The Hilary Clinton Confirmation Hearings
In a re-injection (can I say that in a blog) of Bill Clinton into the international political scene, questions of his fundraising and more specifically the source of some funds for the Clinton Foundation came into question. It is no secret that some percentage comes from foreign sources, and that this brings the potential of a conflict of interest for his wife, the soon to be confirmed Secretary of State.
If foreign entities or foreign governments feel that they might be able to curry favor through donations to Bill, then this puts the United States in a more dangerous security position.
The quid pro quo of politics that brought her to the precipice of this job seems to put the U.S. foreign policy debate in the hands of a couple, one half of which has been more than willing to accept great sums of money from countries whose philosophy's we may not share, and who more importantly may not be "true" friends of the United States.
It would seem that there must have been another choice just as capable yet offering at least the perception of objectivity. That's politics for you.
On another note, her answers on the question of Israel and the Palestinians seemed to indicate that the Obama administration will take a tougher line on Israel and the actions that the U.S. will support.
TARP About Face
Ben Bernanke, in a speech on Tuesday, indicated that financial stimulus may not be enough, and that the original purpose of the TARP which was to take toxic assets off the books of banks may be back on the table.
Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have also come to an agreement to combine their brokerage operations. In the meantime the tone of the markets, after a strong bear market rally, has taken a solid turn for the worse.
A report by an options trader yesterday indicated similar action in HSBC bank options as before the Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers implosions. Stay tuned.