Our Obama National Nightmare Has Begun

SleevelessMary Todd Michelle Obama was clueless in her choice of winter apparel last night. Even more clueless was TelePrompter Obama and his lackluster, non-specific, Favreau speech. Jumping for joy Dimocrats were the most clueless of all.

A nation in desperate need of action, not words, confidence building, not chest thumping, specificity, not platitudes, found another pail full of Obama words, words, words.

One disappointment in Mr. Obama’s speech was his failure to deliver any more clarity on his plan to rescue the nation’s banking system. He said he would not provide bailouts “with no strings attached.” But he offered even less specificity than the administration has in recent weeks. The choices are indisputably difficult, and Mr. Obama may be trying to keep his options open. His team has seemed skittish about the increasingly obvious need for some form of government takeover of some of the biggest banks. If Mr. Obama has a better plan, the nation needs to hear it soon.

The New York Times, the cathedral of the High Church of Obama, BEFORE the speech laid down some markers for a successful or failed speech:

His aides say this is no moment for the lofty idealism of the inaugural address, 35 long days and roughly a thousand Dow Jones points ago. His task is to be at once reassuring and realistic, or, as one of Mr. Obama’s economic advisers said over the weekend, “to convince the country we’ve finally pulled the ripcord on the parachute, even if we can’t tell you how long we fall or where we land.”

The hardest part will be convincing his countrymen that they cannot save themselves without first saving the banks that let greed blot out prudence, the carmakers who ignored competitive reality for a quarter-century, and the homeowners who somehow persuaded themselves that housing prices only move up.

Yet here is the paradox the president faces: The same New York Times/CBS News poll that found that Mr. Obama instills a remarkable sense of confidence — 76 percent of Americans say they think he will make the right economic decisions — also found that Americans dislike many of the choices he has made thus far.

Fifty-nine percent said that the bank bailout would help bankers far more than it would help the country. More than two-thirds had no stomach for bailing out G.M. and Chrysler, even if the alternative is liquidating the companies.

BEFORE the speech the New York Times was declaring lack of specificity to be a “failure”. AFTER the no specifics speech, it was merely a New York Times “disappointment”.

So here is a guide to what to look for in the speech to Congress, as the new president tries to emit the reassuring warble of an F.D.R. New Dealer while convincing the country he will soon fly like a deficit hawk. [snip]

So in Mr. Obama’s speech, look for the code words that open the way to brief nationalization — he’ll steer clear of that term — on the way to cleaning up balance sheets and putting the banks back in private hands. Also look for any signs that Mr. Obama might decide to wipe out the current shareholders’ stakes — not that those holdings are worth very much anymore — and dump current bank managements.

His argument will probably come down to this: We’re not bailing out a bunch of clueless bankers, we’re making sure that the world’s biggest economy has a viable banking system. [snip]

On this subject, listen for the national security argument: That Americans cannot live without a vibrant industrial base that makes the country’s own wheels, in America. Mr. Obama’s case will be that the network of suppliers surrounding America’s auto makers cannot be destroyed. Don’t expect to hear much about the “transplants,” the subsidiaries of Japanese, German, Korean and other companies that, until the bottom fell out of the new-car market, were actually building new auto plants in the United States while the Big Three were closing old ones. Those carmakers think of themselves as American. Congress doesn’t. [snip]

It was a little mystifying why the White House chose, late last week, to get into a direct shouting match with Rick Santelli, a CNBC reporter and former derivatives trader whose on-air tirade against Mr. Obama’s plan to stop foreclosures went viral on the Web. “The government is promoting bad behavior,” Mr. Santelli said. The White House press secretary shot back that “Mr. Santelli doesn’t know what he’s talking about.”

Maybe he does, and maybe he doesn’t, but he tapped into genuine anger. Mr. Obama is likely to nod to the fact that many people who pay their mortgages are rightly upset that the government is rewarding some of those who overextended themselves. But he’ll argue that until the foreclosures stop, the downward cycle — ever more houses on the market, ever lower market values — cannot be stopped. On this point, the White House knows he has to sound more convincing than he did last week. [snip]

The White House is acutely aware that its entire plan hinges on the willingness of other nations to keep lending to the United States, and that means he must make a convincing case that he’s seen the path out of deficits.

Americans and foreigners alike have heard that before; George W. Bush spent eight years churning out projections of how he would move the United States back toward balanced budgets. The financial responsibility summit on Monday at the White House — if you can call a four-hour meeting a “summit” — was supposed to signal that Mr. Obama has a plan of his own. But he has been a little vague about how he would square the goal with everything in the offing — or how he would address the toughest long-term problem, fixing Social Security and Medicare.

Look for any sign that he is now willing to kick those cans down the road, maybe by creating a commission to study the problem. [snip]

But mostly, look for whether Mr. Obama puts together that elusive combination of inspiration and specificity that creates confidence. That’s what’s been lacking in the markets, and in the country. And until it is restored — until Americans have as much faith in the message as in the messenger — it’s going to be hard to break the cycle.

No specificity, no inspiration, no confidence. Obama’s economic “plans” are as sleeveless as Mary Todd Michelle in the February cold.

MSNBC, the Vatican of the High Church of Obama, published an Associated Press fact check of Obama’s glossies:

President Barack Obama’s assurance Tuesday that his mortgage-relief plan will only benefit deserving homeowners appears to be a stretch.

Even officials in his administration, many supporters of the plan in Congress and the Federal Reserve chairman expect some of that money will go to people who should have known better than to buy that huge house.

The Associated Press “fact check” quotes Obama and then cites the truth of the matter:

OBAMA: “We have launched a housing plan that will help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and refinance their mortgages. It’s a plan that won’t help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford, but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling with declining home values.”

THE FACTS: If the administration has come up with a way to ensure money does not go to home buyers who used bad judgment, it hasn’t announced it.

Defending the program Tuesday at a Senate hearing, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said it’s important to save some of those people for the greater good. He likened it to calling the fire department to put out a blaze caused by someone smoking in bed.

“I think the smart way to deal with a situation like that is to put out the fire, save him from his own consequences of his own action but then, going forward, enact penalties and set tougher rules about smoking in bed.”

Similarly, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. suggested this month it’s not likely aid will be denied to all homeowners who overstated their income or assets to get a mortgage they couldn’t afford. [snip]

OBAMA: “We have already identified $2 trillion in savings over the next decade.”

THE FACTS: Although 10-year projections are common in government, they don’t mean much. And at times, they are a way for a president to pass on the most painful steps to his successor, by putting off big tax increases or spending cuts until someone else is in the White House.

Obama only has a real say on spending during the four years of his term. He may not be president after that and he certainly won’t be 10 years from now.

After the obligatory Clinton-bashing the Associated Press notes Obama’s promises and states “his budget does not accomplish any of that”. The “that” is “end education programs that don’t work and end direct payments to large agribusinesses that don’t need them. We’ll eliminate the no-bid contracts that have wasted billions in Iraq, and reform our defense budget so that we’re not paying for Cold War-era weapons systems we don’t use. We will root out the waste, fraud and abuse in our Medicare program that doesn’t make our seniors any healthier, and we will restore a sense of fairness and balance to our tax code by finally ending the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas.”

The Associated Press mocks Obama by reciting history: waste, fraud and abuse are routinely targeted by presidents who later find that the savings realized seldom amount to significant sums.

Also mocked by the facts are Obama claims on the number of uninsured, and promises regarding the “supply of renewable energy”.

Jobs?

OBAMA: “Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs.”

THE FACTS: This is a recurrent Obama formulation. But job creation projections are uncertain even in stable times, and some of the economists relied on by Obama in making his forecast acknowledge a great deal of uncertainty in their numbers.

The president’s own economists, in a report prepared last month, stated, “It should be understood that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error.”

Obama gets an “F” in history and an “A+++” in lies and distortion:

OBAMA: “And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it.”

THE FACTS: According to the Library of Congress, the inventor of the first true automobile was probably Germany’s Karl Benz, who created the first auto powered by an internal combustion gasoline, in 1885 or 1886. Nobody disputes that Henry Ford created the first assembly line that made cars affordable.

Investors? Where they impressed? No, Investors put the bottles of Hopium aside.

Investors unimpressed by Obama speech

Earlier this morning, investors seemed undecided about the credibility of government bailout programs — despite the theme of hope in President Barack Obama’s first address to Congress since becoming president.

The markets may rise today instead of the droop thus far, but whatever happens it will not be due to celestial choirs singing nor Obama words, words, words.

* * *

If there were celestial choirs last night, paradoxically, it was the Republicans of all stripes that should be singing happily. We have never ever been impressed with Bobby Jindal. Jindal has been a Big Media creation. Last night, the Jindal balloon went flat. To his credit Jindal did apologize for Republican irresponsibility and lack of accountability. However, Republicans should rejoice. Now they know Jindal is not the future, now that Jindal is out of the way, Republicans can organize themselves realistically.

* * *

Republicans might be happy knowing they have a patsy boob to roast and dumped their own boob, but real Democrats must know the nightmare we are in.

Remember all the attacks on Hillary even as she promised to pare back the dictatorial powers accrued by the Executive Branch and the Presidency? Obama supporter Robert Byrd is now, too late, worried:

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), the longest-serving Democratic senator, is criticizing President Obama’s appointment of White House “czars” to oversee federal policy, saying these executive positions amount to a power grab by the executive branch.

In a letter to Obama on Wednesday, Byrd complained about Obama’s decision to create White House offices on health reform, urban affairs policy, and energy and climate change. Byrd said such positions “can threaten the Constitutional system of checks and balances. At the worst, White House staff have taken direction and control of programmatic areas that are the statutory responsibility of Senate-confirmed officials.” [snip]

Byrd repeatedly clashed with the Bush administration over executive power, and it appears that he’s not limiting his criticism to Republican administrations.

Byrd also wants Obama to limit claims of executive privilege while also ensuring that the White House czars don’t have authority over Cabinet officers confirmed by the Senate.

“As presidential assistants and advisers, these White House staffers are not accountable for their actions to the Congress, to cabinet officials, and to virtually anyone but the president,” Byrd wrote. “They rarely testify before congressional committees, and often shield the information and decision-making process behind the assertion of executive privilege. In too many instances, White House staff have been allowed to inhibit openness and transparency, and reduce accountability.”

Big Blogs and PINO Dimocrats will remain silent about the Obama imperial presidency.

Guantanamo? Abuse of prisoners? The very sources Big Media and PINO Dimocrats relied on to attack the reprehensible George W. Bush say Obama is worse:

Abuse of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay has worsened sharply since President Barack Obama took office as prison guards “get their kicks in” before the camp is closed, according to a lawyer who represents detainees.

Abuses began to pick up in December after Obama was elected, human rights lawyer Ahmed Ghappour told Reuters. He cited beatings, the dislocation of limbs, spraying of pepper spray into closed cells, applying pepper spray to toilet paper and over-forcefeeding detainees who are on hunger strike.

The Pentagon said on Monday that it had received renewed reports of prisoner abuse during a recent review of conditions at Guantanamo, but had concluded that all prisoners were being kept in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

“According to my clients, there has been a ramping up in abuse since President Obama was inaugurated,” said Ghappour, a British-American lawyer with Reprieve, a legal charity that represents 31 detainees at Guantanamo.

Under George W. Bush PINO Big Blogs and Dimocrats thought and railed that forced-feeding was torture. Torture has now been redefined in the new celestial era (just like “bonuses” for business executives – they now get “retention incentives”):

In one of the six main camps at Guantanamo, the lawyer said all the detainees he knew were on hunger strike and subject to force-feeding, including with laxatives that induced chronic diarrhea while they were strapped in their feeding chairs.

“Several of my clients have had toilet paper pepper-sprayed while they have had hemorrhoids,” Ghappour said.

Silence on torture from the once garrulous PINO Big Blogs. The PINO Big Blogs will not defy their diety. The PINO Big Blogs are the Hopium dispensing monasteries in the High Church of Obama.

The High Church of Obama is increasingly opposed by the Catholic Church. Although we pro-choice real Democrats disagree with other real Democrats who oppose abortion rights we do respect the warnings about Obama by Denver’s Archbishop Charles Chaput (who traveled to Canada to speak in freedom):

Canadians packed St. Basil’s Church in Toronto on Monday evening to hear Archbishop Charles Chaput speak about how Catholics should live out their faith in the public square. He warned that in the U.S., Catholics need to act on their faith and be on guard against “a spirit of adulation bordering on servility” that exists towards the Obama administration.

The public lecture by Archbishop Chaput took place on the campus of the University of Toronto at St. Basil’s Church and was attended by an overflow crowd of more than 700 people.

After giving a sketch of the basic principles in his New York Times Bestseller “Render Unto Caesar,” the archbishop offered his insights on the need for an honest assessment of the situation of the Church in the public square.

“I like clarity, and there’s a reason why,” began the archbishop. “I think modern life, including life in the Church, suffers from a phony unwillingness to offend that poses as prudence and good manners, but too often turns out to be cowardice. Human beings owe each other respect and appropriate courtesy. But we also owe each other the truth — which means candor.”

Hooray for clarity and specificity from the Archbishop.

The Denver prelate then provided his critique of President Obama.

“President Obama is a man of intelligence and some remarkable gifts. He has a great ability to inspire, as we saw from his very popular visit to Canada just this past week. But whatever his strengths, there’s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope and change. Of course, that can change. Some things really do change when a person reaches the White House. Power ennobles some men. It diminishes others. Bad policy ideas can be improved. Good policy ideas can find a way to flourish. But as Catholics, we at least need to be honest with ourselves and each other about the political facts we start with.”

Yet this will be “very hard for Catholics in the United States,” Chaput warned.

According to the archbishop, the political situation for Catholics is difficult to discern because a “spirit of adulation bordering on servility already exists among some of the same Democratic-friendly Catholic writers, scholars, editors and activists who once accused pro-lifers of being too cozy with Republicans. It turns out that Caesar is an equal opportunity employer.”

Archbishop Chaput’s great warning about the false prophet: “in democracies, we elect public servants, not messiahs.”

“For Christians,” he explained, “hope is a virtue, not an emotional crutch or a political slogan. Virtus, the Latin root of virtue, means strength or courage. Real hope is unsentimental. It has nothing to do with the cheesy optimism of election campaigns. Hope assumes and demands a spine in believers. And that’s why – at least for a Christian — hope sustains us when the real answer to the problems or hard choices in life is ‘no, we can’t,’ instead of ‘yes, we can.’

We real Democrats opposed and mocked Republicans who worshipped George W. Bush. We real Democrats oppose and mock Democrats turned Dimocrats, PINO Big Blogs, who are mirror images of hypocrite Republicans.

We real Democrats will continue to offend Dimocrats by rejection of a “phony unwillingness to offend”. We real Democrats will not pose with “prudence and good manners” which is hidden cowardice.

We real Democrats will continue to offend Dimocrats and shake them and berate them until they wake up and take responsiblity for the national nightmare they are responsible for.

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206 thoughts on “Our Obama National Nightmare Has Begun

  1. Once again another outstanding post and once again his pretty words mean nothing. He must be feeling so proud of himself that market again took a nose dive and now even Bush was more popular in his first month.

  2. Admin:This post is the best explanation by anyone anywhere to date for an analysis of the plague that has infected our country.We saw it all last night and heard the ramblings of a dangerous egomaniac with an unrelenting need for raw un regulated power.He will leave this country in ruins and then move on to fulfil his global ambitions with the ever present race card .Barack Hussein Obama is his name and fear is the name of his game.

    By ABM90 We know who the dictators were and where they
    came from but Obama still remains unknown.

  3. I am concerned about all the WH czars that may undermine the confirmed cabinet members. I’m surprised more people are not commenting on this.

  4. Cognitive Dissonance: a state of psychological conflict or anxiety resulting from a contradiction between a person’s simultaneously held beliefs or attitudes.

    Could this be the reason for his lack of specificity?

    His global backers want him to dismatle all remaining aspects of the welfare state, subject everyone to the whims and caprices of the marketplace which is not doing so well right now (cough), meanwhile like bluebeard the pirate smoke and hopium swirls around him and his people want him to deliver the miracle he promised before he understood the magnitude and complexity of the problem, meanwhile the other party who he wants to step forward and share his burdens under the mantra of bipartisanship is saying we will give you a six month grace period to prove to the country how good you are. You asked for it, you got it, Toyota.

  5. Ok, more on the market—specifically today’s.

    Market doing fine, continuing to build a base, until 30 minutes before close…and somebod(ies) started to sell… not huge numbers of shares, maybe 5-10 million shares in a five-minute period.

    However, someone sold 80 million shares in the penultimate 5 minute period. In the last 30 minutes, the market went from being 50 up to a close of 80 down.

    These last half hour big sales are not unknown, but are unusual…and usually mean something.

    Did our Treasury Sec go public on something or another ~ 3 pm today?

  6. Yes, that is a brilliant post alright Admin.

    The Catholic insights must be divinely inspired. At a minimum they reflect the collective wisdom of twenty centuries.

    I am not Catholic myself but I do remember the first two Commandments of the Christian faith which point to the folly and danger of Obamania.

    The first says thou shalt have none other gods before me. The second says thou shalt not make unto thyself any graven image.

    The country needs to wake up.

  7. Geithner Calls Nationalizing Banks ‘Wrong Strategy’ for Economy

    By Robert Schmidt
    Feb. 25 (Bloomberg) — U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that a government takeover of troubled banks is unnecessary for solving the country’s deepening economic and financial woes.

    Nationalization “is the wrong strategy for the country and I don’t think it’s the necessary strategy,” Geithner said, according to a transcript of an interview on public television’s “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer” to be broadcast later tonight.

    The Treasury and federal banking regulators earlier today unveiled a stepped-up “stress test” for the 19 biggest banks. The review, to be completed by the end of April, will identify how much extra capital, if any, each lender would need if the economy worsened. Banks can accept a government investment or attempt to raise private money to provide the extra cushion. In the interview, Geithner said the tests would help alleviate “this cloud of uncertainty that’s hanging over our financial system.”

    Geithner said Wall Street’s negative reaction to his bank rescue strategy should be viewed against “the backdrop of a deepening recession here and around the world.” The deterioration in the economic outlook is “the fundamental cause of the uncertainty you’re seeing in markets everywhere and fragile confidence we see generally,” he said.

    bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601068&sid=ap7PjZS.zcms&refer=home

  8. How the White House Choppers Spiraled Out of Control

    By Mark Thompson / Washington Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009

    One response of the Bush Administration to the attacks of 9/11 was to invade Iraq. Another was to order up a new fleet of hyper-secure helicopters to transport the Commander in Chief — out of concern that a President borne by the current generation of choppers could be cut off from the rest of the world. But like the war in Iraq, the new helicopters are taking much longer, and costing far more, than originally anticipated. As President Barack Obama winds down the war, it’s looking increasingly likely that he’ll also end the Pentagon’s four-year effort to buy a new fleet of presidential aircraft.
    The 28 VH-71 choppers were slated to make their first takeoff from the White House lawn in 2012. But their cost has soared from an estimated $6.1 billion in 2005 to $13.4 billion today. “We’re not going to pay $500 million for one helicopter. Period,” Representative John Murtha, the Pennsylvania Democrat who chairs the House Appropriations Committee’s defense subcommittee, declared recently. At $480 million a piece — roughly the price of the 747s fitted as Air Force One — the choppers, part of Lockheed Martin’s VH-71 program are “in deep trouble,” Pentagon officials said on Tuesday. (See pictures of the Army Reserve.)

    With most taxpayers counting pennies and preparing to file tax returns, Obama made clear in an exchange on Monday with his former rival, Republican Senator John McCain, that he finds his aging fleet of Marine One “white-tops” perfectly adequate. Many of the trips they take are short hops, like the 10 minutes between the White House and Andrews Air Force Base. “It is an example of the procurement process gone amok,” Obama said after McCain queried him about the new helicopters (“I didn’t have as much interest in the presidential helicopter,” McCain noted on Tuesday, “as I had several months ago.”)

    Only the Pentagon could turn a $60 million helicopter — the European-made EH-101 — into a $480 million whirlybird. The Pentagon’s Defense Science Board, in a report released earlier this month, didn’t mince words in assigning blame for the fiasco. “The schedule was acknowledged at the start to be high-risk and very aggressive,” it said, “driven by post-9/11 global war on terror urgency.” The costs started climbing as the White House informed the Pentagon and its contractors of its wish list of encrypted video, telephone and electronic capabilities that it wanted aboard the new birds.

    The post-9/11 need for security led to secret requirements for onboard jammers to thwart radars and missiles. Then there was the required shielding to help protect the choppers’ electronic guts from being fried by electromagnetic pulses generated by nuclear blasts (as well as separate systems to protect against biological and chemical weapons). Pentagon officials say the VH-71 isn’t so much a modified EH-101 as it is a “whole new helicopter.” Then, of course, there was the kitchen and bathroom for the 14 passengers (the new choppers can fly 300 miles, triple the range of the current Marines Ones, making such facilities desirable). The Navy, which buys all Marine aircraft, and its contractors simply saluted and passed on the escalating costs to the taxpayers.

    In a familiar Pentagon-procurement pattern, the Navy and its contractors began blaming one another for the spiraling costs once the program came under a critical spotlight. John Young, the Pentagon’s outgoing acquisition czar, recently blamed both. He cited the program as emblematic of a Pentagon culture wedded to rosy cost projections. “Higher costs, whether based on low estimates or poor enterprise management, is unacceptable and harmful to the defense enterprise,” he wrote to Defense Secretary Robert Gates last month. “The acquisition team bears significant responsibility for moving forward with these programs built on inadequate foundations.” (Read “Can Robert Gates Tame the Pentagon?”)

    The 28-helicopter buy has been broken down into two pieces, with the first five aircraft better than the ones the President currently uses. But they’re not the equivalent of the “flying Oval Office” with all the communication and security gear slated for the final 23, due to be delivered by 2019. With the first batch currently beginning flight tests, the Connecticut congressional delegation has been urging the Pentagon to shift some of the work to Sikorsky Aircraft. That Connecticut firm built every presidential helicopter since President Eisenhower was the first to regularly fly in one, until the tradition was broken by the 2005 award to Lockheed Martin and its European partners, Italy’s Augusta and Britain’s Westland.

    Obama told McCain that he and Gates share the Senator’s view that sometimes pushing for too much in a new piece of equipment makes little sense. Gates “recognizes that simply adding more and more does not necessarily mean better and better,” Obama said. But for a Pentagon accustomed to having its way with the White House — and it nervously awaits Obama’s imprint on its 2010 budget — those are fighting words.

    time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1881592,00.html?imw=Y

  9. Our favorite stupidhead with a very sensitive leg has done it again….tho not as bad as his women-directed comments:

    MSNBC’s Chris Matthews explains ‘Oh God’ remark

    AP Television Writer David Bauder 1 hr 40 mins ago

    NEW YORK – MSNBC’s Chris Matthews said he was surprised by the “peculiar stagecraft” of Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s response to President Barack Obama’s speech to Congress, leading him to quietly say “Oh God” as Jindal approached a microphone.

    The remark inspired a brief Internet guessing game about who had said it and questions about whether someone at MSNBC was mocking the Republican governor.

    Matthews’ barely audible “Oh God” appeared to be a classic case of someone talking on TV without realizing their microphone was on, and potentially embarrassing to a network many Republicans already regard with suspicion because of left-leaning talk shows by Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow.

    “I was taken aback by that peculiar stagecraft, the walking from somewhere in the back of this narrow hall, the winding staircase looming there, the odd antibellum look of the scene,” Matthews said in a script for his “Hardball” show on Wednesday. “Was this some mimicking of a president walking along the state floor to the East Room?”

    Matthews said he wasn’t referring to Jindal himself, or anything he expected the governor to say.

    A clip of the “Oh God” remark quickly made the Internet rounds. Before it was known that Matthews had said it, the Huffington Post asked readers to guess who it was and nearly 7,000 people responded: 32 percent had guessed Matthews, 35 percent said it was Olbermann, his co-anchor, 15 percent said it was an MSNBC camera operator and 18 percent thought it was a producer.

    It’s not the first time Matthews’ mouth has gotten him noticed for the wrong reasons. He was ridiculed by some Republicans for saying he “felt this thrill going up my leg” during an Obama speech, but later defended the remark as an objective look at Obama’s ability to inspire through his speeches.

    After some protests by women’s groups, Matthews said he was wrong last year to say that the reason Hillary Clinton was a senator and candidate for president “is that her husband messed around.”

  10. Even at that it does not sound like the market was favorably disposed toward the speech. Words are simply not enough, particularly when they emanate from someone who is constantly changing his position.

  11. Obama Budget Taxes Richest to Help Pay for Health Care

    By JACKIE CALMES and ROBERT PEAR
    Published: February 25, 2009

    WASHINGTON — President Obama will propose further tax increases on the affluent to help pay for his promise to make health care more accessible and affordable, administration officials said on Wednesday. That plan, coming after recent years in which more wealth became concentrated at the top of the income scale, introduces a politically volatile new edge to the emerging Congressional debate over the new president’s top domestic priorities.

    Mr. Obama will also propose in the budget outline he releases on Thursday to use revenues from the centerpiece of his environmental policy — a plan under which companies will have to purchase permits to exceed pollution emission caps — to pay for an extension of a two-year tax credit that benefits low and middle-income people. The combined effect of the two proposals, on top of Mr. Obama’s existing plan to roll back the Bush-era income tax reductions on upper-income households, would be a pronounced move to redistribute wealth and reimpose a substantially larger share of the tax burden on the most affluent taxpayers.

    Administration officials said the president would seek in the budget he releases on Thursday to cap itemized tax deductions for high-income people, such as couples earning more than about $250,000 a year.
    The officials said the resulting revenues would account for about half of a $634 billion “reserve fund” that Mr. Obama will set aside in his budget to begin addressing health care. The other half would come from Medicare savings, including an end to billions of dollars in subsidies to insurance companies under the Medicare Advantage program, and other possible tax-law changes.
    Administration officials suggested to senior aides in Congress on Wednesday that revenues could be raised by ending the longstanding policy of excluding the value of employer-provided health insurance from income taxes. But the officials emphasized that the administration was not advocating that option, which has long been anathema to organized labor and to some businesses. A more modest variation would be to cap the amount of tax-excludable benefits, which would hit the most generous health insurance plans that tend to go only to company executives.

    Besides health care, Mr. Obama also signaled in his nationally televised address on Tuesday night to a joint session of Congress that he wanted to sign into law this year an energy and environmental initiative to cap the emissions of gases, particularly carbon, that are blamed for climate change and to spur development of non-polluting energy alternatives. As the president envisions it, according to people familiar with the plan, his initiative would require businesses to buy permits to emit the pollutants. Because the businesses would pass on their costs to customers, Mr. Obama will propose to use most of the government’s revenues from the permits to finance his new “Making Work Pay” tax credit beyond the two years covered in his just-enacted $787 billion economic recovery plan. That tax credit annually will provide $400 to low-wage and middle-income workers or $800 to couples. After Mr. Obama signed the stimulus package into law, the Treasury last week ordered employers to adjust tax withdrawals from employees’ pay to reflect the benefit as of April 1.

    The remainder of the projected revenues from the sale of the permits will finance Mr. Obama’s campaign promise for $15 billion a year over 10 years to subsidize research and development of alternative energy sources. The stimulus package also included a big down-payment on costs to develop a national electricity grid to harness and distribute the energy from wind farms and other places.

    The Obama initiatives add up to one of the most far-reaching domestic agendas in years, and at a time when the president and Congress already are grappling with a economic crisis worse than any in decades. On Wednesday, a day after his address to a joint session of Congress and a day before he unveils a 10-year budget blueprint, Democratic leaders on Capitol Hill pledged to get behind Mr. Obama and pass a health care measure this year. “By the end of this year, I want to do something significant dealing with health care,” the Senate majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, told reporters. He and other Senate Democratic leaders challenged Republicans in Congress to join them in that effort as well as on energy, education and housing initiatives.

    In the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, likewise called for action to “make key investments to expand access and make health care more affordable, make America energy independent, and ensure a strong education for all children,” while meeting Mr. Obama’s goal to cut the annual deficits, now more than $1 trillion for this year and next, in half by the end of his term. “I have offered the President the full commitment that Congress will work with him to achieve those goals,” she said.

    Early signs, however, suggest that Republicans are mobilizing for a fight, especially with Mr. Obama putting an additional tax-raising proposal on the table. At a time when the federal government under both former President George W. Bush and Mr. Obama has been forced to prop up the financial and auto industries as well as state and local governments, and to pump billions of stimulus money into the economy, Republican Party leaders called for government to get out of the way and let the private sector lead the way. Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, who gave that Republican response Tuesday night to Mr. Obama’s speech, and the Republican Party chairman, Michael Steele, repeated the message on a Wednesday morning television shows. Mr. Steele emailed videos of the appearances to supporters and reporters, saying that he and Mr. Jindal were continuing “our party’s fight for reform as the Democrats proposed more wasteful spending and bigger government.”

    nytimes.com/2009/02/26/us/politics/26budget.html?hp

  12. I am concerned about all the WH czars that may undermine the confirmed cabinet members. I’m surprised more people are not commenting on this.
    ——————————-
    Byrd is and others may as well. You could view it as an effort to focus on each problem area. You could also view it as a case of Mr Obama putting some distance between himself and these issue. Or you could view it the way Byrd does, as an expansion of executive power and a threat to the separation of powers. Knowing Mr. Obama as we do, I am more inclinded to believe the prize is behind doors 2 and 3. Speaking of bureacracy in Viet Nam we had 25 staff people for every soldier in the field. It is no way to win a war.

  13. The Obama initiatives add up to one of the most far-reaching domestic agendas in years, and at a time when the president and Congress already are grappling with a economic crisis worse than any in decades.
    ———————–
    In that case, it had better be the right program.

  14. Evening, Hillfriends. Bravo, Admin! And, I especially appreciate the comments of the Archbishop – quel courage!

    A summary of today’s trading; note below, “…The selling effort came amid a lack of positive headlines and continued uncertainty in the financial system, which failed to improve after President Obama gave his first speech before a joint meeting of Congress.” So, “this is the beginning of the end?” The end of WHAT?

    * * * * *
    4:25 pm : A rally in financial stocks helped the broader market overcome a fit of early weakness, but the advance proved unsustainable as stocks finished the session more than 1% lower.

    Stocks spent the majority of the session trading in the red as traders opted to take profits from Tuesday’s 4% advance. The selling effort came amid a lack of positive headlines and continued uncertainty in the financial system, which failed to improve after President Obama gave his first speech before a joint meeting of Congress.

    The need for additional capital amid such uncertainty led both Lincoln National (LNC 11.21, -1.83) and Allstate (ALL 17.57, -1.07) to cut their quarterly dividends. Meanwhile, an article in The Wall Street Journal seemed to suggest Wells Fargo (WFC 13.40, +0.35) should cut its dividend to help improve the bank’s capital ratios.

    The Fed and Treasury released key details of its bank stress-test plan. Officials will assess potential losses at banks and estimated resources to absorb those losses.

    Capital provided under the plan will come in the form of preferred stock that is convertible into common equity at a 10% discount to the price prevailing prior to Feb. 9. Securities under the plan will carry a 9% dividend yield and will be convertible at the issuer’s option.

    The plan essentially backstops financial institutions, though the banks receiving capital will be required to submit monthly reports on their lending and will be subject to restrictions on paying quarterly common stock dividends, repurchasing shares, and pursuing cash acquisitions.

    http : / / finance.yahoo.com/marketupdate/overview?u

  15. LOL…I’m watching that new show called: Lie to Me.

    They just used obama as an example of using the “finger” when he talked about McCain being a good man.

    Too funny!

  16. Clinton warns Israel over delays in Gaza aid

    Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has relayed messages to Israel in the past week expressing anger at obstacles Israel is placing to the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. A leading political source in Jerusalem noted that senior Clinton aides have made it clear that the matter will be central to Clinton’s planned visit to Israel next Tuesday.

    Ahead of Clinton’s visit, special U.S. envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell is expected to issue a sharply worded protest on the same matter when he arrives here Thursday.

    “Israel is not making enough effort to improve the humanitarian situation in Gaza,” senior U.S. officials told Israeli counterparts last week, and reiterated Washington’s view by saying that “the U.S. expects Israel to meet its commitments on this matter.”
    Advertisement

    Two weeks ago, four senior European Union officials sent a letter to the prime minister, foreign minister, defense minister and Yitzhak Herzog, the minister charged with humanitarian aid transfers to the Gaza Strip, protesting delays in the flow of aid through the crossings into Gaza. The officials also demanded that Israel formulates a clear policy on this issue.

    In response, Israel explained that the delay stems, in part, from the uncertainty regarding the fate of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit, but also stressed that efforts are being made to improve the situation.

    Herzog also asked Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak to hold a meeting in order to revaluate current policy on the delivery of aid to Gaza.

    Sources at the defense establishment confirmed last night that pressure is increasing on Israel to reopen the crossings to larger volumes of aid for the Gaza Strip. Defense sources said that Israel will find it increasingly difficult to counter the pressure, and may agree to more extensive use of the crossings for aid. Currently, fewer than 200 trucks carrying aid are allowed through daily. The U.S., the EU and the UN are demanding that at least 500 trucks carrying aid be allowed into the Strip daily.

    Major General (res.) Amos Gilad, who heads the diplomatic-security bureau at the Defense Ministry, issued a statement yesterday denying European Union reports on the breadth of humanitarian aid being allowed to enter Gaza. “Contrary to EU reports, 116,400 tons of humanitarian aid was allowed into the Gaza Strip according to requests made by international organizations and private groups since the cease-fire went into effect on January 18. Any claim of food shortage [in Gaza] is false.”

    However, an incident occured last week at a crossing into the Gaza Strip that gave a very different impression to a senior observer. When Senator John Kerry visited the Strip, he learned that many trucks loaded with pasta were not permitted in. When the chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee inquired as to the reason for the delay, he was told by United Nations aid officials that “Israel does not define pasta as part of humanitarian aid – only rice shipments.”

    Kerry asked Barak about the logic behind this restriction, and only after the senior U.S. official’s intervention did the defense minister allow the pasta into the Strip. The U.S. senator updated colleagues at the Senate and other senior officials in Washington of the details of his visit.

    The issue of humanitarian aid is central to a major debate between Israel’s foreign and defense ministries. The former supports broadening the amount and types of aid, while the defense ministry opposes anything it considers “concessions” to Hamas.

    A senior source dealing with humanitarian aid issues on the Israeli side said that Gilad has prepared a list of “humanitarian aid items” and refuses to broaden it. “Authority is in the hands of one person, and he is not willing to help,” the source said. “This is outrageous. Why should a senior American official issue a protest on pasta in order for us to recognize that we need to allow it into the Gaza Strip?”

    Meanwhile, Palestinian sources warned last night that the American plan for a $900 million in reconstruction aid for the Gaza Strip will not have an effect without a cease-fire agreement with Israel. As long as Israel refuses to allow the transfer of iron and cement into the Strip, the sources said, it will be impossible to rebuild the destroyed infrastructure. The same sources also expressed skepticism at the value of Clinton’s scheduled visit, saying that without a government that can be pressured into making substantive concessions to the Palestinian Authority, the visit is void of meaning

    http://haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1066821.html

  17. ADMIN opens with:

    No specificity, no inspiration, no confidence. Obama’s economic “plans” are as sleeveless as Mary Todd Michelle in the February cold.

    …what a great line and metaphor…it says it all…

  18. JanH Says:
    February 25th, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    How the White House Choppers Spiraled Out of Control

    By Mark Thompson / Washington Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009

    One response of the Bush Administration to the attacks of 9/11 was to invade Iraq. Another was to order up a new fleet of hyper-secure helicopters to transport the Commander in Chief — out of concern that a President borne by the current generation of choppers could be cut off from the rest of the world.

    ===============

    Paging Sarah Palin … can you sell these for us on eBay?

  19. I am just getting here to post about the Speechifier and last night’s words – just words. Is it me, or have the Obama’s never been taught about decorum and dignity? When he acknowledged her [in her summer cocktail gown] and she mouthed, “I love you.” and blew him a kiss, I almost hurled. My, what undignified behavior for our 1st Black couple.

    And, don’t even get me started on how all Peloopsi wanted to do was slap the Huckster and tell him to ‘shut up and kiss me’ with all those tingles going up both her legs. I wonder of Mary Todd is jealous of her, if not she should be for Peloopsi, imho, wants her man in the worst way. This is just my opinion based on what I see everytime Peloopsi is near him. lol. I also noticed that the student beside Mary Todd warmly hugged the lady to her right [was it Carol Mosely Braun?] but was stiff as a board when Mary Todd tried to embrace her – any one else notice this?

    I don’t understand why the Republicans applauded any of the rhetoric the ‘eloquent’ speechifer spouted forth; it at best was disingenuous. And, it worried me that they were trying to push Sarah aside and promote Jindal, I guess they know better now. I hope. Sarah would have knocked the rebuttal out of the ball park. Why didn’t they call on her? Oligarchy no doubt.

    And our girl was radiant and unmistakable in her fuschia outfit that stood out so well in the audience.

  20. Guess who caused the 130 point falloff in the DOW in the last 30 minutes of trading?

    MARKET ENDS WHIPLASH DAY LOWER- CNBC

    The Dow [.DJIA 7270.89 -80.05 (-1.09%) ] closed lower on Wednesday after President Obama warned of stricter oversight for Wall Street, raising the specter of greater regulation that investors fear could sap profits.

    Obama’s comments near the market close rattled investors; however not every Dow component was punished.

    In fact Bank of America [BAC 5.16 0.43 (+9.09%) ] soared on Wednesday largely due to comments from CEO Kenneth Lewis who said his bank does not need more federal aid and is in better shape than most rivals, even as “rumors, innuendo and falsehoods” cause its stock to fall.

    Most bank stocks closed in positive territory on Wednesday

  21. Shortermer, I did notice that the little girl fell into the hug with the woman on her right but NOT Me-chelle. You are right, the little girl was stiff as a board.

  22. birdgal from last post (sorry I was out all day, doing stuff).

    Yes, it is a Prius, and I don’t like payments either. Of the cars we looked at, it had the best price, and the best gas mileage, and in the end, gave us the lowests payment. Since we are concerned about the economy and the price of gas, it seemed the only way we could go. The other car was falling apart.

  23. I don’t mind Michelle mouthing “I love you.” Bill said that to Hillary when she was speaking at the convention. I thought it was very sweet.

  24. JanH

    Barbara Budd and Carol Off are talking to Quebec public retirees who are shocked, shocked that their retirement fund has lost 25%. My question is, have they been living in a cave?

    Second, and the best part…you should hear the ladies on the subject of Bobby Lindal–fell off my chair laughing and that was only the program intro… can’t wait for the actual piece.

  25. LOL…Emjay…

    I think the shock factor is how much and how fast our investments are falling.

    Canadians have a quirky kind of dry sense of humor and Barbara and Carol show it off best.

  26. When Hillary was speaking at the convention, did she start out saying something like, “Ladies, gentlemen, fellow Democrats and the former president of the United States” . Is that when Bill mouthed, “I love you” or was it after Hillary had given a great speech and Bill was just bursting with pride for his fantastic wife in that great appropriate orange pants suit.

  27. Geithner slams bankers for bad judgment
    Wed Feb 25, 2009

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Wednesday scolded bankers for creating a damaging loss of confidence, but said nationalizing the banks was the wrong strategy for the United States. In an interview with PBS television’s “NewsHour” program, Geithner said he was “deeply offended by the quality of judgments we’ve seen in the leadership of our nation’s financial institutions.”

    “They’ve created a deep hole of public distrust and anger which is enormously damaging, and they have a huge obligation to try to restore that basic trust and confidence. And we’re going to make sure they do it by making sure that our assistance comes with conditions,” he said.

    As regulators launched a new “stress test” program for about 20 of the largest U.S. financial institutions, Geithner said the Treasury stands ready to support banks that would need more capital to withstand a worse-than-expected recession.

    reuters.com/article/politicsNews/idUSTRE51O88820090225

  28. NewMexicoFan Says:

    February 25th, 2009 at 9:03 pm
    birdgal from last post (sorry I was out all day, doing stuff).

    Yes, it is a Prius, and I don’t like payments either. Of the cars we looked at, it had the best price, and the best gas mileage, and in the end, gave us the lowests payment. Since we are concerned about the economy and the price of gas, it seemed the only way we could go. The other car was falling apart.

    ———————————————————————————————

    My car is 13 years old and is in the shop today. It has been a good car, usual maintenance, but I don’t need that size any longer. And if it needs a lot of work, I may be forced to do it, sooner than later. I’m not sure, what car I want to get, but I have wanted to wait 6 months or another year. The repair bill will probably tell me what to do. I’ll have to look at the Prius.

  29. Wednesday, February 25, 2009,

    Vice-president Biden in Philadelphia Friday

    Vice President Joe Biden will be in Philadelphia on Friday for a meeting of the Middle Class Task Force. The focus of the meeting will be on the creation of green jobs, according to a release from the White House. The Task Force will hear presentations from experts on the potential to create green jobs as a part of economic recovery and on how to connect people to training and opportunities in a green economy, and will hold an interactive question and answer session, according to the White House.

    Gov. Ed Rendell and senators Arlen Specter and Bob Casey will attend the event. Biden also will be joined by several members of President Obama’s cabinet, including Secretary of the Department of Energy Steven Chu, Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack, Secretary of Department of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan, Department of Labor Secretary-designate Hilda Solis, Director of White House Domestic Policy Council Melody Barnes and Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner.

    The event will be at William B. Irvine Auditorium on the University of Pennsylvania campus. It begins at 12:30 p.m. Friday. For more information, visit the Task Force’s Web site.

    whitehouse.gov/strongmiddleclass/

    bizjournals.com/philadelphia/stories/2009/02/23/daily40.html

  30. In all candor, I like Obama much more than his wife, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Chris Dodd, Pat Leahy, Claire McCaskill, Donna Brazille, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, MSNBC, CNN, and Gloria Borger….there, I admit it.

  31. I commend this interview with Hillary’s right hand man in Pakistan – it is where he told the world about this week’s tri-lateral meeting.

    Based on his insights and demeanor, I have no doubt about the strength he and our girl are bringing to the table around which heretofore no one was sitting.

    h and Ws charlierose.com/view/interview/10094

  32. jbstonesfan,

    I guess I would then ask, what exactly do you like about him?

    Because I find him deceitful, unethical, and slightly if not a lot schizophrensic.

    The rest as well.

  33. On NPR, they are saying that it is “the State Dept’ that is scolding China about human rights.

    I thought that it was Amnesty Internat’l making the noise.

    Wonder if it was done with SoS knowledge.

  34. Emjay Says:
    February 25th, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    On NPR, they are saying that it is “the State Dept’ that is scolding China about human rights.

    I thought that it was Amnesty Internat’l making the noise.

    Wonder if it was done with SoS knowledge.

    ===============

    Have you noticed how the press is talking as though Hillary were acting totally as an independent force, rather than relaying orders from the ‘president’?

  35. Emjay,

    Thanks for the link. I really respect Richard Holbrooke. I’ve only watched 1/2 of the show so far but it is excellent!

  36. Have you noticed how the press is talking as though Hillary were acting totally as an independent force, rather than relaying orders from the ‘president’?

    I was thinking the same thing.

  37. Well- I tracked it –

    CBS/AP first put the story out, neglecting to mention that it is the dept’s ANNUAL report.

    Matthew Lee immediately picked up on it, making it sound slightly more sleezy- this is his first paragraph:

    “The United States on Wednesday scolded China for a litany of human rights abuses last year even though Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton suggested during her recent Beijing visit that the issue would take a back seat to broader concerns like the global financial crisis.”

    He also neglected the fact that it was an annual report.

    And the wild beasts were tearing the story to bits after that.

  38. Just reread the stories- CBS/AP/Lee did mention that it was an annual report…in the next-to-last line of the story.

  39. jbstonesfan Says:

    February 25th, 2009 at 10:35 pm

    ————————-

    LOL…I sure hope so. Can we add John Edwards to the list?

  40. Emjay,

    I love the idea of these trilateral talks, bringing them all together on neutral ground. It is ingenious and very “Hillary.”

  41. Along the lines of making promises for the future, remember when Jimmy Carter said this in 04.18.1977:

    “These are the goals we set for 1985:

    –Reduce the annual growth rate in our energy demand to less than two percent.

    –Reduce gasoline consumption by ten percent below its current level.

    –Cut in half the portion of United States oil which is imported, from a potential level of 16 million barrels to six million barrels a day.

    –Establish a strategic petroleum reserve of one billion barrels, more than six months’ supply.

    –Increase our coal production by about two thirds to more than 1 billion tons a year.

    –Insulate 90 percent of American homes and all new buildings.

    –Use solar energy in more than two and one-half million houses.”

  42. I was raised in a very liberal Jewish family. My late father and 80 yr old Mother marched with Dr. King. I was hurt and upset at the black anti-semitism that reared it’s ugly head in the 80’s with farakhan and the “hymie” town remarks of Jackson, but never wavered in my democratic core beliefs until this past election. I became much more conservative as far as my finances and nore hawkish. I am, off course, liberal on almost all socila issues from gay marriage to pro-choice.
    With at said, and I know this will upset a few, I believe that we cannot negotiate with groups like Hamas, Hizbullah, and rogue nations like Iran who seek the death of my people. I love Hillary, but will support a Israeli premtive strije on Iran if they attempt to weaponize the centrifuges. I apologize to those of you more dovish, but as a Jew, I am very scared at this tie.

  43. This is sad:

    Leibovitz Pawns Life’s Work

    Apparently, the rumors of Annie Leibovitz’s financial troubles were true: The famous photographer, who has shot Queen Elizabeth, Demi Moore and Miley Cyrus, signed over copyrights, photographic negatives and contract rights existing now or in the future to a high-profile loan shark in order to secure a $5 million loan last fall and a $10.5 million loan in December. The Independent reports that the portraitist, whose clients have included Disney and Vanity Fair, will use part of the money to consolidate mortgages on her city homes. She’s also grappling with the costs of her elaborate Manhattan studio, lawsuits brought against her by a lighting company and stylist for $700,000, and the expenses of raising her children after the death of her former partner Susan Sontag.

  44. If it was an annual report then it was probably prepared by partisans in the Bush Administration in conjunction with Amnesty International and was used to justify the hard line which the last administration took toward China.

    By the time that report was completed however the Administration changed, the policy vis a vis China softened and the economic crisis occurred. The report was still useful but it would not be the centerpiece of China policy. A keen disappointment to the authors.

    So they reacted in a typical fashion. Amnesty International threw a hissy fit, and contacted fellow traveler Matt Lee. Matt writes a blog twisting Hillarys words and implies that she is acting unilaterally when everyone knows that Mr. Obama is in the loop. They are criticizing him, and they are wrong.

    That said, this too shall pass.

  45. “I believe that we cannot negotiate with groups like Hamas, Hizbullah, and rogue nations like Iran who seek the death of my people. I love Hillary, but will support a Israeli premtive strije on Iran if they attempt to weaponize the centrifuges.”

    ———————————-

    As a fellow Jew, and one that has experience anti-semitism first hand, as well as heard about the pogroms from my grandparents who fled Russia because of them, and as a student of Jewish history through the ages, I agree with you 100%. There can be no negotiating with any terrorist group whose first aim is to destroy Israel and its people.

  46. TV nets plead for Clinton’s return; his first speech outdrew Obama’s

    As The Ticket reported in its morning-after analysis here earlier today, President Obama sure is a good talker.
    The text of his speech is available here and the Republican response of Gov. Bobby Jindal is over here. We also have a brief news video below.

    For his maiden congressional address, Obama cleaned President Bush’s clock in terms of TV viewers willing to watch him speak to a bunch of stuffed congressional suits in the House chamber. Which isn’t saying much. But it is something for a new president to cling to, especially when you’re otherwise up against the sleuths of “NCIS.”

    Obama got 52.4 million viewers last night (rounded off for those visiting the bathroom) in 37.2 million homes for a 49 share and 32.5 rating. In his last joint address in 2008 GWB got 37.5 million in 27.7 million homes for a 38 share and 24.7 rating. Bush did top Obama in 2003 with 62 million and a 56 share and we didn’t even have the Iraq reality show going then. (But it was coming.)
    Bush’s first joint session appearance drew nearly 39.8 million and a 42 share.

    However, Obama still lags the audience-drawing power of one President Bill Clinton. Sixteen years ago this week, when there were millions fewer Americans, Big Bill drew nearly 15 million more viewers — 66.9 million for his first congressional speech in 44.2 million homes for a 44.3 rating.

    No wonder No. 42 gets paid so much money for his speeches. For his part, over on Greg Sargent’s Plum Line today the secretary of State’s husband pronounced Obama’s speech “terrific” and “a real success” that struck “the right balance.”

    latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/02/obama-speech-2.html

  47. While Sargent must have been on drugs when he listened to obama’s terrible speech, I love that Bill Clinton got more viewers.

  48. From ttorrellas

    Please pass this on to your group. I’m working on putting together a NYC area viewing of:
    “How Obama Got Elected” documentary by John Ziegler.
    The perspective place is The Performing Art Center of Baruch College
    I’m trying for a weekend; but it might have to be a weekday evening.
    *The evening will begin with ?Wine & Cheese(if allowed by the center);
    **Followed by the Viewing
    ***Concluding with an “Open Discussion”.
    Cost approx $25pp
    The space holds 175 people
    I’m hoping to put this together within the up-coming month
    Your Feedback is GREATLY Appreciated
    He said on Great tonight that the 1st 30 mins is completely about the primaries & how the media was so unfair to Hillary. He even said the “We” her supporters have every right too be really upset.
    I’m pushing for this because this conversation needs to happen, NOW!!
    2012 will be here before we know it. I can’t watch this train wreck media again.

  49. When the world around us seems to be coming unglued leave it to Chris Matthews aka Spittles to provide a moment of comic relief. Unlike Letterman Tweetie is actually funny, but I must confess it is an acquired taste cultivated only after you run out of pins and vodoo dolls.

    According to an unimpeachable source (Drudge–who else) after Mr Obama completed his version of The Funeral Oration of Pericles, and just as the cameras swung over to the Louisiana Governors Mansion where such estimable public servants as Huey Long and Edward Edwards once counted their bribes and sipped mint julips to focus on the current governor a (yikes) Republican for rebuttal the words Oh God emitted from the mouth of you know who–Spittles and raced through the blogesphere at the speed of light.

    Drudge in his infinite wisdom mistakenly assumed that this was an effort on Tweeties part to diss Mr Obamas opponent. I reject that idea in toto for two reasons. First, we all know Tweedie would never do such a thing. Experience has shown that he is a paragadim of impartiality, and a guardian of the journalistic tradition of Murrow. And every night he proves it on Hardball. Second, I am privy to the real story of what happened and Drudge is simply wrong.

    Imagine if you will the msnbc studio. If you have not seen it let me describe it for you. If you are old enough to remember the set of HeeHaw–with grandpa, the basset hound and the crazy man, then you will have some idea of what it is like. That beautiful brunette is nowhere to be found and neither thankfully is the maligant dwarf.

    In this case, Grandpa Capus is seen leaning back in his rocking chair, counting the days til retirement and watching the paint dry. Then out of the blue he says whats for dinner?

    The camera pans to the wooden floor and –funny you should ask there is Keith Dolberman on all fours eating kibbles and bits out of a plastic pail which says KO=7 million dollar man. He brushes aside Grandpas question and says I cannot answer my mouth is full. My fine sense personal honor, manners and decorum will not permit it.

    Camera then pans to the table and there ya sure you betcha it is Tweetie, the man of the hour. And in fact he has just spent the last hour swooning over that speech by Mr Obama. Its that old devil moon and that tingle down the leg and all of a sudden as he reaches for the microphone he spills a pitcher of ice water in his lap and without thinking he is heard to say– Oh God!

    So as you see Drudge has got it all wrong. There is a simple minded explanation for everything and Tweetie bless his heart is no exception.

  50. Please pass this on to your group. I’m working on putting together a NYC area viewing of:
    “How Obama Got Elected” documentary by John Ziegler.
    ——————————-
    Turndown- how do we get ahold of them. Please email if you know.

  51. It used to be that many lawyers read their opening statements. It is seldom done anymore, because it interferes with the ability to communicate with the audience be that a judge or a jury. Mr Obama continues to read his speeches.

    It used to be that trial lawyers like Ed Williams (Williams & Connolly) would say that trial practice is different than politics because your opponent, and your audience will hold you accountable for the promises you make to them in the opening statement.

    Today, and especially in a time of national crisis, the cournty will hold politicians accountable. And their opponent will certainly remind them of what the politician promised but failed t deliver. Popularity is relevant, but performance is magnetic north and ultimately the needle will point there.

  52. If all there was to being president was delivering stemwinder speeches, then we should dispense with the election process and hire actors to read their lines to a credulous audience.

    In this country the President is the symbolic leader of the nation, the head of government and the leader of his political party. To be effective he must be fully engaged on all three fronts. Obama must act as the leader of government, and so far he has not. That is clearly a weakness in a time of national peril.

  53. wbboei Says:
    February 26th, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Please pass this on to your group. I’m working on putting together a NYC area viewing of:
    “How Obama Got Elected” documentary by John Ziegler.
    ——————————-
    Turndown- how do we get ahold of them. Please email if you know.

    =============

    The organizer would like interested people to email me and I’ll forward to her.
    tdo@turndownobama.com

  54. I do not think the fact that Mr Obama drew a larger audience than Bush in his initial address to the nation proves anything.

    When Bush took office, the state of the country was sound. We had an economic surplus and we were at peace.
    Ergo, there was less reason to tune in.

    When Mr Obama took office, the nation was in serious debt and we were at war on two fronts. Ergo, there was reason for more people to tune in.

    In each case, the level of public interest in the speech had more to do with conditions in the country than the popularity of the new president.

    Frankly, it is surprising that Obama did not get as much participation as Bill Clinton did at the beginning of his term. Conditions in the country then were better than now so the obvious reason Bill did better is the public liked him more.

  55. International law recognizes the inherent right of any nation to defend itself against an aggressor, through means consistent with the nature and extent of the threat.

    In the case of Israel it is clear that Iran has the will and the soon the capacity to launch a thermonuclear weapon against Israel. Therefore, Israel has the lawful right to launch a preemptive strike to destroy that capacity when the threat becomes imminent.

    I am not privy to Hillarys thinking on the subject, but I suspect she will try to enlist the aid of other nations in the Middle East, China and Russia to dissuade Iran from proceeding to completion.

    There are other points of leverage as well, including the ability to shut off their gas supply. A boycott of this nature would bring down the Iranian government within a matter of weeks. I have an Iranian-American friend who hates the current regime and advocates such a boycott.

    He tells me that Iran has not built a refinery since the time of the Shaw and buys its gasoline from Saudi Arabia and one other country. His family was Persian, educated and has an intense dislike of the Mullahs who are Arab and have taken over his country. He says the Iranian people love America and dislike their own government.

  56. When Bush took office, the state of the country was sound. We had an economic surplus and we were at peace.
    Ergo, there was less reason to tune in.
    —————————
    I forgot to mention that Bill Clinton was the one who was responsible for giving his successor peace and prosperity.

    That is an important point because the congresswoman I knew invited me to come see Gingrich when he passed through a neighboring state. I did.

    That night Newt claimed that he and the Republicans were responsible for that surplus– which was pure bunk.

    Bill was responsible for the surplus. Newt was responsible for shutting down government and pleading for it to reopen. He was wired that night.

  57. wbboei Says:
    February 26th, 2009 at 12:25 am

    Please pass this on to your group. I’m working on putting together a NYC area viewing of:
    “How Obama Got Elected” documentary by John Ziegler.
    ——————————-
    Turndown- how do we get ahold of them. Please email if you know.

    ===========

    Mountainsong at pumapac.org is interested in a viewing in the Seattle area but has not sent me her email yet.
    tdo@turndownobama.com

  58. I had coffee with the Arbitrator this morning. He told me he watched the lovefest last night and noted that Clyburn acted like he was Mr Obama’s shadow, and that got me thinking about an old Frank Sinatra-Sammy Davis jr song whose lyrics went like this:
    ———————————-
    Like the wallpaper sticks to the wall
    Like the seashore clings to the sea
    Like you’ll never get rid of your shadow
    Barack, you’ll never get rid of me

  59. wbboe:Enjoyed your description of the msnbc Jindal debut as a
    communicator to be heralded by the RNC as their spokesman and presidential poster boy.The proverbial crock runneth over.
    I found an old title for Tweety when he begins his april showers
    oratorial love fest with Obama his source of male stimulation of his G spot legs. The word is a ” Sialoquent “.When his mic. has a problem, a plumber is called.

    By ABM90 God morning to all my friends and Hillary Army.

  60. Remember how when the State Department announced that Asia would be Hillary’s first trip abroad? Remember how American and British journalists pounced with glee at the idea that her powers were being minimalized/weakened because envoys were being added to her regime for important hotspots?

    I love how this woman has been vindicated. Reporters now, Asian, British, and even a few American have had their eyes opened at just how powerful this woman really is, how educated and hard-working, and most of all, how all-encompassing her mandate is and will become in the future.

    Bravo Miss Hillary!!!

  61. The State Department’s 2008 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
    Hillary Rodham Clinton

    Secretary of State

    Washington, DC
    February 25, 2009

    SECRETARY CLINTON: I apologize for being a little late. This is such an important event in the annual calendar of the State Department. You know, human progress depends on the human spirit, and this inescapable truth has never been more apparent than it is today. The challenges of this new century require us to summon the full range of human talents to move our nation and the world forward. Guaranteeing the right of every man, woman and child to participate fully in society and to live up to his or her God-given potential is an ideal that has animated our nation since its founding.

    It is enshrined also in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and was reflected in President Obama’s Inaugural Address when he reminded us that every generation must carry forward the belief that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

    Our foreign policy must also advance these timeless values which empower people to speak, think, worship and assemble freely, to lead their work and family lives with dignity, and to know that dreams of a brighter future are within their reach. Now, the promotion of human rights is essential to our foreign policy, but as a personal aside, I have worked for many years and in various capacities on the issues that are encompassed under the rubric: human rights. It is of profound importance to me and has informed my views and shaped my beliefs in ways large and small.

    As Secretary of State, I will continue to focus my own energies on human rights, and I will engage as many others as I can to join me, both through traditional and untraditional challenges. I am looking for results. I am looking for changes that actually improve the lives of the greatest numbers of people. Hopefully, we will be judged over time by successful results from these efforts. To begin, not only will we seek to live up to our ideals on American soil; we will pursue greater respect for human rights as we engage other nations and peoples around the world. Now, some of our work will be conducted in government meetings and official dialogues. That’s important to advancing our cause. But I believe strongly we must rely on more than one approach as we strive to overcome tyranny and subjugation that weakens the human spirit, limits human possibility, and undermines human progress. We will make this a global effort that reaches beyond governments alone. I intend for us to work with nongovernmental organizations, businesses, religious leaders, schools and universities as well as individual citizens, all of whom can play a vital role in creating a world where human rights are accepted, respected, and protected.

    Our commitment to human rights is driven by our faith and our moral values, and by our belief that America must first be an exemplar of our own ideals. But we also know that our security and prosperity and progress is enhanced when people in other places emerge from the shadows to gain the opportunities and rights that we enjoy and treasure.

    It is now my pleasure to bring to the podium Karen Stewart, Acting Assistant Director* for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, who will present the report and take your questions. Karen?

    Thank you. Thank you all very much.

    state.gov/secretary/rm/2009a/02/119786.htm

  62. wbboei : How about the oldie I mentioned a while back.Clayburn and Obama are an updated version of “The Goldust Twins ” that appeared on a cleaning powder box years ago . and of course that foot tapper of vaudeville by Ted Lewis
    ” Me and My Shadow ” that just me 25 cents to attend using my lunch money and a day of hookey from afternoon classes.

    By ABM90 Ah Memories are priceless

  63. Anyone notice how hard Obama has been working the SOS Hillary Clinton?

    After Hillary’s whirlwind trip visiting Asia, she was barely home a day, when her SOS schedule was packed jammed with presidents and PM’s of foreign countries, at least 10, all visiting on the same day?

    http //hillaryunleashed.wordpress.com

  64. According to Obama’s deputy director of health reform, Obama IS committed to offering the public option in health reform. Seems to me that was the key strength of Hillary”s plan and hardly a nightmare.

  65. I am not privy to Hillarys thinking on the subject, but I suspect she will try to enlist the aid of other nations in the Middle East, China and Russia to dissuade Iran from proceeding to completion.
    ———-
    wbboei, Iran is keen on running a gas pipeline to India via Pakistan — all three want it. If the US is nice to India and not neglect or sideline it (as it usually does under a Dem govt), may be they can persuade India to put a few conditions on Iran. India wants to be an independent international power player (not always saddled with a neighbor like Pakistan) and if Bush ever did one thing right, he treated India right.

  66. jbstonesfan Says:

    February 25th, 2009 at 10:00 pm
    In all candor, I like Obama much more than his wife, Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Chris Dodd, Pat Leahy, Claire McCaskill, Donna Brazille, Howard Dean, Harry Reid, MSNBC, CNN, and Gloria Borger….there, I admit it.
    &&&&&&&&&&

    You can fall for his fake charm, his fake “bi-partisanship”, etc. It means his con job works on some people. He’s one of those insecure people who needs to be liked. Real leaders know that being liked at all costs is not what is needed. People will like you if you step up, take responsibility, lead, and get things done.

    I don’t see him stepping up, taking responsibility, leading, or getting things done.

    We hear speeches. Lots of them. Endless campaigning, because that’s all he is good at.

    If you find this likable, by all means, enjoy. There will be almost four more years to enjoy whatever “this” is.

  67. IF THE SITUATION REGARDING LAYOFFS SUDDENLY IMPROVED, MSM WOULD BE GIVING ALL CREDIT TO OBAMA…

    But will they dare saddle him with any responsibility when, such as now, layoffs continue to get worse?

    Hey Keith, what about a “Special Comment”? “The president is #$&%ing up the country, leading us down the path to doom”.

    Hey Maureen, what about assessing some responsbility to Obama, with one of your clever-by-half columns?

    Hey Tinglelegs: What would you be saying about these layoff numbers if McCain was the 44th POTUS? “McCain’s uneven grasp of the economy is scaring Wall St., and leading to layoffs on Main. St. I don’t know if the country can survive four whole years of John McCain”.

    &&&&&&&&&&&&&
    Here’s the AP story from yahoo.

    yahoo.com/s/ap/20090226/ap_on_bi_go_ec_fi/economy

    New jobless claims jump unexpectedly to 667,000
    ————————————————————–

    WASHINGTON – New jobless claims rose more than expected last week and the number of Americans continuing to receive unemployment benefits has topped 5.1 million, fresh evidence the recession is increasingly forcing employers to shed jobs.

    The Labor Department said Thursday that first-time requests for unemployment benefits jumped to 667,000 from the previous week’s figure of 631,000. Analysts had expected a slight drop in claims.

    The 667,000 new claims are the most since October 1982, though the labor force has grown by about half since then. The four-week average of initial claims, which smooths out fluctuations, rose to 639,000, the highest in more than 26 years.

    JPMorgan Chase & Co. added to the bad news Thursday, saying that it would eliminate about 12,000 jobs as it folds in the operations of failed savings and loan Washington Mutual Inc.

    Separately, U.S. manufacturers saw orders for big-ticket goods plunge by a larger-than-expected 5.2 percent in January as global economic troubles cut demand from customers at home and abroad.

    The latest report on U.S. factory activity, released by the Commerce Department, showed orders falling for a record sixth straight month. The previous record of four months came in 1992.

    And new home sales tumbled 10.2 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 309,000 last month, the worst showing on government records going back to 1963.

    The median sales price fell to $201,100 in January, a record 9.9 percent drop from the previous month. The median price is the midpoint, where half sell for more and half for less. But even lower prices and low mortgage rates haven’t ended the housing market slump.

    All told, it points to more dismal news for an economy stuck in a negative cycle, where consumers scale back purchases as jobs vanish, home prices drop and stock portfolios shrink. Those factors fuel more job cuts by profit-starved businesses.

    Companies are “becoming extremely cautious and … shelving their capital spending plans and working with the minimal possible work force,” said Zach Pandl, an economist at Normura Securities International.

    Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at the IHS Global Insight consulting firm, said: “We have been looking for signs that the economy’s rate of decline might be slowing, but can’t find any.”

    The stock markets shook off the bad news and rose on hopes that the Obama administration is setting aside up to $750 billion to aid the U.S. financial services industry. The Dow Jones industrial average added about 80 points and broader indices also rose in midday trading.

    Meanwhile, the number of people receiving unemployment insurance for more than one week also increased more than expected to 5.1 million. That’s the fifth straight week the figure has set a new record-high on data going back to 1967, and compared with only about 2.8 million people a year ago.

    As a proportion of the work force, the number of people continuing to receive benefits has reached its highest point since July 1983.

    An additional 1.4 million people were receiving benefits under an extended unemployment compensation program approved by Congress last year, as of Feb. 7, the latest data available. That brings the total number of jobless benefit recipients to roughly 6.5 million.

    The increase in continuing claims is an indication that many newly laid off workers are having difficulty finding jobs.

    Economists consider jobless claims a timely, if volatile, indicator of the health of the labor markets and broader economy. A year ago, initial claims stood at about 359,000.

    The labor market has deteriorated rapidly in recent months. Employers cut a net total of nearly 600,000 jobs in January, the highest monthly tally since 1974, sending the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent. Many economists expect the rate to reach 9 percent by the end of this year, even with the passage of President Barack Obama’s $787 billion stimulus package.

    More job losses were announced this week. The NFL said Wednesday that commissioner Roger Goodell has taken a 20 percent pay cut and the league dropped 169 jobs through buyouts, layoffs and other reductions. Spartanburg, S.C.-based textile maker Milliken & Co. said it would cut 650 jobs at facilities worldwide, while jeweler Zale Corp. said it will close 115 stores and eliminate 245 positions.

    On Monday, troubled flash memory maker Spansion Inc. said it will lay off about 3,000 employees and computer chip maker Micron Technology Inc. announced it will slash as many as 2,000 workers by the end of August.

    Among the states, New Jersey had the biggest increase in jobless claims for the week ending Feb. 14, a jump of 2,093 that it attributed to layoffs in the service, transportation and manufacturing industries. The next largest increases were in Virginia, Rhode Island, Vermont and South Dakota.

    California saw the largest drop in claims, a decline of 16,550, which it attributed to fewer layoffs in service industries. Drops of 4,000 or more also were reported in Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Illinois and New York.

  68. According to Obama’s deputy director of health reform, Obama IS committed to offering the public option in health reform. Seems to me that was the key strength of Hillary’’s plan and hardly a nightmare.
    ———————————
    Health care reform? He can change a period or a comma in the regulations and call it reform. The question is: Mr Obama, are you prepared to offer “universal heath coverage–yes or no”? Answer . . . . YES (fortissimo) . . . in the fulsomeness of time (drops voice). Question: and what exactly does that mean? the twelth of never, or within the lifetime of people who are living today, or what? Answer . . . it means . . . it means . . . it means . . . we have a stimulus bill which will create five million new jobs . . . I mean create or save 3.5 million jobs . . . I mean . . . where is gibbs . . . it is his job to be answering these irrelevant questions . . . and my job is to get to the basketball court . . . this job is taking a toll on my free throw percentage.

  69. From dailykos, blogger Barbera Morrill let’s us know what Obama’s priorities are:

    … this morning President Obama will deliver remarks about his budget for the Fiscal Year 2010.

    According to a White House press release, the President will later have lunch with Vice President Biden before meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, and then Treasury Secretary Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

    $$$$$$$$$$$
    And in what will no doubt be the highlight of his day, the basketball-loving President is scheduled to meet members of the Chicago Bulls later this afternoon.
    $$$$$$$$$$$

    &&&&
    I’m not saying a president doesn’t have a right to do fun photo-ops, it’s just that I believe that is the core of his presidency (and was of his campaign).

    Obama: all icing, no cake.

  70. Suspend arms sales to Israel: Amnesty
    Barbara Ferguson | Arab News

    WASHINGTON: Detailed evidence has emerged of Israel’s extensive use of US-made weaponry during its war in Gaza last month, including white phosphorus artillery shells, 500lb bombs and Hellfire missiles. In a report released this week, Amnesty International called on US President Barack Obama to suspend military aid to Israel, and requested an immediate arms embargo on Israel and all Palestinian armed groups. It also called on the UN to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on the parties to the conflict.

    The US has long been the largest arms supplier to Israel. Under a 10-year agreement negotiated by the Bush administration the US will provide $30 billion in military aid to Israel. The US “has a particular obligation to stop any supply that contributes to gross violations of the laws of war and of human rights,” Malcolm Smart, Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa program director, told reporters. “To a large extent, Israel’s military offensive in Gaza was carried out with weapons, munitions and military equipment supplied by the USA and paid for with US taxpayers’ money.”

    The human rights group said those arming both sides in the conflict “will have been well aware of a pattern of repeated misuse of weapons by both parties and must therefore take responsibility for the violations perpetrated.” “Israeli forces used white phosphorus and other US-supplied weapons to carry out serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes,” said Donatella Rovera, who headed the group’s fact-finding mission to southern Israel and Gaza. The report said both Israel and Hamas were guilty of committing crimes under international law, during Israel’s war in Gaza.

    For their part, Palestinian militants in Gaza were arming themselves with “unsophisticated weapons” including rockets made in Russia, Iran and China and bought from “clandestine sources”, it said.

    About 1,300 Palestinians were killed and more than 4,000 injured during the three-week conflict. On the Israeli side 13 were killed, including three civilians. Amnesty said Israel’s armed forces carried out “direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects in Gaza, and attacks, which were disproportionate or indiscriminate”.

    Israeli officials criticized the report, saying the military only used weapons that were legal under international law and did not intentionally target civilians. Israel’s foreign ministry said it was “inappropriate” to compare the supply of weapons to Israel and to Hamas. The Washington-based Anti-Defamation League has blasted Amnesty International as denying Israel the right to defend itself after the human rights organization urged a global freeze on arms sales to Israel.

    arabnews.com/?page=4&section=0&article=119592&d=25&m=2&y=2009

  71. There are many of you in our merry little gang who realize that we yawp and heave about Barky, his enablers, his imperious selfishness and the rest of it – but precious little is achieved by it. We certainly have the human need to just ventilate our spleens and there is a certain joy in that, but I think that there is something more fundamental that we fail to grapple with – something which is the source for just about all the travail and misery that we lament. I refer, of course, to money.
    Our political system is awash in money. Barky hauled in almost a billion dollars to usurp the last election; Bush did it the same way. The lobbyists rule in Washington. Their power over individual members of Congress is pitiable to watch. I’ve worked in the House of Representatives and I have seen it in action. It is more than sad.
    The knowledge that this situation prevails in all the state capitals and in Washington prevents a great many talented people from running for public office. They know that it is a begging job, chasing after campaign millions almost all of the time – and then the inevitable payback when it comes time to write legislation or vote.
    All those dollars are buying something – and it is a lot more than just “access”. It is special pleading, special consideration, favored treatment. Those like Soros who write those whopping big checks just see it as a business expense and they have the full satisfaction of knowing that they have truly “bought something”.
    The system has become so suppurated because of the rising importance and costs of TV advertising and polling. I know it has been tried before and failed, but I just know that SOMEHOW we can legislate and regulate so that a reasonable amount of airtime would be available for a reasonable time to candidates – gratis. The length of campaigns could be limited to a more reasonable time, say, three months. The costs would be a great deal lower, more better people would be willing to get in and the influence of the corporations and the fat cats would be correspondingly smaller.
    It would not be Nirvana, but it would be one helluva lot better than the disgusting cash derby we have now twhich has shown such miserable results.

  72. You can fall for his fake charm, his fake “bi-partisanship”, etc. It means his con job works on some people. He’s one of those insecure people who needs to be liked. Real leaders know that being liked at all costs is not what is needed. People will like you if you step up, take responsibility, lead, and get things done.
    ————————————–
    RGB: you are correct. This faux bi-partisanship is The Way Of The Illinois Combine. It is intended to take competition out of the political process, allocate turf to each political party , and get unscrupulous business interests to pay to play. The public pays the vig, receives sub standard results and the unstated premise among insiders is the old mafia idiom everybodys gotta eat.

    In due course, Fitzgerald will put the meat on those bones but lets face it that is what we are talking about here under the mantra of bipartisanship. The Chicago crew is clever about it. They know the public wants to hear because the public believes it elects these people and they should stop fighting and solve the problems of our country.

    That said, some of us are concerned that this cancer is menastesizing nationwide through the takeover of state party organizations and if that is so then it is deeply troubling. It is why the work Fitz is doing is essential to the country. I am concerned that he now reports to Holder . . . The insiders view bots as useful idiots in this game.

  73. I’m not so sure the American people or the markets can handle this one…….I for one,…is he freaking kidding.

    Obama puts astronomical $4 trillion price tag on new budget..(We move from B’s to T’s)

    President Obama unveiled a staggeringly huge budget this morning, telling the country it will take almost $4 trillion to run the U.S. next year.

    That will be a whopping $1.75 trillion more than the President expects the government to raise in revenue, creating the largest federal deficit in real dollars since the country was fighting World War II.

    The giant numbers are due in part to Obama administration’s decision to print all of the red ink, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and national emergencies, which the Bush administration left out.

    “This budget is an honest accounting of where we are and where we intend to go,” Obama said in releasing the outline of his massive spending plan. “For too long our budget has not told the whole truth about how precious tax dollars are spent.”

    In spite of the gusher of spending, Obama insisted he’s being tight-fisted. He said he’s scouring the budget for waste and targeting popular but unnecessary programs for elimination.

    “You know, there are times where you can afford to redecorate your house, and there are times where you need to focus on rebuilding its foundation,” Obama said. “Today we have to focus on foundations.”

  74. Didn’t this buffoon state he was going to cut the budget deficit in half in his first term? The question is, in half of what, the GNP?

  75. Someone was asking what it is exactly that obama does all day? Well if he isn’t schmoozing with Stevie Wonder or chewing the fat with George Clooney…he is…

    February 26, 2009 – The White House has announced that the Chicago Bulls team will be visiting with President Barack Obama at approximately 2:45 p.m. CT in the Blue Room of the White House this afternoon.

    “The opportunity to visit President Obama at the White House is a great honor for the Chicago Bulls organization,” stated Steve Schanwald, Executive Vice President of Business Operations for the team. “The President has been a fan of the Bulls for many years and we are very appreciative of this opportunity to say hello to him and pay our respects.”

    http://www.nba.com/bulls/news/whitehouse_090226.html

  76. I’m pretty sure he is being dumb, no need for this and people are already staggered about the bailouts, this is only going to angry even more.

    What is it they say “don’t shoot the messenger” but hey thats what usually happens, people dont like to hear how bad it is. Obama is dumb as rocks.

  77. It doesnt’ matter what WORM or how clearly he says it. We cannot believe a word of it.

    FISA – Obama cannot be trusted.
    etc
    etc

  78. Someone was asking what it is exactly that obama does all day? Well if he isn’t schmoozing with Stevie Wonder or chewing the fat with George Clooney…he is…

    February 26, 2009 – The White House has announced that the Chicago Bulls team will be visiting with President Barack Obama at approximately 2:45 p.m. CT in the Blue Room of the White House this afternoon.

    “The opportunity to visit President Obama at the White House is a great honor for the Chicago Bulls organization,” stated Steve Schanwald, Executive Vice President of Business Operations for the team. “The President has been a fan of the Bulls for many years and we are very appreciative of this opportunity to say hello to him and pay our respects.”
    nba.com/bulls/news/whitehouse_090226.html

  79. Obama’s Budget: Almost $1 Trillion in New Taxes Over Next 10 yrs, Starting 2011

    President Obama’s budget proposes $989 billion in new taxes over the course of the next 10 years, starting fiscal year 2011, most of which are tax increases on individuals.

    1) On people making more than $250,000.

    $338 billion – Bush tax cuts expire $179 billlion – eliminate itemized deduction $118 billion – capital gains tax hike

    Total: $636 billion/10 years

    2) Businesses:

    $17 billion – Reinstate Superfund taxes $24 billion – tax carried-interest as income $5 billion – codify “economic substance doctrine” $61 billion – repeal LIFO $210 billion – international enforcement, reform deferral, other tax reform $4 billion – information reporting for rental payments $5.3 billion – excise tax on Gulf of Mexico oil and gas $3.4 billion – repeal expensing of tangible drilling costs $62 million – repeal deduction for tertiary injectants $49 million – repeal passive loss exception for working interests in oil and natural gas properties $13 billion – repeal manufacturing tax deduction for oil and natural gas companies $1 billion – increase to 7 years geological and geophysical amortization period for independent producers $882 million – eliminate advanced earned income tax credit

    Total: $353 billion/10 years

  80. check out the front page of Drudge report

    Obama sipping fine while underneath

    NEARLY $1 TRILLION IN NEW TAXES

    Drudge seems to not like him much anymore.

  81. In a time of crisis, if I had to choose between a general who wins battles, and a general who is well liked, I would prefer the former. Why? Because I would live longer.

    It amazes me that so many people today favor the general who is well liked. It indicates a lack of understanding, maturity and judgment. It also shows how big media has conspired to bamboozle the electorate.

  82. COMING NEXT ON WRGB: WHEN ANIMALS ATTACK!!!

    Nothing is more fun than watching a lapdog of the Obama administration turn on its master.

    Obama: “Down boy. Stop. Aaaaahhh!!!!”

    Frank Rich doesn’t exactly “bring Obama to task”, but he does give Progressives and PINOs a few things to consider, to be “miffed about”.

    Like the sign says in the antique store: “You broke it, you bought it”.

    &&&
    For the whole Rich piece,

    nytimes.com/2009/02/22/opinion/22rich.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&adxnnlx=1235663782-2t7tUVMmyn7O4IC0YopZOA

    Here’s the second half:

    Pity our new president. As he rolls out one recovery package after another, he can’t know for sure what will work. If he tells the whole story of what might be around the corner, he risks instilling fear itself among Americans who are already panicked. (Half the country, according to a new Associated Press poll, now fears unemployment.) But if the president airbrushes the picture too much, the country could be as angry about ensuing calamities as it was when the Bush administration’s repeated assertion of “success” in Iraq proved a sham. Managing America’s future shock is a task that will call for every last ounce of Obama’s brains, temperament and oratorical gifts.

    The difficulty of walking this fine line can be seen in the drama surrounding the latest forbidden word to creep around the shadows for months before finally leaping into the open: nationalization. Until he started hedging a little last weekend, the president has pointedly said that nationalizing banks, while fine for Sweden, wouldn’t do in America, with its “different” (i.e., non-socialistic) culture and traditions. But the word nationalization, once mostly whispered by liberal economists, is now even being tossed around by Lindsey Graham and Alan Greenspan. It’s a clear indication that no one has a better idea.

    The Obama White House may come up with euphemisms for nationalization (temporary receivership, anyone?). But whatever it’s called, what will it mean? The reason why the White House has been punting on the new installment of the bank rescue is not that the much-maligned Treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, is incapable of getting his act together. What’s slowing the works are the huge political questions at stake, many of them with consequences potentially as toxic as the banks’ assets.

    Will Obama concede aloud that some of our “too big to fail” banks have, in essence, already failed? If so, what will he do about it? What will it cost? And, most important, who will pay? No one knows the sum of the American banks’ losses, but the economist Nouriel Roubini, who has gotten much right about this crash, puts it at $1.8 trillion. That doesn’t count any defaults still to come on what had been considered “good” mortgages and myriad other debt, whether from auto loans or credit cards.

    %%%%
    Americans are right to wonder why there has been scant punishment for the management and boards of bailed-out banks that recklessly sliced and diced all this debt into worthless gambling chips. They are also right to wonder why there is still little transparency in how TARP funds have been spent by these teetering institutions. If a CNBC commentator can stir up a populist dust storm by ranting that Obama’s new mortgage program (priced at $75 billion to $275 billion) is “promoting bad behavior,” imagine the tornado that would greet an even bigger bank bailout on top of the $700 billion already down the TARP drain.
    %%%%

    Nationalization would likely mean wiping out the big banks’ managements and shareholders. It’s because that reckoning has mostly been avoided so far that those bankers may be the Americans in the greatest denial of all. Wall Street’s last barons still seem to believe that they can hang on to their old culture by scuttling corporate jets, rejecting bonuses or sounding contrite in public. Ask the former Citigroup wise man Robert Rubin how that strategy worked out.

    We are now waiting to learn if Obama’s economic team, much of it drawn from the Wonderful World of Citi and Goldman Sachs, will have the will to make its own former cohort face the truth. But at a certain point, as in every other turn of our culture of denial, outside events will force the recognition of harsh realities. Nationalization, unmentionable only yesterday, has entered common usage not least because an even scarier word — depression — is next on America’s list to avoid.

  83. The biggest threat that Obama poses to older Americans may not be the curtailment of social security, but the loss of purchasing power to people on fixed income which will occur as a result of the doubling of the money supply, the inflation it will endgender and the massive debt he is incurring. If he were not a self proclaimed economist, as well as a professor of constitutional law, and a brilliant man between all the uh uh uhs, I would worry about this. The COLA must not be capped.

  84. # wbboei Says:
    February 26th, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    A public option?
    Access to Medicare.

    I am for these tax increases or basically repeal of Bush’s tax giveaways. I see nothing here so far that I don’t support.

  85. Someone was asking what it is exactly that obama does all day? Well if he isn’t schmoozing with Stevie Wonder or chewing the fat with George Clooney…he is…

    February 26, 2009 – The White House has announced that the Chicago Bulls team will be visiting with President Barack Obama at approximately 2:45 p.m. CT in the Blue Room of the White House this afternoon.
    ————————————-
    Lazy. Give the man a fiddle.

  86. The MO on MO:

    From blogger American Girl in Italy, at NoQuarter, comes this piece about Princess Michelle:

    noquarterusa.net/blog/2009/02/26/the-fashionable-first-lady-the-world%e2%80%99s-been-waiting-forwaiting-for-her-to-pay-for-her-fashions/#more-15648

    The media’s favorite punching bag, Sarah Palin, seems to be criticized for everything she does, short of breathing. No scratch that, people have criticized her for that, too. But, for some reason, Michelle Obama is *the First Lady we have been waiting for* and can do no wrong…even if she is wearing clothes she didn’t pay for. Instead of criticism for wearing clothes she didn’t pay for, she is deemed a fashion icon.

    The media, and Obama goons dug through Sarah Palin’s trash looking for dirt to discredit her. She was attacked for wearing clothes the RNC paid for, for the campaign trail. Even though Obama erected fake Greek columns, and threw 12,000 flags in the trash, Palin was attacked for $150,000 in clothing the RNC purchased to clothe her family, because they didn’t have anything decent enough to wear, as the world watched.

    The garbage dwellers have now gone after her for her per diem expenses.

    “Gov. Sarah Palin must pay back taxes on nearly $18,000 in expenses she charged the state for living in her home outside Anchorage instead of at the state capital, officials said Wednesday.

    A review of state policy and Internal Revenue Service tax laws determined the per diem payments should be treated as income, Department of Administration Commissioner Annette Kreitzer said.”

    But now, we find out, from one tiny little news story on Newsmax, that Michelle Obama has been receiving free clothes. And not a peep from the MSM.

    &&&&& Newsmax Story quote start &&&&&&&&&&&&&&
    “For years, the press excoriated Nancy Reagan for borrowing clothes and jewelry from designers. Yet Michelle Obama has been doing the same thing — without any outcry from the media.

    Accountants say that the first lady’s practice of borrowing both clothes and jewelry raises major tax and disclosure issues, not to mention ethical questions.

    “The transactions are clearly taxable,” says Richard Rampell, a Palm Beach, Fla., accountant whose clients include several of the island’s billionaires. “The designers are indirectly paying Michelle Obama to go and display their wares. And they get a huge economic value for it, just as if they were paying a model to do this. If they are paying her in this indirect way by lending her their clothes, then she is actually performing a service for the designer, and she should have to recognize as income whatever the value is of the clothes that she got.”

    Aside from the tax implications, Obama is obligated to report the value of the clothes she has received free of charge on government forms mandated by the Ethics in Government Act.

    The items Obama has either borrowed or received free have included a $17,313 pair of Loree Rodkin diamond earrings and clothes and gowns worth $1,000 to $6,000. In some cases, Michelle Obama’s representatives have said she will donate the items to the Smithsonian.

    That makes no difference, Rampell says.

    “If somebody gives her a dress and it’s worth $6,000, and she’s not expected to return it, then she has $6,000 worth of income, or she’s received a $6,000 gift,” he says. “I’m sure that the company is deducting the cost of that dress — the cost of manufacturing, the design, the materials and all that other stuff. And then when she gives it away to the charity, then she gets a charitable contribution for it.”

    While some articles in the press have reported that the clothes or jewelry were given to her free of charge or lent to her, none has criticized Obama or compared her practices with Nancy Reagan’s. Instead, the articles have swooned over her fashion sense.

    snip

    Michelle Obama is not exactly impoverished. Her husband has been making as much as $4.2 million a year, mostly from book royalties. In taking freebies from the fashion industry, she has introduced Chicago-style dealings to the White House and raised questions about any policies Obama may develop relating to the fashion industry. Her refusal through her press office to answer questions about the arrangement or to disclose the details conflicts with the president’s pledge to adhere to transparency.”
    &&&&& Newsmax Story quote end &&&&&&&&&&&&&&

    Michelle Obama is not paying for her clothes. She is not reporting that she is taking these clothes for free. She is not being forced to pay for her clothes, or report them as income or gifts for tax purposes. One can only hope that now that she has been *caught* she will report the clothes on the ethics forms. The excuse given is that she is donating the clothes to the Smithsonian? How fortunate the Smithsonian will have 100 sleeveless shift dresses in four years. And the Obama’s weren’t even going to be billed for some of these items, until Newsmax called them on it?

    &&&&& Newsmax Story quote start &&&&&&&&&&&&&&
    “Besides clothes for the first lady, the Obama family has received custom-made clothing for their two daughters from J. Crew. J. Crew also supplied Michelle Obama’s green gloves and other items. On the day that was announced, the company’s stock increased by 10.6 percent. The firm says it will send invoices for the items and that Mrs. Obama will return any unused items.”
    &&&&& Newsmax Story quote end &&&&&&&&&&&&&&

    Why the hell was such a fuss made about Sarah Palin’s wardrobe, but not a peep about Michelle? At least Palin’s wardrobe went to charity.

    And why is Obama always talking about responsibility but doesn’t walk the walk. He tells us to turn down our thermostats but he sits in a sweat box of an oval office. He talks about people who were irresponsible and didn’t pay their taxes, or bills, but appoints a cabinet full of tax evaders. And now Michelle might be guilty of the same thing, if she is not reporting these clothes as income. He talks about stimulating the economy and consumer confidence, but Michelle is accepting freebies, and not spending her own money for clothes.

    Obama talks about wasteful spending, and criticizes CEO’s for their private jets, but flies around the country to give even more speeches, talking about our deficit, and to sell a trillion dollar stimulus package. He takes Air Force One and the Marine One Helicopter to fly off to Chicago for the weekend, Camp David for one night, his first month in office. He throws lavish parties, with expensive beef, and champagne. He condemns corporations that fly to places like Vegas for company retreats, but yet hosts a retreat for the Democrats. He preaches about parental responsibility and leading by example, but he smokes.

    He blames Bush for the state of the economy, and says he inherited this mess, but takes no responsibility for his votes on Iraq funding, and his part in the Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac debacle. He talks about fiscal responsibility, but yet, he hasn’t paid some bills from the inauguration, and campaign.

    “Chicago has yet to recoup the $1.74 million cost of President Obama’s victory celebration in Grant Park — despite a burgeoning $50.5 million budget shortfall that threatens more layoffs and union concessions.”

    There’s yet another new report of Obama campaign/DNC unpaid bills — this one from Springfield, Illinois. Obama owes the city at least $65,000 for overtime and other costs.

    Barack Obama spent a record $760 million getting himself elected president. But his campaign, Obama for America, still owes Philadelphia nearly $24,000 for several pre-election events, and the cash-strapped city hasn’t given up its collection efforts.

    The media has been blathering on and on about what a fashion icon Michelle Obama is, and that Obama is a master on the campaign trail, throwing lavish celebrations. Well, I think it would be quite easy for anyone to look fabulous if they didn’t have to pay for their own clothes. And anyone can throw lavish parties and inaugural events, if they don’t have to worry about how much things cost.

    Michelle Obama didn’t even pay the designers she wore on Inauguration day.

    The hypocrisy is just staggering.

  87. I am for these tax increases or basically repeal of Bush’s tax giveaways. I see nothing here so far that I don’t support.
    —————————-
    As you know, McCain was willing to let the tax decreases for the wealthy expire as well. Its unremarkable mj/

  88. Managing America’s future shock is a task that will call for every last ounce of Obama’s brains, temperament and oratorical gifts.
    ————————————————-
    Rich still believes in the tooth fairy.

  89. Actually, he made a big thing about making them permanent. I agree letting the Bush giveaways lapse is completely unremarkable. Indeed, it’s not a repeal. He needs to do nothing for those taxes to rise. I am not sure that is true about the energy taxes, which I fully support. My point is moonpluto seemed against these increases. I am for them. The wealthy 1% controls 47% of the wealth in this country. Income inequality matches that of 1928. I certainly don’t mind Obama’s policies when they are inline with what I would expect from any Democratic President.

  90. A public option?
    Access to Medicare.

    I am for these tax increases or basically repeal of Bush’s tax giveaways. I see nothing here so far that I don’t support.
    —————————————
    Years ago, I worked for a company that was involved in a merger and deal heat was in the air. Investment bankers, merger specialists, Wall Street lawyers, shareholders, officers, employees were all caught up in it. So was our ceo who stood to make millions. Not me.

    We were in the middle of other negotiations at the time which were affected and distorted by the merger. His words to me were not get me a good agreement. They were get me a headline. The point was the headline was what was needed, the tenor of that agreement was secondary, and the details were of no concern to him. I got him the headline and nothing else.

    I think of that little episode when an Obamaminion says he will provide a public option.

  91. When Rham Emanuel says never let a crisis go to waste, when Chris Mattews says the role of big media is to support this president and not to criticize him and when people like Crist say things like we have only one president and must rally round him and I am in polite company I sa hogwash, and when I am with my normal crowd I say something worse.

    Here is the essential point. There are two steps in problemsolving. The first step is problemsolving. The second is execution. Keep that distinction clearly in mind.

    When we are in the problemsolving phase as we are now, we need open debate, disagreement and dissent. When Obama attempts to suppress dissent at this stage and to superimpose his own solution, as he and Pelosi have done to the Republicans in Congress that is impermissable. Dont let them bamboozle you on that one–they will try.

    When we have come up with the optimal solution and there is buy-in, then we enter the execution stage. At that point, there must be unity in order to ensure sound implelmentation. That is not the time for free thinking, except when unforseen problems arise but even then they must be addressed in a properly supervised manner.

    The reason I am pointing this out is because the political discourse coming out of big media will fuck it up, not maybe but for sure. They will cast those who disagree with Obama in a negative light, when they should be listening. Problemsolving is an open system. Execution is a closed set.

  92. THE INCREDIBLY EMPTY SUIT:

    From

    liberalrapture.com/2009/02/obama-adoration-v-hillary-reality.html

    is this excerpt of a back and forth between Anonymous 1 and Anonymous 2. Hey, with Big Govt. Obama everywhere, including the interweb, being anonymous sounds like a good idea.

    Yours Truly
    Regis Garfield Bozo
    1515 Mockingbird Lane
    Holy Toledo, OH 99000
    SSN: 767-25-9070

    Person XXX:

    I have read your columns over the years with great interest. I haven’t agreed with you on everything, but I’m certainly aligned with your basic outlook. However, I can’t disagree with you more on your assessment about our current president. You and others whose writing I find compelling – like the writer of the _______ blog – have seemed (pardon the strained metaphor) to have a fog (or maybe it’s rose colored glasses) over your usually clear eyed vision when assessing Barack Obama.

    (I also think you are way too critical of Bill Clinton. He certainly had his faults, but not everything bad in life can be laid at his door. And, he isn’t as venal as I think you believe him to be. As intelligent as he is, he is also a product of his time, his upbringing and his personality. You do ignore the fact that his Vice President did try to – albeit far from boldly enough – begin to build an infrastucture and education of the public that might lead away from insane oil dependence and toward a more sustainable way of life. And, I think you forgive Bush II his real agency in creating the morass we are in today. Granted he didn’t start the country on its road to oil addiction, but he plunged us off a cliff with lunatic wars, outrageous deficit spending and an enabling of a regulatory scheme that encouraged rampant mortgage fraud and abuse. He was much more than just a “caretaker.” He actively and enthusiastically helped loot the treasure of this country for 8 years. However, at this point these disagreements are almost quibbles, given they are moot.)

    My concern is your opinion of Obama. At a very fundamental level, I have no idea on what you base your belief that Obama is “basically honest and intelligent.” Knowing the man as I do, including the people he surrounds himself with (and no -I’m not talking about just his spiritual counselors but those people who have nurtured his political career and on whom he relies for advice), I have found him to be a rather deceitful person who, certainly, is smart enough but whose vaunted intelligence is vastly overrated – his judgment even more so. First, to address the claims I’ve heard so many make that he must be intelligent in light of his graduating from HLS. Believe me – having attended an Ivy League law school myself – I know that such attendance is not a proxy for intelligence. Nor is becoming president of the law review when it is a popularity vote as opposed to merit-based based on assessment of scholarship. (I also am only a few years younger than Obama and am African-American,=2 0so I fully understand that the bar for entering a top law school is higher for people of color – that doesn’t make all of us geniuses just by the mere fact that we were there.) Moreover, I haven’t found his writing (which has only been about himself) or his post-graduate career to be anything that would lend me to think more highly of his intelligence. Certainly his ability to mimic the cadence and tone of the most compelling African-American speakers of the past while reading remarks written for him by others (and even those heavily lifted from previous speeches by other people), doesn’t impress me as indicative of great intellectual ability by itself.

    More importantly, I’ve had the opportunity to meet and talk with Obama in small, intimate settings and gain a better sense of the man than anyone can based on t.v. interviews and his ubiquitous speechifying. (I was for many years active in the Democratic party. I also worked for some years for an investment bank which was a major backer of Obama from the time he ran for the Senate. And, he was eager to spend lots of time with the top bankers of Wall St in small dinner settings in glorious NY penthouses. I was often invited along simply because I was one of the few blacks at my bank they could invite to “color” these dinners.)

    My first encounter with him was at the 2004 Democratic Convention when he was being lauded as being one of the next wave of leaders of the party.&n bsp; I, too, was extraordinarily impressed and borderline euphoric then, after hearing his convention speech. He initially struck me as well as a charismatic, brilliant young man, who might just be the chance we were looking for to inject new ways of thinking into our polity. But, when talking with him after the convention speech, I came away thinking he did not have any truly out-of-the-box ideas about the best direction for the country or even how to cure the doldrums of the Democratic party. Time enough, however, I felt then for him to learn, reflect and chart better courses.

    Over the next months I then was able to talk with him and hear him talk in various fundraising venues – which is where he spent most of his short time in the Senate before hitting the presidential campaign trail. (The first time post-convention was at George Soros’ house). I came away each time a little more uneasy, particularly when it became clear he was going to run for President. He skims the surface of issues and problems. In fact, his remarks, when not prepared come across as vapid. He repeats, like rote, tired democratic tropes. (And frankly many Republican ones. He truly does admire Reagan and not just because Reagan won elections). He seems to have spent little to no time in deep introspection about any particular area of policy. He spent very little time at his actual job in the Senate or doing any substantive work – which was similar to his time in the IL State Senate. (What was little remarked upon when he ran for US Senate or POTUS was what a mess the Chicago district he represented was left when he advanced to the US Senate during a period when even poor districts in the country got at least somewhat better.) He certainly – for someone whose father (like mine) is African and who (as did I) lived overseas for a time – seems to at bottom be relatively incurious about geopolitics. And, he would get a glazed look in his eyes and look about for someone else to move on to when I raised questions about how he would address the looming US financial crisis I could see on the horizon.

    All in all, I found him to be a completely conventional politician – interested in his own advancement – with no particular personal vision for the future of this country or the world. And, all this without even the small saving grace of being a policy wonk like either Clinton, Gore or even Biden, etc. This was why his entire campaign rested on the ephemera of “hope and change” which could mean anything one wanted it to mean, along with a list of plagarized policy “positions” taken from other democratic primary candidates. From what I’ve learned about him, I do not believe he has deep guiding principles and certainly no specific political philosophy or forward-thinking vision for how to right our ship. That is why his actions to date – and I believe this will continue=2 0- have been disappointingly although, to me, not suprisingly conventional and, frankly, in large part a continuation of Bush’s policies if not a recreation of Clinton’s.

    Even more disturbingly, having followed the primary campaign closely and having good friends in both his campaign and Hillary Clinton’s, I can also say how shocked I became at the really dishonest tactics he used, from race-baiting to caucus fraud to paying cyber stalkers to terrorize pro-Clinton writers and website owners. But, given the stunts he pulled in IL in the early days of his career that I came to discover in doing due diligence before deciding on my own vote, this really probably shouldn’t have shocked me as much as they did.

    The one thing that did amaze me, as his campaign unfolded and there were more and more danger signs about his character or lack of it that came to light for anyone who wanted to really look, was why so many people who I respect as clear eyed thinkers, not given at all to buying into conventional wisdom couldn’t see this man as he really is. He’s not evil and I can’t say that he’s outright corrupt, but he’s not honest. (For goodness sake, the man broke virtually every important promise he made during the primary campaign as soon as it was over, and he’s busy continuing this trend now that he’s president. Call me crazy, but that doesn’t strike me as someone who is “basically honest.”). I also do not believe h e has any type of handle on how to effectively govern, particularly not in these times.

    He is telling some unpleasant truths now about where the economy is headed, but not because he wants to try to pull America’s collective head out of the sand and lead us to a sustainable way of life. He’s lowering expectations out of a well-honed instinct for political survival and while he still can plausibly claim that the mess is not his fault. His actions, however, show that he – and to be fair to him, probably just like anyone else who would have been elected, including certainly McCain – is bent on finding whatever veins he can that haven’t yet collapsed to shoot up the addict a few more times. He’s desperate to have us stay out of detox and rehab, because that would be very painful until we are clean and conventional politicians do not traffic in pain.

    I apologize for the long email, and I realize you have no reason to believe that I had the opportunity to interact with Obama up close and personal (although I swear that it is true and my assessment of him is based on research about his background and work as well as personal interaction with him). But, I felt the need to share with you now as I think you are going to become more and more disillusioned with him as the years drag on. Most urgently, I feel that it is vital that we have no illusions about who Obama is. If, indeed, there is civil unrest in this country as we spiral downwards, I do not trust him to safeguard civil liberties and the remnants of democracy we still have, and I think it is going to be very valuable to have eyes wide open about where he might take the country.

    Sincerely,
    XXXX

  93. The wealthy 1% controls 47% of the wealth in this country. Income inequality matches that of 1928.
    ——————————
    To me that is the core problem. If someone earns a fortune during their own lifetime, they should be allowed to keep it consistent with a progressive tax structure–not the Forbes flat tax. But I would put sever limits on their ability to pass it on to the next generation. Their ability to do so under current law is a big part of the reason that 1% controls 47% of the wealth, and frankly it surprises me it is not higher. I do think that the intergenerational transfer of money has its dark side and all you need to do is watch how old people use it to control their children or the avarice that shows up at the will reading and it will make a believer out of you. Also, I believe there is something to the old adage that the first generantion makes the money, the second generation manages it without much insight, and the third generation squanders it. I have seen to many examples to believe it is merely a cooincidence. I am not opposed to the transfer of some money because it will happen intervivos if not upon death. But vast fortunes–no, it is not a good thing even though some of it finds its way into worthy charitable causes I am sure. Probably true in Caroline Kenndeys case. Warren Buffet has the same take on it that I do. He has passed the bulk of his money to the Gates Foundation, rather than his children.

  94. wbboei
    just curious I was reading a little about estate taxes yesterday and am I correct in that it is essentially the same as the gift tax in that if I given someone a million dollars the recipient pays no taxes but I as the giver pays a gift tax on any amount over something like 15000. So the pwerson getting an inheritance isn’t technically paying any tax but rather the estate(giver) is?

  95. A spouse never pays inheritance tax which adds a huge argument in favor of gay marriage. A couple can be married for an hour and one days no tax. Two people spend 40 years together and the survivor gets hit with a huge tax bill?

  96. I remember a well respected New York jurist many years ago who styled himself as a legal realist condemning an earlier doctrine which was based on natural law and what he described as the psychological need to believe in what he described as a “fixed father controlled universe”. He was part of that world war II generation who believed we had matured to the point that we could handle the truth about certain things. Today, they talk about something called the theory of chaos, but they have computer programs now that can discern patterns of predictablity within that realm. The building block of the universe may be the atom, but the Mandildrot set (sp) is the architecture. But it still comes back to human nature and the point that Judge Henry Friendly was trying to make. In some ways, the adulation surrounding Mr Obama is a reversion to that earlier human need. It is not a helpful thing in my opinion.

  97. Secretary of State Clinton says improved Syria ties uncertain

    updated 1 hour, 59 minutes ago
    roanoke,va – WASHINGTON (AP) – Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says it is too early to tell if Washington and Damascus can improve frosty relations, although a senior U.S. official was meeting with the Syrian ambassador Thursday. Syrian Ambassador Imad Moustapha was meeting with Jeffrey Feltman, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, at Feltman’s request. Clinton said the meeting was routine. But it was the first such session since September. The State Department has said the meeting reflects Clinton’s interest in talking directly with Syria and other countries at odds with the United States. Clinton said Friday that “it is too early to tell” whether relations will improve.

    msnbc.msn.com/id/29411219/

  98. A couple of weeks ago I tried in my mathematically-impaired fashion to convert the stimulus package at that point to the burden on each American and came up with $7000 for every citizen.

    Now that the amount has almost doubled, the headline on Drudge says 11,000+ for every American and 25 grand for each taxpayer!!!!!!!!

    SH!T

    BTW, toe-sucker has a very good column today about how BHO is stoking the panic. “He inherited a recession,” Morris says, “But he’s creating a depression.” Morris’s theory is that creating fear is the only way he can do these friggin ‘cram-throughs’.

  99. Senate vote set for Solis confirmation Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 10:40 AM
    by Mark Murray

    This morning, Senate Democratic and Republican leaders reached an agreement on how to move forward on Hilda Solis’ nomination to be Labor secretary. The final confirmation vote will be today at 4:30 pm ET.

    The new agreement removes the procedural vote that had be scheduled for earlier today that would have required 60 votes to advance the nomination to the next step. Now there will only be one vote on the nomination — with a simple majority required for her confirmation.

    Solis is expected to be easily confirmed, and if that happens, that will leave just two of the major cabinet posts unfilled: Commerce and HHS.

    firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2009/02/24/1806361.aspx

  100. What is it they say “don’t shoot the messenger” but hey thats what usually happens, people dont like to hear how bad it is. Obama is dumb as rocks.
    ————————
    He must think the public at large has more patience than the Roman generals who executed messengers who brought them bad news, or that human nature has changed significantly in the past 2000 years.

    I understand that he is trying to do a slight of hand on this I am a fiscal conservative melarky. On the one hand, he claims he will cut the deficit spend he inherited from Bush. On the other hand, this does not count the trillions he is adding to the federal debt. Yet he says he is an economist. Where did he get his degree? Echo answereth not.

    This gets back to what we were saying earlier. He can bay at the moon that he inherited this problem but it is his watch now. His job is to solve the problem, not to whine about it. And the cure must not be worse than the disease. I think the earmark laden non stimulus stimulus anything you want Poopsie was a tactical and strategic mistake. Time will tell.

  101. henry-you may want to refer that question to jb or someone. The tax code and I have never had a good relationship.

  102. Russia slams State Department report
    1 hour ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday criticized a new U.S. State Department report on human rights as “biased.”

    The annual human rights report, released Wednesday, accused Russia of worsening human rights problems and criticized the Kremlin’s efforts to consolidate power by fashioning a compliant legislature through unfair elections.

    “We hope Washington will correct its approaches in compiling such reports,” the Ministry said in a statement.

    It said the report’s conclusions about the war last summer between Russia and Georgia were “odious” and “could not stand any criticism.”

    The Ministry accused the U.S. of using double standards “depending on the loyalty of a certain state to Washington’s foreign policy course,” the statement said. Georgia is pro-Western.

    The report cited numerous rights abuses, especially in the North Caucasus region, where disaffected social groups and insurgencies were active. It also decried the deaths, mostly unexplained, of five journalists.

    google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jZnIV_HKshmU5y7irSKQMBPWjjZQD96JELJO0

  103. So even if he whines that he inherited the debt and everything else, which is a dubious assertion at best, he needs to shut up and present viable solutions that don’t bankrupt an already weakened U.S. economy.

    In the workforce, when you go to your boss with a problem, he/she automatically is looking for proactive solutions from you at the same time. I doubt obama has ever had a proactive thought or solution in his lifetime, at least not one that he came up with himself.

  104. JanH Says:

    February 26th, 2009 at 3:59 pm
    Russia slams State Department report
    1 hour ago

    MOSCOW (AP) — The Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday criticized a new U.S. State Department report on human rights as “biased.”
    &&&&&&&&&

    Russian Foreign Ministry: “You vill correct zee horribly anti-Russian Human Rights report, or vee vill torture to death one prisoner every hour by vudka poisonink”.

  105. THE STORY OF OBAMA, BIG MEDIA, THE FOUR TRILLION DOLLAR BUDGET AND HOW TO TURN A RECESSION INTO A DEPRESSION WITHOUT OBJECTION

    (aka: The King’s New Clothes, as performed by Danny Kaye )

    Now there was once a king who was absolutely insane about new clothes and one day, two swindlers came to sell him what they said was a magic suit of clothes. Now, they held up this particular garment and they said, “Your Majesty, this is a magic suit.” Well, the truth of the matter is, there was no suit there at all. But the swindlers were very smart, and they said, “Your Majesty, to a wise man this is a beautiful raiment but to a fool it is absolutely invisible.” Naturally, the King not wanting to appear a fool, said,

    “Isn’t it grand! Isn’t it fine! Look at the cut, the style, the line!
    The suit of clothes is all together
    But all together it’s all together
    The most remarkable suit of clothes that I have ever seen.
    These eyes of mine at once determined
    The sleeves are velvet, the cape is ermine
    The hose are blue and the doublet is a lovely shade of green.
    Somebody send for the Queen.”

    Well they sent for the Queen and they quickly explained to her about the magic suit of clothes. And naturally, the Queen not wanting to appear a fool, said,

    “Well, isn’t it oh! Isn’t it rich! Look at the charm of every stitch!
    The suit of clothes is all together
    But all together it’s all together
    The most remarkable suit of clothes that I have ever seen.
    These eyes of mine at once determined
    The sleeves are velvet, the cape is ermine
    The hose are blue and the doublet is a lovely shade of green.
    Summon the court to convene.”

    Well the court convened, and you never saw in your life as many people as were at that court. All the ambassadors, the dukes, the earls, the counts, it was just black with people, and they were all told about the magic suit of clothes. And after they were told they naturally didn’t want to appear fools and they said,

    “Isn’t it ohhh! Isn’t it ahhh! Isn’t it absolutely wheee(whistle sound)!
    The suit of clothes is all together
    But all together it’s all together
    The most remarkable suit of clothes a tailor ever made.
    Now quickly, put it all together
    With gloves of leather and hat and feather
    It’s all together the thing to wear in Saturday’s parade.
    Leading the royal brigade.”

    Now Saturday came and the streets were just lined with thousands, and thousands, and thousands of people, and they all were cheering as the artillery came by, the infantry marched by, the cavalry galloped by. And everybody was cheering like mad, except one little boy. You see, he hadn’t heard about the magic suit and didn’t know what he was supposed to see. Well, as the King came by the little boy looked and, horrified, said,

    “Look at the King! Look at the the King! Look at the King, the King, the King!
    The King is in the all together
    But all together the all together
    He’s all together as naked as the day that he was born.
    The King is in the all together
    But all together the all together
    It’s all together the very least the King has ever worn.”

    All the courts positioned to call an intermission
    His majesty is wide open to ridicule and scorn

    The King is in the all together
    But all together the all together
    He’s all together as naked as the day that he was born.
    And it’s all together too chilly a morn!

  106. wbboei Says:

    February 26th, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    ———————————————

    LOL…if it weren’t so on the mark, it would be funny. I can’t believe this charleton is destroying the Office of the President. In no way should he be in the position, nor should his wife get her hands on the redecorating of anything except maybe the bathrooms.

    History MUST treat him brutally.

  107. From our friend Spega–

    Join “Sins of Omission” Monday night March 2nd at 9 pm EST for our guest,
    Newsweek Editor-at-Large, Evan Thomas.

    We will be discussing Mr. Thomas’ new book “A Long Time Coming. The Inspiring, Combative 2008 Campaign and the Historic Election of Barack Obama”
    Was there media bias or sexism?
    Hear it all Monday night at 9 pm from the ultimate “inside source”

    http://www.blogtalkradio.com/nqr “Sins of Omission”

    Since the guy is from Newsweek, there is a rebuttal presumption of corruption and cover-up. But since spega sent it to me, and I trust spega implicitly it is probably okay.

    If it is okay, then I have to wonder how the author could survive at a place like Newsweek. I guess they must check out their conscience and credibility before they go through the doors and wash off the stench of it when they go home at night, like the lawyer in the Charles Dickens tale. But how do you wash off the toxins of Jonathan Altar?

  108. In the workforce, when you go to your boss with a problem, he/she automatically is looking for proactive solutions from you at the same time. I doubt obama has ever had a proactive thought or solution in his lifetime, at least not one that he came up with himself.
    ————————–
    Jan–agreed. Obama is like the Athenian Senate when it comes to our economic problem– he should have listened to krugman instead of deferring to Pelosi, and looked out for the country rather than the party, in my opinion.

    “So you, thundered Demosthenes, if you hear of Phillip in the Chersonese, vote an expedition there, if Thermopylae, you vote one there; if somewhere else you keep pace with him to and thro. You take your marching orders from him; you have never (solved any problem) yourself, never forseen any event, until you learn that something is happening or is happening . . . our business is not to speculate on what the future may bring forth, but to be certain it will bring disaster, unless you face the facts, consent to do your duty, (and stop shooting hoops).”

  109. And in another Oy Vey moment:

    Kilmer pursues role of governor

    by Politico.com
    Thursday February 26, 2009, 4:49 AM

    A funny thing happened when Val Kilmer started suggesting that he just may run for governor of New Mexico next year.

    He was serious. At least he’s serious enough to reportedly hire a political strategist, to seek out the advice of lawmakers among the state’s congressional delegation and to push back as the state’s journalists mine celebrity profiles and tabloid coverage.

    Any other celebrity candidate would have to trudge the same road, but if Kilmer does choose to run, he’ll certainly test the limits of a star seeking elective office. That’s not just because he’s had a colorful — at times crazy — career, playing roles such as Batman and Jim Morrison and even Moses, but there’s also the sheer chutzpah of it all.

    Arnold Schwarzenegger preceded his run for governor of California with a campaign for after-school programs. Sonny Bono was mayor of Palm Springs before he was elected to Congress. Jesse Ventura was mayor of the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Park before he won the governorship of Minnesota.

    By contrast, Kilmer, 49, has no comparable political credits. In fact, the idea of Kilmer in elective politics is just as surprising among Hollywood’s political class as it is elsewhere. The owner of a sprawling, 6,000-acre ranch near Santa Fe, N.M., Kilmer first signaled that he was seriously thinking about a bid shortly after the November election, when he outlined his reasoning to New York Post columnist Cindy Adams.

    He told her, “It’s been my home 25 years. I really love my state. Poor, hardworking, decent people: Native Americans, carpenters, artists, expats mixed in with hundreds of the world’s smartest physicists at Los Alamos. I’ve always thought of myself as functioning as a candidate for them.” He added, “I know I’m not yet qualified for the job. It’s not like I need fame. If that’s what it’s all about, I wouldn’t live in New Mexico. But I don’t want to be a train wreck. I have to see if people will put up the money for my run. I have to think about putting my acting on hold. Being famous as a movie actor is one thing, but they take no prisoners in politics. I have to think what this might do to my kids.”

    During the presidential campaign, Kilmer contributed to New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson’s White House bid and then to the independent candidacy of Ralph Nader, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. He was to appear at a rally with Nader at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, but he dropped out at the last minute because of a scheduling conflict. His interest in politics was apparently enough for him to land a spot on Lt. Gov. Diane Denish’s transition team late last year, when it looked like she would succeed Gov. Bill Richardson. Although Richardson dropped out of consideration as President Barack Obama’s commerce secretary and never vacated the governor’s mansion, Kilmer was part of an economic stability team that helped prepare a report for the lieutenant governor.

    As it turns out, if Kilmer decides to run, Denish would be his chief rival for the Democratic nomination, and that very prospect has been enough to create a stir among some of her supporters. On Feb. 22, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 480, which represents New Mexico film and television technicians, went ahead and endorsed Denish in her bid, even though the primary is not until next year.

    Jon Hendry, the business agent for the local, said that while Kilmer is a “smart guy” who was “very helpful” in lobbying for film production incentives in New Mexico, among the most generous in the country, “we just don’t think he has the experience here that we need.” “If he wanted to run for lieutenant governor and get four or eight years of experience, we would be all for him.” More troublesome for Kilmer is an archive of tales cataloging his mercurial reputation, stories and anecdotes that New Mexico reporters have been mining for weeks. Much has been a rehash of his clashes with director Joel Schumacher on the set of 1995’s “Batman Forever” and stories from the set of 1996’s “The Island of Dr. Moreau,” which still ranks among Hollywood’s most infamously troubled productions. (Marlon Brando was a co-star.) More damaging has been what Kilmer has said over the past few years. In a 2005 Esquire profile titled “Crazy Things Seem Normal … Normal Things Seem Crazy,” he talked of the method of his craft and told writer Chuck Klosterman, “A guy who’s lived through the horror of Vietnam has not spent his life preparing his mind for it. He’s some punk. Most guys were borderline criminal or poor, and that’s why they got sent to Vietnam. It was all the poor, wretched kids who got beat up by their dads, guys who didn’t get on the football team, couldn’t finagle a scholarship. They didn’t have the emotional equipment to handle that experience. But this is what an actor trains to do. I can more effectively represent that kid in Vietnam than a guy who was there.”

    When the interview resurfaced, Kilmer denied he said it, but Esquire editor David Granger released a statement to the website Military Money Matters, noting that the interview was recorded and “absolutely accurate.” Surely if he gets in the race, there will be more to come, but that is missing the point.
    What scares his potential opponents is that his fame will trump his foibles. Schwarzenegger survived claims of inappropriate behavior on movie sets. Al Franken, in all likelihood Minnesota’s next senator, endured despite wild comments he made in the past as a comic and Air America host.

    Moreover, “it’s not that hard” for a celebrity to be seen as a serious candidate, said Dean Barkley, who managed some unconventional candidates’ campaigns, including that of Ventura and Kinky Friedman’s 2006 gubernatorial bid in Texas. Barkley garnered 15 percent of the vote last November in his own independent bid against Franken and Norm Coleman. He thinks Kilmer could have a shot if he spends his time raising money and wooing the rank-and-file Democrats in the state, all while choosing two or three important issues to hammer home. “Running as an outsider, without political baggage, is a positive,” Barkley said. “Let’s face it. You can’t do much worse today than the political elite.” To put it another way: These days, crazy seems normal and normal seems crazy.

    —————————-

    as ridiculous as this seems, he’s just as qualified as obama.

    mlive.com/us-politics/index.ssf/2009/02/kilmer_pursues_role_of_governo.html

  110. Guilty plea in probe of Blagojevich era:

    chicagotribune.com/news/local/chi-hurtgen-guilty-25-feb26,0,7618474.story

  111. A press conference a day keeps the critics away and uses up the clock for another day.An acclerated presidency is his goal to avoid being held responsible and accountable.Gad I wish this were Nov 4th 2012 and the moving vans were lined up at the whitehouse back door.

    By ABM90… How soon oh LOrd????

  112. And in a “gag me” moment:

    Adoring Nancy Pelosi out-claps Joe Biden for Pres. Obama

    In the interests of promoting Democratic comity, The Ticket points out to President Obama this morning how really, really supportive of him and his speech and his wonderful ideas and glorious prose and also his lovely suit was House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the other night.

    We haven’t seen someone so into clapping since that mother at the second-grade Flutophone concert. It was truly Pelosibolic. Or an awful lot of caffeine. Or that new disease we see advertised on TV called restless leg syndrome. (Ask your doctor about RLS.)

    Loyal Ticket readers will recall earlier this month that Pelosi was so into helping the president sell the notion that the nation’s economy was utterly hopeless and needed his stimulus plan yesterday that Pelosi announced a staggering 500 million Americans were losing their jobs every month, which is 200 million more lost American jobs than there are Americans. But Tuesday evening was even better. Every few words, all night long, the 68-year-old representative was doing her best supportive aerobics by jumping up and clapping like some crazy Californian for her president, sometimes even pointing her applauding appendages at her podium mate as if to say, “Get up and applaud, you silly Delaware dufus!”

    HuffingtonPost called the competitive scene the official Clap-Off between Pelosi and Vice President Joe Biden, who’s slightly younger but slower, as senators can be. Most times Pelosi beat Biden to their feet. And, if anyone in the White House is keeping track, she was clapping harder and more often too, although we lost count in the flurry of moving fingers.

    Unfortunately, the president was unable to see his most enthusiastic House supporter because he was ridiculously intent on the TelePrompters and giving the speech, silly person that he is. After a while, some of us gave up watching the speaker and watched the Speaker. It was quite a show. And because we know that checking the blogs on his BlackBerry is the second thing the president does every morning, we’re inserting here a brief video display of her adulatory applauding to help him keep up to date with his really sincere fans.

    latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2009/02/obama-pelosi.html

    —————————-

    LOL…where is Moon and his irrepressible comments when you need him???

  113. Here’s a pretty good article about Hillary’s Asia trip and her style as SoS.

    news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7910793.stm

  114. “Gad I wish this were Nov 4th 2012 and the moving vans were lined up at the whitehouse back door.”

    ———————————

    ABM90,

    You and me both. I just wish there was cause to get those vans there quicker. Maybe a zillion impeachment crimes within 6 months?

  115. My concern is your opinion of Obama. At a very fundamental level, I have no idea on what you base your belief that Obama is “basically honest and intelligent.”
    ——————————
    rgb: thanks for posting. There is alot of insight in this comment. Machiavelli said there is such a difference between what is and what ought to be that whoever rejects what is for what ought to be will be ruined. Bots project on him their notion of what ought to be. In other words their mind tells them I would like him to be X, and they latch on to any scinitilla of evidence that he is x, while ignoring a mountain of evidence to the contray. That way they never have to confront the truth which is that their initial assessment was wrong.

  116. I am sorry, the correct quote was there is such a difference between the way men act and the way they ought to act that anyone who forsakes what is for what ought to be will surely learn something that will ruin him.

  117. “And she made clear she had little patience for diplomatic subtleties.”

    ——————————-

    Thanks Paula. It is a good article. A little grudging in respect to her popularity and a little whiney at not being given more time for questions, but overall a good assessment.

  118. What is an hour of your time worth? What is an hour of my time worth? And what is an hour of the presidents time worth when we are in the midst of so many crises? When he is new to the job and has a steep learning curve is it a good expenditure of his time to be holding superbowl parties with press cronies, or spending an afternoon kibitzing with the Chicago Bulls? Is that in the national interest? No, I am not his scheduler and man does not live by wine alone, but there is also work that needs to be done and that IS in the national interest, in my opinion.

  119. It seemed to me that during the primary, Joe Klein was somewhat leaning towards Hillary. However, has anyone else noticed that his recent articles are major “suction” for Obama?

  120. Heres 10 suggestions, especially the last one.

    1 :The American Age of The Kenyan Kalamity

    2 :The American Age of The Great Dopression

    3 :The American Age of The Great Oppression

    4 :The American Age of Ruin

    5 :The American Age of The Houdini White House

    6 :The American Age of The Chicago Crash

    7 :The American Age of Blame Oprah

    8 :The American Age of “why the fuck didnt we pick Hillary”.

    9 :The American Age of “fuck he was worse than Bush”

    10 : The Last American Age

  121. Clinton dispatching new North Korea envoy

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A U.S. official says Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is planning to send the administration’s new envoy on North Korean policy to consult in Moscow and Asian capitals.

    The official who disclosed the plan did so on condition of anonymity because an announcement was pending.

    Clinton is expected to announce at the State Department today that Stephen Bosworth will travel to the capitals of four countries that have been working with Washington to get Pyongyang to give up its nuclear program. Those four are Russia, Japan, China and South Korea.

    Bosworth, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea, was named last month as the administration’s special envoy to deal with U.S. policy on North Korea.

    google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iplfPvIKEHbAUiY7XjLwrQ6MdQvQD96JCEN82

  122. rgb,

    Thank you for sharing your 2:36 pm post with us. I usually don’t take the time to read all those long, sometimes rather monotonous posts people leave, but I read every word in this one. It was facinating!

    Thanks again and, as always, thank you for your sense of humor you inject in many of your posts. I, for one, always appreciate a good sense of humor and these days, I’ll take all I can get, lol.

  123. allthingshillary reported that Joe Scarborough said Hillary looked ravishing on Tuesday night. Methinks Joe’s Hillary crush is not going away, lol.

  124. I didnt say 10 lightly, this guy is going to take us to hell and back.
    ———————–
    moon: how sure are you about the “and back” part?

  125. wbboei : How about the oldie I mentioned a while back.Clayburn and Obama are an updated version of “The Goldust Twins ” that appeared on a cleaning powder box years ago . and of course that foot tapper of vaudeville by Ted Lewis
    ——————–
    Very good ABM 90. I will drink to that. In fact, that is exactly what I am doing.

    ABM I bought a pocket knife today and it is a thing of beauty. Bone handle, curved at end, Japanese steel, holds a great edge, precison hinge, perfect balance. A thing of beauty.

    Al Mar is the maker. He was a highly decorated Navy Seal of Asian American descent. He served in Viet Nam. He is long dead now. Also, he was an artist and used that aptitude when he designed knives. His son runs the company now. It is located in Oregon.

    During the 1970s there was a self defense studio located in the rough part of our downtown area. I am almost sure he was the guy running it. As I recall he was a fifth degree black belt in karate, and an innovator.

    His pitch was that self defense is a matter of being acutely aware of your surroundings, developing fast reflexes and overwhelming the opponent. His dojo was filled with machines designed to build strenth on the one hand and fast refexes on the other.

    There was a story about him in the local newspaper posted in the window about how four punks tried to ambush him late one night, all four of them ended up in the gutter, and he had to go back into his studio and call an ambulance for them. There were no cellphones in those days. Interesting guy.

    Its not the things you do in your life that you regret, as much as the things you dont do and wish you had. I wish I had signed up with him and who knows they might have made a seal out of me too–but I doubt it.

  126. wbboei, my spouse has 8 Al Mar knives and they are things of beauty. High quality, sleek, well made, perfect.

    He had read about Al Mar and was interested in your post.

  127. Thanks Southern Born. Tell him for me he has good judgment when it comes to wives and good judgment when it comes to knives. What else is there.

  128. White House Budget Plan Leaves Little Room for Error, Economists Warn

    President Obama may have a tough time keeping to his tandem goals of cutting the deficit and sheltering middle-class families from tax increases, critics say.

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    Economists and conservatives say President Obama’s massive $3.55 trillion budget leaves little room for error, and it will be very hard for him to meet his tandem goals of cutting the deficit and sheltering middle-class families from tax increases.

    Obama, who released details of his budget for fiscal 2010 on Thursday, said he foresees halving the deficit by 2013. But his budget calls for a $634 billion “reserve fund” to cover the costs of universal health care coverage over 10 years, as well as $200 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan through next fall and another contingency fund for the sickly financial sector on top of the $787 billion stimulus bill that he signed last week.

    With all these expenditures, many are saying they doubt Obama can reach his deficit goal while keeping his pledge to raise taxes only on couples making more than $250,000 a year. “He’s going to have to start moving down the scale and raising taxes on people making $150,000, people making $100,000 and even people making $75,000,” said economist Adam Lerrick, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute. “You have to increase taxes. It’s very simple. You have to pay for this somehow.”

    Part of the concern stems from optimistic White House projections about the rate of economic recovery. The budget overview assumes the economy will grow at a rate faster than other forecasters, including the Congressional Budget Office and the Blue Chip index (the consensus of leading private economic analysts).
    “I’m struck in their budget projections by how much of … making all this work depends on the speed and magnitude of the economic recovery,” said William Gale, director of the Economic Studies Program at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the Tax Policy Center. “The results depend on a relatively quick recovery.”

    In other words, the Obama forecast doesn’t allow for many rainy days. The White House projects 3.2 percent economic growth in 2010, compared with 1.5 percent from the CBO and 2.1 percent from the Blue Chip. The White House also projects the economy will shrink by 1.2 percent in 2009, compared with 2.2 percent from the CBO and 1.9 percent from the Blue Chip. The White House and CBO project similar growth in 2011, but the Blue Chip projects a point less.
    Higher growth projections allow the White House to assume higher revenue from taxation. Deviations from that can throw off the administration’s spending plans.

    Gale said another complicating factor is simply political, and that Obama runs the risk of drawing accusations of “class warfare” from lawmakers with his budget plan — something that could lead to revisions in his tax policies and other areas. Plus lawmakers will likely balk at attempts to cut spending in certain programs down the road. “I think the political constraints are just as real as the economic constraints,” Gale said. “The dam could break in lots of places.”

    Though the deficit is projected to stay above $1 trillion next year, White House budget director Peter Orszag said the administration has already found $2 trillion in long-term savings — $1 trillion in revenue boosts and $1 trillion in spending cuts.

    The budget outline calls over 10 years for $637 billion in higher taxes on the estimated 5 percent of taxpayers with annual adjusted income of $250,000 or more. It also seeks $770 billion in tax cuts or tax refunds for taxpayers who earn less than that. Orszag said the administration will exact savings on several fronts, by closing corporate tax loopholes, winding down the Iraq war and cutting programs throughout the federal government. “We are on an unsustainable fiscal course,” he said. “Change is necessary.”

    The long-term budget plan would pay for its health care allocation in part by raising taxes on couples making more than $250,000 and by reducing government subsidies to Medicare Advantage, the private-sector insurance component of Medicare. Among other tax increases, the plan would also up capital gains tax rates to 20 percent, from 15 percent, for the wealthy — this would generate $118 billion, according to projections.

    “The president believes that we have a plan that will lead to long-term economic growth, sustained long-term economic growth,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Thursday. “That’s what this budget blueprint does, that’s what he campaigned on, instituting fairness — more fairness in our system. I think that’s what he’s done.” Rob Shapiro, former undersecretary of commerce for economic affairs, told FOX News that the president’s efforts to wind down the war in Iraq and make cuts in other programs will fill in the gaps. Plus he said the stimulus bill should ensure the administration gets the growth it projects. “You have substantial spending right now in order to try to boost the economy,” he said. “That’s temporary spending. If it work, it will raise growth and incomes and consequently incomes two and three years out.”

    But many Republican leaders were doubtful. Though President Obama said the government was going to have to make some “hard choices” to cut spending, Republican leaders said Thursday that his fiscal 2010 budget represented anything but. House Minority Leader John Boehner said the plan will “hit everyone,” despite claims that the brunt of the impact is contained to the rich. “The era of big government is back and Democrats are asking you to pay for it,” he said.
    Obama is aiming for a $530 billion deficit in 2013. But Gale said Obama would leave a deficit more like $850 billion if he enacts his key campaign promises without other big changes to the budget.

    One budget analyst said that the risk of trillion dollar deficits over a couple years is not great as long as the economy is recovering. “There is little to no risk in lending your money to the U.S. government,” Josh Gordon, policy director of the debt hawk Concord Coalition, told FOXNews.com. “We have over 300 million Americans who have shown their ability to work hard and pay taxes and as long as you have that large a pool of people working hard and paying taxes … and the government is not printing too much money, you have a pretty safe investment.” Gale said Obama’s goals are at least mathematically possible, provided unemployment drops significantly and a number of other factors line up in his favor. “They can do their political agenda. They can do their deficit-reduction stuff. The question is whether they can do both at the same time,” he said. He said if unemployment stays at 8 percent, “You can toss the other estimates out the window.”

    foxnews.com/politics/first100days/2009/02/26/white-house-budget-plan-leaves-little-room-error-economists-warn/

  129. Southern Born– I have a Al Mar combat knife which is ornamental and very good, but nothing like this one. This one is real sweet. The call number on it is 1005HJB. It is called Eagle Classic. If your spouse does not own one already, he should take a hard look at it. Its that good.

  130. The White House also projects the economy will shrink by 1.2 percent in 2009, compared with 2.2 percent from the CBO and 1.9 percent from the Blue Chip.
    —————————–
    That is deadly. And, remember what I posted the other day. Merrill Lynch is telling its investors that the economy will shrink 2.8% in 2009. If you dont have the revenues and you raise the costs what happens?

  131. # wbboei Says.
    That is deadly. And, remember what I posted the other day. Merrill Lynch is telling its investors that the economy will shrink 2.8% in 2009. If you dont have the revenues and you raise the costs what happens?
    *********
    What is really delusional is that the WH budget directer says GDP growth of 3.2%, 4.0% and 4.6% over the next three years. The “realistic” projections that I have read are talking about a slow turn around to the upside in 4-5 years. There is at least $57 trillion in toxic financial crap in the world markets that needs to be digested before anything is going to turn around.

  132. mj said;
    The wealthy 1% controls 47% of the wealth in this country. Income inequality matches that of 1928.

    ============

    It would be clearer if you could use actual dollars when possible (even if very approximate) rather than percents. “People who make over $X00,000 control 47%.”

    In 2000 Gore lost a chance on this by talking about “the top 3% of income” instead of “those who make more than $350,000 per year” iirc. Someone did a poll and found out 19% of people thought they were already in the top 3% and iirc another 17% expected to get there soon.

  133. wbboei said:
    Problemsolving is an open system. Execution is a closed set.

    ================

    So where’s the wisdom to draw the line?

  134. The State Department has said the meeting reflects Clinton’s interest in talking directly with Syria and other countries at odds with the United States. Clinton said Friday that “it is too early to tell” whether relations will improve.
    msnbc.msn.com/id/29411219/

    ====================

    Hillary’s interest? I thought that was Obama’s schiztwhatsis.

  135. jbstonesfan Says:
    February 26th, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    It seemed to me that during the primary, Joe Klein was somewhat leaning towards Hillary. However, has anyone else noticed that his recent articles are major “suction” for Obama?

    =================

    Klein is a Clinton-hater, wrote PRIMARY COLORS. Maybe he thought if Hillary got elected he could sell a sequel. I hope he writes a similar book about the Obamas.

  136. What is really delusional is that the WH budget directer says GDP growth of 3.2%, 4.0% and 4.6% over the next three years. The “realistic” projections that I have read are talking about a slow turn around to the upside in 4-5 years
    ———————————
    You are right on the money. For 2010 Merrill is projecting .5 GDP growth vs. Obama is projecting OMG 3.2.

    I worked for a Fortune 300 company. When we did projections we developed three scenarios: i) best case, ii) anticipated case, and iii) worst case.

    We built our business model around ii) anticipated case, whereas Obama has built his around i) best case. That is not a sound practice, in my opinion. The adverse implications will touch everyone, as John Boehner notes.

    But the worst of it is Obama is proving that the Democrats can be just as bad as the Republicans. What better proof could there be that we were right and but for the cheating and media bias we would have had Hillary. And if we had Hillary we would not be in this mess.

  137. Klein is a Clinton-hater, wrote PRIMARY COLORS. Maybe he thought if Hillary got elected he could sell a sequel. I hope he writes a similar book about the Obamas.
    ———————————-
    Turndown: you are correct. Also, Klein had some credibility problem as I recall. Seems like he denied writing the book and then was forced to admit it. I remember him as being negative toward her during the primary, and I think he also works in the cookoos nest, i.e. Newsweek.

    (Note: I do not wish to imply that being a liar is a disqualifying condition. On the contrary if you look at MSNBC you find people like Mike Barnacle who was fired by the Boston Globe.

    And of course we have luminaries like Tweedie and Doberman who never let a little thing like the truth stand in the way of a nasty diatribe.

    My only point is that liars do well in the nbc/msnbc organization. Capus sees to that, bless his heart. Hey Steve how many days til retirement?)

  138. So where’s the wisdom to draw the line?
    ———————————
    The boss must have that wisdom. He or she has got to open the doors to different views, force the parties to reach a decision, make them to take ownership and demand it be executed effectively. No pissing backwards permitted once the decision is made.

  139. A Dipnote E on the retirement on Sean McCormick from State.
    and the legacy that SOS Hillary will carry on.Our hope for her leadership is secure.

    ——————————————————————–
    Sean McCormack Signs Off

    Posted: 26 Feb 2009 08:45 PM PST

    By ABM90 Our Star is rising above the fray and sparkling

    I wrote the first post for DipNote, but I am pleased that the one today will not be the last to appear on this blog. You have let us into your lives, as we sought to let you into our lives at the State Department. Together we have created a space where our government and publics around the globe can have a conversation, a condition made inevitable by technology but also desirable because of the way we have chosen to be governed.

    There is a lot the digital media team accomplished in the years I headed the Bureau of Public Affairs, and there was more that we had planned but just could not get to either because of time or resource realities. The good news is that as I leave the State Department a great team of career professionals will be able to complete projects on the drawing board and will work on others none of us have yet imagined. That is as it should be and in keeping with the spirit of innovation and creativity by so many digital media efforts.

    Secretary Clinton and her team are bringing new ideas and energy to State’s digital media efforts, and I expect you will see exciting new developments in the months and years ahead. Most important, though, I see a commitment to use digital media – DipNote, state.gov, Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, and other platforms – to expand and deepen the conversation between State and publics around the globe. That is good for the policymakers and for those affected by the decisions made in this building.

    Today will be my last day at State after nearly fourteen years in the Foreign Service, and what I am most proud of in that time is what we accomplished in this space beyond the bricks and mortar of Foggy Bottom. Now I’ll transition from helping guide DipNote and our other digital media efforts (as well as on occasion providing content) to being a reader, user, and commenter.

  140. “Hillary’s interest? I thought that was Obama’s schiztwhatsis.”

    ————————–

    Turndown, don’t worry. He’ll take ownership if it is a success. Otherwise it’s Hillary’s baby.

  141. Clinton: Afghans and Pakistanis to meet regularly

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Senior U.S., Afghan and Pakistani officials ended three days of talks Thursday on the next steps in the war against Islamic extremists, and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said the three-way format was so fruitful it would be used regularly in the months ahead.

    Clinton told reporters that the next meeting of U.S, Afghan and Pakistani government delegations would be in late April or early May.

    This week’s talks produced no known breakthroughs, but Clinton said they were in-depth and forthright. They were designed to gather suggestions and ideas from the Pakistanis and Afghans as the administration reviews its approach to the war, which has turned more problematic over the past few years.

    In addition to her Afghan and Pakistani counterparts, Clinton was joined in the talks by Richard Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Gen. David Petraeus, the commander of U.S. forces in the region.

    Afghan Foreign Minister Rangin Dadfar Spanta spoke to reporters after meeting separately with Clinton at the State Department. “I can ensure you Afghanistan is committed with you to address the menace of terrorism and to work together, closely together, on democratization of Afghanistan and its stability,” Spanta said. Later, after meeting jointly with Spanta and Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and other members of their delegations, Clinton underlined the significance of having the Afghan and Pakistani delegations together for candid talks.

    “The representatives from both the civilian and military sectors of both governments have been not only forthcoming, but very receptive, listening one to the other,” she told reporters.

    google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gqtS7ARpk29F4I7Kpx5_-ZLyCnyAD96JIMHO0

  142. So what does that mean? Does not show confience to me. On the local news it indicate that home sales are turning up in NV and AZ.

    I am not sure what that means, but feel that the people who can are purchasing to take advantage of the home incentives and interest rates now out there. We purchased our car because of that.

    However, I am not sure if that is just a small rally.

  143. JanH:You are very correct in suggesting that we create a tag line for the disaster that has just been enthroned in the Oval office.He brings nothing but disgust to anyone that cares for this country and its suffering citizens.Hate is not the solution but cool heads must prevail to save our,at the moment,frail Democracy. My suggestion for a name of this tragic event is this.

    Barack Hussein Obama
    44th President of The United States
    ” An American Tragedy of Power and Error ”

    By ABM90 This could not have happened without the foreign
    intrests and the week kneed greedy members of our congress and their fear of losing their seats on the shameful gravey train.

  144. Not looking good is it…..

    GDP Shrank 6.2% in 4th Quarter, Deeper Than First Thought

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. recession deepened a lot more in late 2008 than first reported, according to government data showing a big revision down because businesses cut supplies to adjust for shriveling demand.

    Gross domestic product decreased at a seasonally adjusted 6.2% annual rate October through December, the Commerce Department said Friday in a new, revised estimate of fourth-quarter GDP.

    The 6.2% decline meant the worst quarterly showing for GDP since a 6.4% decrease in first-quarter 1982 GDP.

    In its original estimate, issued a month ago, the government had reported fourth-quarter 2008 GDP fell 3.8%. The sharply lower revision to a decline of 6.2% reflected adjustments downward of inventory investment, exports and consumer spending.

    The report showed businesses inventories shrank $19.9 billion in the fourth quarter, instead of rising by $6.2 billion as Commerce originally estimated. Third-quarter inventories fell by $29.6 billion in the third quarter.

  145. ” An American Tragedy of Power and Error ”

    ————————————-

    ABM90,

    I like that. A friend of mine also suggested: The American Presidency for Dummies…Volume One.

  146. There is an article in WashPo which casts this 3.4 trillion dollar budget in favorable terms, paints it as a laudable exercise in narrowing the gap between rich and poor, uses words like bold to describe it and seeks to diminish the republican argument that it will not create jobs and will eventually pull everyone into the tax vortex.

    And then there is the obligatory article by one of the most evil members of big media, Ann Kornbluth, promoting this White House Budget Director as the Delphic Oracle. I look at him and what I see is the reincarnation of Robert MacNamara.

    The one thing that did intrigue me about it are some bar graphs which purport to reflect the allocation of stimulus monies by government agency. But true to form WashPo does not reflect the larger truth that the gdp growth projections are off the richter scale, or that this is a massive transfer of wealth to the federal government. That is the real change in priorities here.

    That this would happen after what we have been though with Bush, and then compounded the problem by letting the elites select a president who does not have the interests of the middle class in mind is hardly surprising.

    Alice Rivkin added a supportive note but that is more political than anything else. Her collegues at Brookings (the democratic think tank–and counterpart to the republican think tank American Enterprise Institute) have sounded a more pessimistic note according to the FOX report yesterday.

    I wish I could believe the hype emanationg from big media but the problem is I have lived a little long. It seems to me the argument the Repubicans are making now is the compelling one. We need to create jobs and the private sector is still the best engine for that.

    This stimulus bill is likely to have the reverse effect over time. When it fails to produce what they promised the white house budget director will get into a convoluted discussion about the jobs it saved. Spare me the noise.

  147. This is a good budget. It basically reverts away from Reaganomics, back to a fair distribution of wealth via tax policy. It’s BC’s tax policy and then some. It’s good stuff. It’s not soooo bold, but given the last 30 years, it’s a good start.

  148. I like that. A friend of mine also suggested: The American Presidency for Dummies…Volume One.
    ———————
    That is good! Of the dummies, by the dummies and for the dummies shall come to its senses in 2010.

    Hows that for Lincolneque. In the close of the Gettysburg Addess–the government of the people, by the peopl and for the people shall not perish.

  149. This is the Infomercial Age.

    Writers who can make us laugh or make us think are disappearing, to make room for writers who can script ‘unrehearsed’ comments to sell us products we don’t need or don’t work and talented pitchmen who can lure us into fraudulent schemes.

    Political thought and fresh solutions are disappearing, to make room for writers who can script “YOU can have everything you want and THEY will pay” promises, brought to you by a ‘sincere’ talented pitchman.

    Round-the-clock infomercials with no real ‘info’ but endless ‘huckstermercials’.

  150. An Other speech another stall for time another crock.Mr.Obama
    where is the money coming from?The country is broke and everyday you promise more and more goodies to further your need for power and control of our destiny.You sir are a bloviate so stop talking and let those with experience and integrity get us back on course.I will bet those marines you just spoke to are well aware that coming home will place them in the unemployment line already breaking numbers records.
    By ABM90 From a fence post turtle to a talking eagle.What a
    sad state of affairs.

  151. ABM 90: very well put. The concern is that Mr Obama is pouring gasoline on the fire. In any administration, there is always a tipping point. In this case it came early, but it will take a year or two for people to wake up. His mistake was in not taking the bull by the horns on the banking bailout (both he and McCain had an opportunity to do that and he backed down), and the subsequent stimulus bill (which Pelosi used as a positioning tool for 2010).

    The moving finger writes
    And having writ moves on
    And neither all your piety or wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a line
    Nor all your tears wash away a word of it.

    (The Rubiat-by Omar Kayam)

  152. The moving finger writes
    And having writ moves on
    And neither all your piety or wit
    Shall lure it back to cancel half a line
    Nor all your tears wash away a word of it.

    =============

    Heh.

    Iirc the first Bailout bill included language saying it could not be changed later. Haven’t heard that was included in the Stimulus etc. And I have difficulty believing it in any case.

  153. ECON INCREASE BY DEPT (BILLIONS)

    Dept Budget Inc. Stimulus

    Agric. 0 +7

    Com. 8 +8

    Educ 4 +81

    Energ 4 +39

    EPA 4 +7

    HHS (3) +0

    Int 0 +3

    Just 5 +4

    Labor 2 +7

    NASA 3 +1

    State* 22 +0.6

    Trans 6 +48

    Treas 2 +0.3

    Vet Aff 2 +1

    TOTAL 59 +206

    (Note: if I havent transposed a number)

  154. The numbers got compressed when I posted. The first number is the budget increase, and the second is the stimulus increment–denoted by +) by cabinet department.

  155. And this is the pro Obama Washpo spin I referred to above. There is also a rebuttal article which is more in line with my thinking: Ambitious Blueprint a Big Risk The President Is Willing to Take Budget Process Hijacked by Selfish Interests. Here is the obama puff piece.

    ———————————–
    In $3.6 Trillion Budget, Obama Signals Broad Shift in Priorities:
    Bold Agenda for Social Spending, Energy and Taxes Faces Fierce Fight

    The blueprint would overhaul programs across the federal bureaucracy to strengthen assistance for millions of people who have borne the consequences of what Obama called “an era of profound irresponsibility,” helping them pay for college, train for better jobs and save for retirement while taking less of their earnings in taxes.

    The ambitious agenda for the fiscal year that begins in October would not come cheap. This year’s budget deficit, swollen by spending to combat a severe recession, would hit a record $1.75 trillion, or 12.3 percent of the overall economy, under the president’s plan, the highest since 1945. While Obama inherited the bulk of that gap, his budget would make room for a fresh round of spending that could hit $750 billion to prop up troubled financial institutions.

    Next year’s deficit would approach $1.2 trillion. But Obama proposes to cut that figure roughly in half by the end of his first term, in large part by levying nearly $1 trillion in new taxes over the next decade on the nation’s highest earners, defined as families with gross income of more than $250,000 a year.

    In unveiling the 134-page volume that outlines his spending priorities, Obama acknowledged that his proposal would “add to our deficits in the short term to provide immediate relief to families and get our economy moving.” But he argued that the economic crisis should not be used as an excuse to delay costly investments intended to modernize the nation’s economy, enhance its workforce and, ultimately, reduce government spending.

    “What I won’t do is sacrifice investments that will make America stronger, more competitive and more prosperous in the 21st century — investments that have been neglected for too long,” Obama said. Citing the need to “break free” from foreign oil, reduce “crushing health-care costs,” and improve public education, Obama said: “These investments must be America’s priorities, and that’s what they will be when I sign this budget into law.”

    With its immense scope and bold prescriptions, Obama’s agenda seeks to foster a redistribution of wealth, with the government working to narrow the growing gap between rich and poor. It is likely to spark fierce political battles on an array of fronts, from social spending to energy policy to taxes.

    Alice M. Rivlin, a Brookings Institution economist who served as former president Bill Clinton’s budget director, called the plan “gutsy and quite good.”

    “It has a strong flavor of the Obama philosophy, which is tilting the playing field away from upper income and toward the rest of America,” she said.

    Republicans quickly attacked the document as a recipe for economic disaster, saying it would raise taxes on businesses and consumers in the middle of a recession in order to bankroll a massive government expansion.

    “The era of big government is back, and Democrats are asking you to pay for it,” said House Minority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio). “The administration’s plan, I think, is a job killer, plain and simple.”

    White House budget director Peter Orszag rejected that analysis, saying none of the tax increases would take effect until 2011. But some economists worry that even in 2011 the economy may be too fragile to absorb a tax increase. Meanwhile, some Democrats joined Republicans in complaining that the budget plan does not go far enough to narrow the yawning budget gap. While Obama predicts the deficit would fall to $533 billion by the end of his first term, it would quickly begin to rise again and the national debt would remain elevated throughout the next decade.

    Obama is expected to send Congress a complete plan in April, and Democratic leaders said they hope to approve it later this spring. But House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.) predicted that finding the votes will be “tough.” With Democrats in control of both the White House and Congress, their budget will have real meaning for the first time in 15 years, he said, and lawmakers will fight hard to advance favored causes.

    “These are real votes, real consequences,” Hoyer said. “You’re playing with real money.”

    Obama’s spending proposal contains plenty to fight over.

    It calls on lawmakers to enact major new programs across the government, including one that would establish a national infrastructure bank to prioritize federal investments and another that would set new mandates on employers to enroll millions of workers for the first time in voluntary retirement savings accounts.

    The budget seeks approval of a cap-and-trade program to curb U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by 14 percent by 2020. The program, similar to one used to slash emissions that cause acid rain, would auction permits to companies that emit greenhouse gases and allow them to trade those allowances.

    The administration is counting on the program to produce a big new stream of revenue, amounting to $646 billion over the next decade. About $15 billion a year would be set aside to pay for “clean energy technologies” while the rest would go toward making Obama’s signature “Making Work Pay” tax credit permanent. The tax credit, worth as much as $800 a year to low- and middle-income workers, was enacted in the stimulus package.

    In what the president called an “historic commitment to comprehensive health care reform,” the budget proposes to create a $634 billion reserve fund that lawmakers could use to finance a major expansion of health coverage for the uninsured.

    The fund would include savings from proposed efficiencies in Medicare and Medicaid, the federal health programs for the elderly and the poor, as well as $318 billion in new taxes on families in the highest income brackets, who would see new limits on the value of the tax breaks from itemized deductions.

    That proposal is a fraction of the new taxes Obama proposes to heap on the nation’s highest earners. Individuals who earn more than $200,000 a year and families who make more than $250,000 would also lose the tax cuts enacted during the Bush administration, meaning their top income tax rate would rise to 39.6 percent from 35 percent, their investment income would be taxed at 20 percent rather than 15 percent and their deductions for mortgage interest, state and local taxes and charitable contributions would be reduced.

    If Obama’s tax plan is approved, a family making $500,000 a year would see its annual tax bill rise to nearly $132,000 from about $120,000, a 10 percent increase, said Clint Stretch, managing principal of tax policy at Deloitte Tax.

    Hedge fund managers would take an even bigger hit. Much of their multimillion-dollar earnings would be taxed as regular income rather than capital gains, causing their tax rate to rise from 15 percent to as much as 39.6 percent. Oil and gas companies would be asked to pay an extra $31 billion over the next 10 years through an excise tax on offshore production in the Gulf of Mexico as well as new fees for drilling on federal land. Corporations that operate overseas could expect to pay $210 billion more over the next 10 years as a result of new limits on their ability to defer taxation on foreign earnings.

    John Castellani, president of the Business Roundtable, an association of executives, praised Obama’s commitment to health care and deficit reduction, but said his tax plans could hinder American competitiveness. Calling the president’s proposals “aspirational,” Castellani said he would “work with Congress” to produce a balanced tax plan that would “help the economy grow and create jobs

  156. So where is the defense Department, under State?
    ————————-
    I went back to the article on the assumption that I missed it, but it was not included in the washpo bar chart. Perhaps they are figuring that we will not need a defense department after the skies open up, celestial choirs sing, and we are all perfect. That is a material oversight because presumably that is where he expects to achieve some cost savings. Wait til Dana Priest gets ahold of this. Serves her right.

  157. wbboei,

    In your reference to Moon’s post about bambi taking us “to hell and back”, I agree with your answer. That was the first thing I thought also.

    I don’t think he’ll be bringing us back. We’ll have to find the way back ourselves.

  158. NAR unhappy with the Huckster’s budget proposal today. They plan to have a multi-faceted response and will form coalition with other groups as they are 100% opposed to this proposal. An excerpt follows:”As currently drafted, the plan changes the Mortgage Interest Deduction by reducing the amount of mortgage deductibility on families earning over $250,000. This proposed change in the Mortgage Interest Deduction will result in further erosion of home prices and home values. If this proposal is enacted it will lead to a new round of price depreciation, will cause greater distress on the balance sheets of banks as the collateral value of mortgage backed securities declines. A second credit crisis could emerge before the first one is resolved.”

  159. barack obama I have a few questions for you:

    What happens if it doesn’t work? Who will you blame? And what difference will it make to point your finger at everyone but yourself once you have destroyed the U.S.A. beyond all recognition?

    Are you the antichrist? And if you are, can you get the hell on with it so we can dust ourselves off, pick ourselves up, and start all over again??? Please???

  160. Tagline suggestion:
    -The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia [MI, CA, AL, AK, AR, WA, AZ, etc. etc. etc-everywhere except Chicago IL]

  161. Obama to nominate Jon Leibowitz as FTC chairman

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Obama is choosing a member of the Federal Trade Commission to become its chairman. The White House said Friday that Obama intends to nominate commissioner Jon Leibowitz to lead the agency.

    Leibowitz is the only Democrat among the five commissioners responsible for policing the business industry for anticompetitive practices and enforcing consumer protection laws. A lawyer, Leibowitz became a commissioner in September 2004. The commission currently has one vacancy. Before joining the FTC, Leibowitz was vice president of congressional affairs for the Motion Picture Association of America.

    usatoday.com/news/washington/2009-02-27-ftc-chair_N.htm

  162. ShortTermer Says:

    February 27th, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    ——————————————

    I think that is my absolute favorite one so far.

  163. I can never see the new article initially, and still have not figured out how to see what I am typing after a few paragraphs. I am no brain surgeon, but I do have a JD in Law. Am I just stupid or is there something I am missing?

  164. Hillary Pressuring Israel To Speed Up Aid To Gaza Reporting

    Marcia Kramer NEW YORK (CBS) ―
    In a swift about face from her views as New York’s senator, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is now hammering Israel over its treatment of Palestinians in Gaza.
    ______________________________

    Many Americans have friends and relatives in Israel, are concerned for their safety, and have no illusions on what Hamas is, nor should any of us. Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel and so is the present leadership of Iran.

    All of us have wondered how the election of Mr Obama would affect the strong bond between American and Israel, in light of the pro Arab statements he has made on the subject, including his video taped comments witheld by the LA Times.

    Secretary Clinton will be visiting Israel very soon. I understand that she has made a public statement encouraging Israel to expedite aid to the Gaza, and has said something about the treatment of prisoners.

    Those comments have engendered concern among some Jewish Americans, and big media is attempting to fan those flames for reasons of their own. We are hearing things like I liked her better when she was a senator and others are recalling the time when she embraced Arafats wife as first lady. A few congressmen are voicing concern, and of course Mortimer Zuckerman is sounding off on this issue.

    I must tell you my reaction. I believe these attacks–on Hillary, if that is what they are, are wrong. I do not think they are helpful to America or to Israel. I think they play into the hands of our opponents and here is why.

    1. Hillary is a steadfast friend of Israel. Her husband worked hard to secure a peace agreement protective of their interests. He did not always agree with Beebe but neither did Perez, et al.

    2. Hillary is deeply committed to that relationship personally and as secretary of state. I am sure of it.

    3. Hillary is no longer senator from New York. She is Secretary of State. In that capacity, she will comment privately and publicly on what should be done to enhance the peace process that we are attempting to bring about.

    4. I have Jewish friends who are as committed to Israel as Mort Z. One of them is a rabbi. They support a policy of engagement and believe her comments are appropriate.

    5. They believe, as do I, that the militaristic approach by Bush was bad policy there and elsewhere. It did not eliminate Hamas. On the contrary it empowered them.

    6. Lets not pretend as Matt Lee does that this is Hillarys policy, and write the narrative as if it were. If they object to the policy–and they have every right to do so if that is how they feel, then at least point the finger where is belongs–at Mr Obama. He is the head of the Administation, and as one of our friends on this blog correctly observed they voted for him.

    7. But before they criticize, they may want to consider that what she is doing is part and parcel of a multi national plan to bring overwhelming international pressure to bear on Iran, which is the greatest state sponsored threat to Israel.

    8. Finally, it seems to me that the things she is admonishing Israel to do in this instance, namely expedite aid and treatment of Palestian prisoners are legitimate and are intended to take potential issues away from our mutual enemies and prepare to body slam Iran.

    I welcome the opposing view on this. I am not Jewish myself, and there is probably some things I am missing. But I know it is a mistake for people to be throwing stones at someone who is a steadfast friend of Israel, and is probably fighting a battle on their behalf against her own boss withing the Administration.

  165. Mr. Zuckerman is a great man and a great friend of the Jewish State. While I know very well Hillary and Bill are strong supporters of Israel, and much of what Hillary said is prepare for her visit to Gazza, someone has to point out that Israel was the victim, not the aggressor, of Hamas rockets for 8 yrs. No democracy can would or should sit idle and allow it’s citizens to be terrorized. The US killed hundreds of thousands of “innocent” civilians to defeat Japan. We also have killed thosands of innocent citizens in our wars in Vietnam, and currently in Iraq and Afghanistan. Muslims/Arabs kill each other in the thousands every day, and yet, MSM ignores. Rather, it is always convenient to blame Israel, a country that simply wants to co-exist peacefully with it’s 1 billion hostile neighbors, for so called “war crimes”. We all now the reason why-a hatred of Jews and the Jewish stae-plain and simple.
    I love Israel and I love the Clintons, and yes, Bill had to ber tough at times to try and effectuate a lasting peace. Sadly, Arafat rejected it because peace was never the goal. Instead, it is the destruction of Israel. I am willing to accept constructivre crticism or differences on policy, but make no mistake, Israel has never been in a more precarious position, andd she needs all the support from her friends, like Hillary, at this time.

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