Obama summons intel chiefs for Washington talks

KANEOHE, Hawaii (Reuters) – President Barack Obama Thursday summoned U.S. intelligence chiefs to a meeting next week to discuss how to prevent a repeat of the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner on December 25.

Huff TV: Arianna Says Obama’s Preference For Wall Street, Not Main Street Is Behind Public Anger

President Obama’s support for Wall Street, rather than main street, is behind public frustration being directed at the president, Arianna argued on Morning Joe.

She weighed in on the president’s job performance during a taped appearance that aired Thursday morning. Obama, she says, campaigned on a platform of change, but instead of making real changes, specifically in his cabinet, has maintained the status quo. Now, he is surprised with the results.

“…[Obama], afterall, painted a very dark picture of what was happening, a broken system, the special interests dominating everything, and he said yes we can change that. And he also said in Denver, remember, that the greatest risk would be to surround ourselves with the same people, playing the same political game , expecting different results. And then he went into the White House and did exactly that. He surrounded himself with the same political people, you know Larry Summers, Rahm Emanuel, he kept Gates, he kept Bernanke, he played the same political game and he expected different results and he didn’t get them. And in the middle of all that, he basically decided that he was for Wall Street, rather than main street. And that’s really the anger. The anger is very clearly about that.”

David Gregory agreed with Arianna’s questions about Obama and the middle class, explaining that it’s hard for American’s to see record profits for Wall Street firms while experiencing some of the highest unemployment numbers in decades.

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Read more: David Gregory, Unemployment, Barack Obama, Middle Class, Arianna, Obama, Wall Street, Media News

Rob Johnson Explains Crony Capitalism (VIDEO)

In a new series of videos featured on the Real News Network, HuffPost blogger Rob Johnson offers his critique of the government’s response to the financial crisis.

In an interview with Real News senior editor Paul Jay, Johnson disputes the premises of the bailout, asserting that President Obama should have saved the functions of the banks by essentially nationalizing them instead of pumping money into them.

Among other measures, he argues that to get financial regulatory reform through Congress, it may be necessary to overhaul campaign finance reform to prevent banks from applying undue influence on lawmakers. What’s missing from the current bills in Congress is overhauling the credit rating agencies, says Johnson, who argues that their role should be taken over by public utilities.

Johnson also highlights the lack of real reform of derivatives trading, which he calls the “San Andreas Fault” of the current financial system, arguing that they need to be traded on exchanges. And he criticizes the trend on Wall Street to make finance more complicated, such as the creation of derivatives instruments, saying that they come at a huge price because it limits competition in the banking sector.

He discusses his role as the new executive director of INET, the Institute for New Economic Thinking, which he’s creating together with legendary financier George Soros.

WATCH Part 1, “Crony capitalism unchanged”:

WATCH Part 2, “Wall St: More complicated, more profitable”:

WATCH Part 3, “Obama had a choice”:

Read more: Rob Johnson, Financial Crisis, George Soros, Rob Johnson Economic, Crony Capitalism, Business News

UPDATE 1-Anesiva says to seek bankruptcy after deal fails

NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) – Anesiva Inc , a
developer of pharmaceutical products for chronic pain, said on
Thursday it will file for bankruptcy after it was unable to
complete a proposed merger with Arcion Therapeutics Inc.

Wall St ends 2009 with best gains since 2003

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. stocks ended 2009 on Thursday with their best gains since 2003, with optimism about the economy’s recovery pushing the benchmark Standard & Poor’s index up 23.5 percent for the year.

CIA probes Afghan base security after bomber kills 7

WASHINGTON/KABUL (Reuters) – The CIA vowed on Thursday to avenge the deaths of seven officers in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan and to investigate security breaches that allowed the second deadliest attack in agency history.

Kohlberg Capital sued over alleged fraud

NEW YORK, Dec 31 (Reuters) – Kohlberg Capital Corp
has been sued by a Michigan investor who said the investment
company taken public in 2006 by a firm affiliated with buyout
specialist Jerome Kohlberg fraudulently misstated the value of
its portfolio.