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February 19th, 2009
12:18 PM ET

Five ways to restore financial trust

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Bill Bradley
Wall Street Journal

Restoring trust in the financial system is the key to solving the current economic crisis. Today, people don't trust bankers and banks don't trust other banks because they know that they have assigned totally arbitrary values to the assets on their own books. The result: Banks won't lend because they don't trust they will be repaid.

Increasingly, it seems as if much of the banking and hedge-fund industry in the last decade was a house of cards built by leverage, irresponsible lending and complicated derivative instruments. What began as a limited subprime crisis has morphed into a $33 trillion drop in global stock markets. In such a climate, a $787 billion fiscal stimulus will be wasted unless we clean up banks' books and get them lending again.

Read more...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • President Barack Obama
February 19th, 2009
11:45 AM ET

Morning Buzz: The Great White North

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Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

President Barack Obama is heading up to Canada today, his first international trip as head of state. This country is a traditional first stop for U.S. Presidents, and a place where he enjoys an 82% approval rating.

He meets with Prime Minister Harper – topics include trade, the economy and global security challenges like Afghanistan- not exactly light talking points.

Canadians will be looking closely at clarification re: President Obama’s views on Nafta, and also on the economic stimulus he just signed into law, given the Buy America provision tucked into it, + other issues.

There is a joint press conference at 245pmet and Ed Henry, traveling with the President, will have the highlights.

FULL POST


Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
February 19th, 2009
11:40 AM ET

A Swiss bank is set to open its secret files

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Lynnley Browning
New York Times

In the hush-hush world of Swiss banking, the unthinkable is happening: secrets are spilling into the open.

UBS, the largest bank in Switzerland, agreed on Wednesday to divulge the names of well-heeled Americans whom the authorities suspect of using offshore accounts at the bank to evade taxes. The bank admitted conspiring to defraud the Internal Revenue Service and agreed to pay $780 million to settle a sweeping federal investigation into its activities.

It is unclear how many of its clients’ names UBS will divulge. Federal prosecutors have been examining about 19,000 accounts at the bank, but UBS ultimately may disclose the identities of only a few hundred customers.

But to some, turning over any names at all heralds the end of the secret Swiss bank account, whose traditions date to the Middle Ages.

Read more...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Raw Politics
February 19th, 2009
11:31 AM ET

The quiet American: How the world sees Obama

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Joe Klein
Time

At this year's U.S.-Islamic World Forum in Doha, Qatar, speaker after Muslim speaker had nothing particularly awful to say about the United States. The Muslims were, in fact, hopeful about, and slightly amazed by, the new American President. Some even wondered aloud what they could do to help him succeed. Anwar Ibrahim, the Malaysian opposition leader, listed the significant gestures that Obama had made toward the Islamic world, from the President's interview with al-Arabiya television network to the appointment of George Mitchell as Middle East negotiator. Obama had even made reference to "a hadith, which is something not many Islamic leaders do!" Ibrahim added, referring to the sayings of the Prophet that are not included in the Koran. Then Ibrahim went further: "But will the U.S. find credible partners in the Muslim world? ... How do we expect the President of the United States to solve our problems when we do nothing?"

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Filed under: 360° Radar • President Barack Obama
February 19th, 2009
11:10 AM ET

Ted Kennedy retrospective

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Bella English
The Boston Globe


On a spring day nearly two years ago, Senator Edward Kennedy sat on the porch of his sprawling Hyannis Port home with a friend of five decades, Edmund Reggie, who is also his father-in-law. The two men gazed out at the ocean that has been such an anchor in Kennedy's life, and talked about the future.

“You’re nuts to beat yourself to death like this on the Senate floor,” Reggie said. “Passing a new law won't be any more glorious for you than the reputation you’ve made. Some people say you and Daniel Webster are the greatest senators of all time.”

Kennedy looked at the older man and deadpanned: “What did Webster do?”

Read more...


Filed under: 360° Radar • Democrats
February 19th, 2009
09:10 AM ET

Dear President Obama #31: The greener grass

Reporter's Note: President Barack Obama says he wants advice. I try to oblige; so I’m writing a letter a day to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

You realize, of course, you’ve made some new enemies? I’m not talking about Congressional Republicans. They are your old enemies. I’m not talking about those Democrats you ran against either. I’m talking about all those homeowners out there who will not directly benefit from your new Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan.

Now, I know you’re saying that we are all in this situation together and we’ll all be doing the prosperity dance, if we can just get the economy humming again. But I’m telling you there is a deep growl rising from a good number of folks who don’t feel that way. They keep whispering those ominous, ugly words that swirled around the end of the campaign: Socialism, redistribution of wealth, nationalized business, macramé. (Oh, sorry, that last one just slipped in; it’s a scary word, sure, but please disregard.)

FULL POST

February 19th, 2009
09:05 AM ET

Racist cartoon?

Anderson talks with his panel in a discussion about a New York Post editorial cartoon some say is racist.

February 19th, 2009
09:00 AM ET

'Nation of cowards'

Anderson talks with his panel members about their reaction to comments made by Attorney General Eric Holder.

February 19th, 2009
08:45 AM ET

Chimp attack

Anderson talks with a wildlife expert about his reaction to the chimp attack that left a woman critically injured.

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