Left Coast Letter

Democratic thoughts, Republican nightmares

Bloomberg: The NY Fed and the AIG Bailout

Who lied?  Who knew what, when?  Why was the information treated like a state secret?

What did Geithner say and do?

The special inspector general, Neil Barofsky, charged with getting to the bottom of the Troubled Asset Relief Program is investigating.

Hearings are scheduled for today.  Bloomberg has the details – and soon so will we.

The AIG situation is, for me, one of the most mind-boggling, with the NY Fed asking AIG to keep things on the hush-hush so the public could be kept in the dark.  And that’s just one part of it.

You can bet there will be more to come on this topic.

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Clusterstock: Fire Bernanke and Geithner

Henry Blodget’s foray into business journalism continues on track today with his comments about fund manager John Hussman’s take on Wall Street.

Hussman has a plan – a very good one, as it turns out – one part of which is to provide the FDIC with the power to take into receivership financial and non-financial companies that go insolvent.

Sounds better than TARP.

Thanks, but no thanks

No on Bernanke’s reappointment to the Fed.
That’s it.

My Neighbor Jim

Jim is my neighbor, and he and his wife Tammy are great people with three adult kids.  We couldn’t ask for better people to live next door.

During a conversation last Saturday, Jim, who is a Silicon Valley engineer and who has worked at Apple, Yahoo and several other ‘name brand’ tech companies, said, “Obama has about three more months to pull it together.  After that, he’s history.”

I was shocked because Jim describes himself as a progressive who has voted Democratic his entire life.

But he told us he’s mad that an entire year has been wasted on a healthcare bill that hasn’t even been passed yet – and that looks like it’ll be pretty watered down if it ever does see the light of day.

He wondered why few people in Washington D.C. seem to understand that people need jobs.  To Jim, that’s the crux of the problem.  He said he has a relative who lives back East who is just days away from losing his home to foreclosure – and his relatives don’t have any idea where they’ll go.

Jim is a patient person.  He’s a man who gets things done.  But he’s tired of waiting and seeing the same old stuff happen in our Federal government.  A big supporter of the Democratic Party, he told me he’s had it and they’re not getting any more money from him.

He wrote a letter to the president for the first time in his life last week stating that he was tired of the pussy-footing around, sick of banks with lots of capital not lending, mad about Wall Street and tired of all the bickering over healthcare.

Alienated.  Maybe that’s the word that explains how open-minded, fair people who have always thought of themselves as Democrats (and who supported Obama’s successful run for the White House) can now feel forgotten and left out.

Fiorina Slaps Boxer; Commentors in SF Chron Slap Fiorina

Marisa Lagos of the S.F. Chronicle reported recently that Fiorina has taken the gloves off.

She’s on the attack against Senator Boxer – and has changed her strategy and is also badmouthing Republican challengers Tom Campbell and state Assemblyman Chuck DeVore.

Her comments on the importance of jobs is especially hard to stomach, considering as HP’s CEO she cut thousands upon thousands of jobs and outsourced thousands more to HP sites in India.  Guess after being fired by the HP Board she’s conveniently ‘forgotten.’

In the same article, Fiorina mistakenly accuses Campbell of wanting to legagalize marijuana.  In fact, as journalist Lagos found out by making one phone call, Campbell does not.  She made similar errors while fronting for the McCain campaign.

A few steaming hot comments from Chronicle readers:

“Yes Carly, Californians are concerned about jobs. That’s why we’re not going to vote for someone who got rich by outsourcing California jobs to India, like you did.”

“Carly, we saw what you did to AT&T, Lucent, and HP. Are you nuts? Do you really think we want you anywhere near the levers of power in California? If you’re smart, you’ll announce a withdrawal from the race and humbly throw your support to Tom Campbell. Do what’s right for California; not what’s fun for Carly…”

“Carly has already proven “economics”and “common sense” are not her strong suits. Recent comments also evidence of lack of knowledge on what’s going on in the world.”

“There are several things that distinguish MA from CA. First, Boxer is a very good campaigner. Hershensen, Fong and Jones all had high hopes until they ran into tough campaign. Second, CA is decidedly pro-choice and MA is not. If Campbell is the GOP candidate, the race gets more interesting, but Boxer will clearly beat Fiorina. Third, Californian need and want health care reform. MA’s got theirs. Fiorina has hers. The rest of us need some help.”

My dream race?  Campbell vs. Boxer.  Campbell is the most experienced, smartest GOP candidate.  He has proven himself effective in politics for years.

The easiest to beat?  Clearly the inexperienced Fiorina.

Exclusive Coverage: Barbara Boxer’s 1/23 ‘Be a Boxer’ Telecon

Comments by Senator Boxer were brief and to the point today in her ‘Be a Boxer’ teleconference.  She is a fighter who is energized by the work she does on behalf of the people of California.

She spoke about attending the ‘Women Making History2010’ event in L.A. to honor Lily Ledbetter for her years of work in support of  equal pay for women.   Citing the recent election in Massachusetts and the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling on special interest ‘freedom of speech,’ Boxer said she is “more determined, more committed to jobs, education for your kids and healthcare.  I’m only going to do the bidding of the people.”

Len and Rita Sperry, who Boxer knew by name, asked what could be done regarding the Supreme Court ruling on corporate political contributions.  Boxer commented that the Senate Judiciary Committee is reviewing the decision and considering what action to take.  She mentioned the unfairness of corporate ‘free speech’ that is determined by the size of a company’s huge treasury vs. the comparably small funds of an average citizen.  Tax law changes may also be considered.

New contributor Walter Daniels asked Boxer about her feelings regarding bank reform.  She said, “I have a degree in economics and I worked on Wall Street.  I voted against the Glass-Steagall act repeal and tearing down that wall.”  She stated that the president is right about the need for consumer protection and said she’s voting against reconfirming Ben Bernanke as the head of the Fed.

Boxer emphasized that she is focusing on the economy and jobs – adding that “housing is really, really bad and we need to get a handle on it.”  She stated firmly that a recovery with GNP but without jobs isn’t acceptable to her.

Boxer on Bernanke: A New Main Street Champion is Needed to Helm The Fed

Below is CA Senator Barbara Boxer’s statement regarding Bernanke’s job as Fed Chairman.  As you probably know, he’s up for another term.

Boxer signals that she’s not going to approve more of the ‘same old’ stuff.

A bold move – and I’m guessing we’ll see more of this from Barbara as she looks to find the right people to give the U.S. an economic restart.

I’ll bet Paul Volker approves of this.  More on Boxer’s site.

“I have a lot of respect for Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. When the financial crisis hit in late 2008, he took some important steps to prevent what many economists believe could have been an even greater economic catastrophe.

“However, it is time for a change – it is time for Main Street to have a champion at the Fed. Dr. Bernanke played a lead role in crafting the Bush administration’s economic policies, which led to the current economic crisis. Our next Federal Reserve Chairman must represent a clean break from the failed policies of the past.”