says his name is ‘Trevor’ but he’s calling from India and his real name is CHINA!”
“8:15 in the morning, noon, 5PM, and again at 8PM – you can set your watch by this guy,” reports Geithner. “And forget sleeping in on the week-end. Not a chance – Saturday, Sunday, makes no difference to Trevor.”
Trevor, and a raft of his phone bank campadres, are calling to remind Treasury Secretary Geithner about the debt interest payments that are due.
“And do you think that raising the debt ceiling made a difference to these guys?” fumes Geithner, “No, I swear they’ve called more than ever this week. What do they think, the US Government’s going to leave town in the middle of the night? I’m thinking about giving them the Grand Canyon or the Washington Monument or something just to shut them up. Maybe the Smithsonian.”
But, unfortunately for Geithner, his options are limited these days. “I had lunch with Ben the other day.” That would be Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. “I ask him ‘Does a guy named Trevor ever call you?’. Poor Ben just buried his head in his hands. Same drill – gets calls every day. I told him we should call Petraeus or Panetta or whoever and see if we can borrow some drones to pay these guys a visit. Jeez, something”
Geithner is looking ahead to his future opportunities outside of government.
Meanwhile, during Dreadmonger’s interview with Geithner, the phone rang for the third time.
“I’m not going to answer this. This is ridiculous. All I ask is that they stop calling so I can sleep in on a Saturday morning. Just one Saturday morning. That’s not too much to ask, is it? ”
“Anyway, they know we’re good for it. I mean… we are good for it, you know?”
- President Obama Asks Tim Geithner To Remain U.S. Treasury Secretary (huffingtonpost.com)
- Tim Geithner Jokes That The White House Has Him On Ankle Bracelet Lockdown (businessinsider.com)