Agreement: Obama Is A Harmful Narcissist

We at Big Pink wrote Obama was a narcissist back in October 2007. In Obama The Clown (yup, we knew he was a Clown by November 2007 too) we wrote “Obama, narcissistic as ever… Obama simply cannot get enough of himself. Beneath the mask, is a mask.”

Obama The Clown
was a discussion of a Saturday Night Live skit. In Obama The Clown we included many observations about Obama which we have noted over the years. In retrospect we laugh at how accurate we have been. In that SNL skit Obama attacked Hillary Clinton as a witch and Brian Williams hosted the show (Brian worried about his “journalistic integrity” possibly compromised if he appeared on the show. We mocked and laughed and laughed at the thought of “journalistic integrity” from NBC.)

Our comments section too is a library of awareness that Obama is a narcissist. Basement Angel made repeated references to Obama’s narcissism (here, and here, and here, and here, and Michelle too – HERE), along with other commentors (here, and here).

Michelle Obama knows Barack Obama is a narcissist too. In June of this year, we quoted something that surprisingly has been ignored even by “Hillary support” websites. Why anyone ignores these quotes he difficult to fathom. This is what we wrote, that no one seems to want to face up to:

When Bobby Rush defeated Barack Obama (Bobby Rush called Obama “an educated fool”, Bill Clinton campaigned for Bobby Rush, which might explain Obama’s hate of Bill) for a congressional race, Michelle recognized what she was married to and Obama recognized what he was married to. We agree with Bobby Rush, Michelle, and Barack in their assessements:

“She was angry at his selfishness and careerism; he thought she was cold and ungrateful.”

That Obama/Michelle assessment by the people who know best is pretty much what we have been saying for a long time.

What is narcissism?

Narcissistic personality disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnostic classification system used in the United States, as “a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.”

The narcissist is described as turning inward for gratification rather than depending on others and as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, and prestige. Narcissistic personality disorder is closely linked to self-centeredness. It is also colloquially referred to as “the God complex.”

We do not need to describe the Mess-iah symptoms in Obama, nor how Obama’s disordered personality harms others. But let’s indulge ourselves.

* * * * *

Julian Zelizer of CNN only now realizes there is something wrong with Mess-iah Obama. Zelizer must not have read Sexy Sadie Does Berlin nor Barack Obama At Hell’s Gate.

Zelzier pretends:

“…two events have revealed a side of President Obama that we knew little about. First came his remark in July when he said at a press conference that the police who arrested Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates had acted “stupidly.”

The unrehearsed remark triggered controversy right at a time when Democrats needed to focus public attention on health care.

And last week, at a climactic moment for the health care debate in the Senate, Obama suddenly went to make a personal pitch for holding the 2016 Summer Olympics in Chicago, Illinois.

When the International Olympic Committee said no to the president’s hometown in the first round of voting, and then gave the event to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Obama suffered an embarrassing defeat. The late-night comedians and his political foes were predictably chomping at the bit.

Zelizer is oblivious that his assessment of Obama is off target. The proper analysis of Obama is that of a flim-flam confidence man severely stunted by his narcissism.

Zelizer is right about this at least:

Part of what we are seeing might come from the fact that Obama did not start his term in the White House with much Washington experience. This is an individual who moved from being state senator to U.S. senator to president within a very short time span.

Why didn’t CNN exert efforts when it mattered to explain the above? Only now do we hear that inexperience might be a problem.

* * * * *

Martin Peretz, the publisher of the PINO New Republic magazine enabled the flim-flam narcissist during the election campaigns. In a review of a review of the book Why Are Jews Liberal? (Doubleday 2009) we find a quick discussion of Peretz:

If the Israelis can be forced to make a humiliating and potentially dangerous concession, and the US can betray previous commitments to Israel then maybe – just maybe – the Muslim world will trust the US to be evenhanded and abandon its longstanding and implacable opposition to the existence of a Jewish State in the Middle East.

Wieseltier’s editor at the New Republic, Martin Peretz, was one of the pro-Israel liberals who put his credibility on the chopping-block for Obama the candidate during the summer of 2008, when Commentary magazine and other conservative venues brought to light a pattern of Obama’s anti-Israel associations, including his chief Senatorial aide for foreign policy Anne Power. A poster-child for the concept of buyer’s remorse, Peretz has been hammering on the same points on his blog, The Spine. One recent entry insists that the “moderate” wing of Palestinian politics remains committed to terrorism and the destruction of the State of Israel. Peretz is even disgusted with Obama:

Frankly, I am sick and tired of President Obama’s eldering–more accurately, hectoring–Israel’s leaders. It is, after all, they whose country is the target of an armed and ideological cyclone that Obama has done precious little to ease. He brought nothing back from Riyadh and Cairo, absolutely nothing except the conviction of the Arab leaders that they need do nothing but sit and wait until the president squeezes one concession after another out of Jerusalem.

It was on precisely such grounds that Norman Podhoretz opposed Obama in the last election; one might say that it was in stark staring denial of the available facts that Peretz supported Obama.

At Big Pink today, we won’t veer into a discussion of Israel and Podhoretz (although we are tempted with lines like this from the article: “Marty Peretz is just as skeptical as he is – but why Jewish liberals like Peretz have not repudiated Obama altogether. The answer is obvious. For Democratic liberals to break with Obama would be the political equivalent of a suicide bombing. They might damage Obama, but at the expense of placing themselves on the sidelines indefinitely.“) We will discuss Obama’s narcissism.

Marty Peretz, a Big Media PINO, enabled Obama during the elections last year. What does Peretz say now? Why looky here, Peretz thinks Obama is a narcissist too:

While the New York Times house “conservative,” David Brooks, continues to shower love upon President Barack Obama, editor-in-chief Marty Peretz of the liberal New Republic has become highly critical of The One. Just how critical? Well, here is Peretz using a Financial Times report on the humiliating Olympic snub of Obama in Copenhagen as the platform to launch a withering critique of the president’s self-defeating attitude:

As the FT went on to say, the IOC “delivered an astonishing snub” to the president “by eliminating Chicago in the first round of voting.” Chicago was dumped before Madrid was dumped and before Tokyo was dumped. Had the Obama folk not done any canvassing which would have alerted them to the fact that they were jet-setting to a humiliation? Maybe Michelle’s presence added to the over-confident sense of invincibility. Moreover, how could they lose with Oprah Winfrey in tow?

Ouch! And from this Olympic defeat, Peretz ponders just how effective Obama can be on the diplomatic stage:

So this question arises: If Obama could not get Chicago over the finish line in Copenhagen, which was a test only of his charms, how will he persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear weapons capacity or the Arabs, to whom he has tilted (we are told) only tactically, to sit down without their 60 year-old map as guide to what they demand from Israel.

And now for the money quote:

What I suspect is that the president is probably a clinical narcissist. This is not necessarily a bad condition if one maintains for oneself what the psychiatrists call an “optimal margin of illusion,” that is, the margin of hope that allows you to work. But what if his narcissism blinds him to the issues and problems in the world and the inveterate foes of the nation that are not susceptible to his charms?

If Obama is a “clinical narcissist” that would make the MSM his enablers since months before he was elected president, they were already portraying him in images and print as having a saintly halo image.

Peretz concludes with a “nervy query”:

I know that the president believes himself a good man. My nervy query to him is: “Does he believe America to be a good country?”

Peretz now agrees with us that Obama is a narcissist. At some point Peretz will find Obama’s answer to the query is “No”. After all, Michelle did not think the United States was worth being proud of until the Obamas were getting their narcissistic due.

* * * * *

George Will, after dining with Obama, is getting a grasp on what we knew years ago. Will has some late in the day insights:

In the Niagara of words spoken and written about the Obamas’ trip to Copenhagen, too few have been devoted to the words they spoke there. Their separate speeches to the International Olympic Committee were so dreadful, and in such a characteristic way, that they might be symptomatic of something that has serious implications for American governance.

Both Obamas gave heartfelt speeches about … themselves. Although the working of the committee’s mind is murky, it could reasonably have rejected Chicago’s bid for the 2016 games on aesthetic grounds — unless narcissism has suddenly become an Olympic sport.

If narcissism was an Olympic sport we know the Obamas would share top spot (Tim Russert would heave himself from the Stygian depths to claim silver and bronze). George Will continues witness of the Obama personality disorder:

In the 41 sentences of her remarks, Michelle Obama used some form of the personal pronouns “I” or “me” 44 times. Her husband was, comparatively, a shrinking violet, using those pronouns only 26 times in 48 sentences. Still, 70 times in 89 sentences was sufficient to convey the message that somehow their fascinating selves were what made, or should have made, Chicago’s case compelling.

Will’s numbers do give the gold to lemony Michelle in the narcissism Olympics. We at Big Pink will be fair and award each Obama the mirror prize.

George Will fears the possibility that B.O. was sincere about M.O.:

It was gallant of the president to say to the Olympic committee that Michelle is “a pretty big selling point for the city.” Gallant, but obviously untrue. And — this is where we pass from the merely silly to the ominous — suppose the president was being not gallant but sincere. Perhaps the premise of the otherwise inexplicable trip to Denmark was that there is no difficulty, foreign or domestic, that cannot be melted by the sunshine of the Obama persona. But in the contest between the world and any president’s charm, bet on the world.

The delusions caused by Barack Obama’s narcissism deluded many others into thinking Chicago would host the 2016 Olympics. Reality intruded into that 2016 delusion.

What if, as Marty Peretz asks: “what if his narcissism blinds him to the issues and problems in the world and the inveterate foes of the nation…?” We believe without doubt the narcissism indeed does blind them.

We further believe, as George Will only questioned, that Barack Obama and Michelle Obama do narcissistically believe in the power of their charms (recall “To know me is to love me.”). This is a dangerous megalomaniacal belief.

America and the world are about to have many other delusions shattered – delusions fathered and mothered by the latest narcissistic couple from Hell.


131 thoughts on “Agreement: Obama Is A Harmful Narcissist

  1. Personally I think the whole room should have staged a walk-out when bambi and meme gave their speeches in Copenhagen. Did they honestly think that anyone there wanted to know about them personally?

    George Will’s numbers were startling. Yes he is a late-commer. It must be devastating for some of these koolaid drinkers to have to reluctantly diss their master.

    Well done, Admin.

  2. Woops, I just posted some stuff downstairs. Bringing this one up:

    World Net Dialy or something wrote:
    Many of the government arguments have noted the candidates who are plaintiffs, such as Keyes, did not have a reasonable mathematical probability of winning the presidential election.

    That assertion is not relevant, Kreep said he argued. Had Obama’s ineligibility been publicized before the election, Hillary Clinton likely would have become the nominee, and she might have been vulnerable to other candidates, he said.


    They may be the enemy of our enemy, but they can stuff THAT argument! Exit polls showed that Hillary would have won by 12%, compared to the 7% that Obama did win by.

  3. O does not take defeat well. When he was losing the popular vote in the Primary, he did not reorganize to come out and win it, he bought, frauded, and threatened the superduds. He did like he always does, he thumbed his nose at the American People, and said I do not need you, specifically the older people.

    If he could have done that to the IOC, he would have.

  4. NewMexicoFan Says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 8:54 am

    So let me get the legal defense part straight. Just because he frauded his way to the Presidency, he is now no longer required to be eligible. He is above the law, and not subject to the eligibility rules laid down in the constitution. However, John McCain was.

    How the American people put up with this Bull Shxt I will never know. Obviously, when WJC screwed around, he was not above anyone or anything. They still tried to impeach him.


    Hm. Well, there’s a precedent. If they can question Obama under oath about his birth certificate, then they can impeach him for perjury.

  5. repost – late on the last thread

    admin will appreciate the “obama re-election safety net’

    Obama Aides Act to Fix Safety Net

    The $787 billion recovery plan was intended to stretch over two years, partly in anticipation that the downturn would be prolonged. About 60 percent of the total is yet to be released, and much of that will go toward projects like road-building, other construction and research that save or create jobs.

    (btw…as you read check out the info re: the terrible financial condition of the States – and yet the O ‘health reform’ is getting ready to make the States burden even more…nothing the O admin and this Congress does makes any COMMON SENSE)

    Obama Aides Act to Fix Safety Net

    Published: October 5, 2009

    WASHINGTON — With unemployment expected to rise well into next year even as the economy slowly recovers, the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress are discussing extending several safety net programs as well as proposing new tax incentives for businesses to renew hiring.

    President Obama’s economic team discussed a wide range of ideas at a meeting on Monday, following his Saturday radio address in which he said it would “explore additional options to promote job creation.” But officials emphasized that a decision was still far off and that in any event the effort would not add up to a second economic stimulus package, only an extension of the first.

    “We’re thinking through all additional potential strategies for accelerating job creation,” said Mr. Obama’s senior adviser, David Axelrod.

    The latest deliberations, and Mr. Obama’s added phrase in Saturday’s radio address, occurred against a backdrop of worsening joblessness. While some economists and policy makers say the recession is easing, a report on Friday showed unemployment in September inched up to 9.8 percent, a 26-year high.

    Among the options for additional steps is some variation on Mr. Obama’s proposal during the stimulus debate to give employers a $3,000 tax credit for each new hire, which Congress rejected last winter partly out of concern that businesses would manipulate their payrolls to claim the credit. Another option would allow more businesses to deduct their net operating losses going back five years instead of the usual two; Congress limited the break to small businesses as part of the economic stimulus law.

    The search for further remedies is part of a two-track effort in the White House and Congress. Democrats are also considering plans to continue through 2010 the extra unemployment assistance and health benefits available to people who are out of work for long periods. Also likely to be retained, some officials say, is a popular $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers that was included in the $787 billion stimulus law and has helped rouse a housing market that nonetheless remains shaky.

    The unemployment and health benefits are otherwise due to expire at the end of this year, and the homebuyer’s credit at the end of November. Extending the unemployment and health benefits alone through next year could cost up to $100 billion. Additional measures would raise the price at a time when the White House and Congress are confronting growing pressure to avoid adding to already high deficits.

    Yet Democrats are more anxious about stemming the loss of jobs and creating new ones.

    With economists forecasting that unemployment could hit 10 percent before job growth returns, perhaps in mid-2010, Democrats face month after month of bad news on the jobs front in a midterm election year, when a president’s party typically loses Congressional seats. Charlie Cook, a longtime nonpartisan election analyst, said last week that he was raising the odds of Democrats losing their House majority to about 50-50.

    Even a modest stimulus package that mostly maintains current programs would ignite a debate about the effectiveness of the original $787 billion plan, stoking Republicans’ arguments that the package of spending and tax cuts was a waste of taxpayers’ money. While most economists agree with Democrats that job losses would have been worse without the stimulus, Mr. Obama remains on the defensive for his initial promise that it would save or create 3.5 million jobs.

    Despite the bad jobs figures, Democrats in Congress generally agree with the White House that a second full-blown stimulus package is not needed, barring an economic relapse.

    The $787 billion recovery plan was intended to stretch over two years, partly in anticipation that the downturn would be prolonged. About 60 percent of the total is yet to be released, and much of that will go toward projects like road-building, other construction and research that save or create jobs.

    Mark Zandi, an economist who occasionally advises Congressional Democratic leaders, and before that advised Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, in his two presidential campaigns, has projected an additional 750,000 job losses through next March, which would bring total losses to almost 9 million since December 2007. Mr. Zandi predicted that the unemployment rate would peak at 10.5 percent next June.

    It is “very important,” he said, for the government to “continue to provide significant support to the economy through next year.” At the least, he said, that should include extending the homebuyer’s credit, various business tax breaks and mortgage relief programs.

    But the demands on the federal government are likely to expand beyond that in the coming year.

    Continued job losses only add to the plight of the states, which already are reeling from reduced tax revenues and increased demand for social services. Most states were able to balance their budgets this year, as they are required to do, only with billions of dollars in infusions from Washington. And the fiscal outlook for the states is now worse than a year ago, according to agencies that monitor them.

    As the White House and Congress proceed with discussions of what to do next, Congress is working to stretch unemployment compensation for people who have been out of work for up to 79 weeks, or a year and a half. The House passed a bill for 13 additional weeks of aid for jobless workers in the 27 states with unemployment rates of 8.5 percent or higher, but some senators want an extra 12 weeks of benefits available in all states.

    With the safety net programs due to expire after Dec. 31, the White House and Congress have contemplated for some time that they would probably have to renew them.

    Besides the extended unemployment and food stamp benefits, they would keep alive a subsidy for people who lose their jobs and opt for the Cobra program, which lets them buy continued health care coverage under their former employers’ insurance plans. The subsidy covers up to 65 percent of the insurance premiums for most workers.

    As Democrats have found, aiding those who have lost their jobs is simpler than preventing more layoffs and creating new jobs.

    “There may not be anything we can do,” said a Democratic Congressional leadership aide who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter. “Under any circumstances, it’s going to take a while for jobs to recover.”

    John Harwood contributed reporting.

  6. Obama Moves to Muzzle Top Military Commanders

    Monday, October 5, 2009 7:42 PM

    By: David A. Patten Article Font Size

    Sources tell Newsmax the Obama administration is muzzling its top military leaders, and keeping them from publicly airing their views on how to fight the war in Afghanistan.

    The administration’s primary target: top Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whose speech in London last week apparently caught administration officials off guard.

    In fact, The Daily Telegraph reported that Obama’s advisers were “shocked and angered” by McChrystal’s speech.

    “This is a food fight in the war room, and it’s getting ugly,” observed Pulitzer Prize winning correspondent and Manhattan Institute scholar Judith Miller, regarding the sharply contrasting views being aired within the administration over how to fight the war.

    Special: Get Sarah Palin’s New Book – Incredible FREE Offer — Click Here Now.

    In his speech, McChrystal defended his request for 40,000 more soldiers to wage a counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan, warning “a strategy that does not leave Afghanistan in a stable position is probably a shortsighted strategy.”

    Without mentioning Vice President Joe Biden by name, McChrystal said the vice president’s proposal to scale back the objectives for the war would lead to “chaos-istan.”

    Shortly after those remarks, McChrystal was summoned to a face-to-face meeting with President Obama aboard Air Force One in Copenhagen, where Obama was making his ill-fated attempt to support Chicago’s bid to host the 2016 summer Olympic games. Obama’s National Security Adviser, Jim Jones, described their discussion as an exchange of “very direct views.”

    On Monday, in an obvious reference to McChrystal, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told the Association of the U.S. Army that “It is imperative that all of us taking part in these deliberations — civilian and military alike — provide our best advice to the president candidly but privately.”

    That statement appeared to echo remarks on Sunday from Jones, a retired Marine general. He told CNN, “Ideally, it’s best for military advice to come up through the chain of command.”

    The none-too-subtle message to America’s top military leaders: Don’t share your candid views on the war in public. It appears McChrystal received the message loud and clear. According to The Washington Independent, McChrystal spokesperson and Air Force Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis stated: “General McChrystal concurs with the secretary and shares his perspective that the president’s military and civilian policy advisers need to provide candid but private advice.”

    Sholtis also said that McChrystal has no current plans for additional public appearances, The Washington Independent reported.

    McChrystal became the top U.S. general in Afghanistan after Gates fired Gen. David D. McKiernan in May. McKiernan, who was criticized in some circles as insufficiently innovative, presided over a troop-strength increase of 21,000 soldiers. He had filed a request with the Pentagon for 10,000 more at the time he was replaced.

    At the time, Gates ordered McChrystal to provide “fresh thinking” and “fresh eyes” on Afghanistan. But apparently it was McChrystal’s fresh tongue that got him in trouble.

    The New York Times reported Monday that Gen. David H. Petraeus, who was widely credited with carrying out the successful surge in Iraq, has already toned down his remarks since Obama attained the presidency.

    “General Petraeus’s aides now privately call him ‘David the Dull,'” the Times reports, “and say he has largely muzzled himself from the fierce public debate about the war to avoid antagonizing the White House, which does not want pressure from military superstars and is wary of the general’s ambitions in particular.”

    The concern among some experts is that President Obama’s effort to tone down his military leaders may indicate he wants to triangulate a more politically palatable approach to fighting the war that may fall short of being militarily decisive.

    “The president won’t get honest opinions from his military advisers,” warns Dr. James Jay Carafano, a former Army lieutenant colonel who serves as a leading Heritage Foundation expert on defense and homeland security. “He has to trust people who work for him. And when you’ve muzzled the people who work for you, you can’t turn around and trust them to give you honest, candid guidance.”

    Carafano sharply criticized what he sees as Obama’s “committee” approach to Afghanistan.

    “This is not how wars get fought,” Carafano tells Newsmax. “You don’t fight wars by committee. Because now he’s turned this into a political debate, and you’re going to end up with a sub-optimal outcome.”

    Carafano says Obama appears to be “replaying all the worst decision making of McNamara and Johnson in Vietnam.”

    “This is the classic prescription for failure,” Carafano says of the administration’s indecisive approach. “And the military guy is sort of caught in the middle, because when the president doesn’t want to fight the war the right way, you have three options: You can salute and drive on, or you can resign, or you can stay but play politics and leak things. None of those are good outcomes; none of them are the way to win a war.”

    Carafano says: “I think this is a case where the generals are dead right and the politicians are dead wrong. And we’re going to choose a strategy based on what’s politically convenient.”

    Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., issued the following statement to Newsmax on Monday evening: “As we near the 8th anniversary of sustained combat in Afghanistan, it is important to reaffirm our commitment to victory there. At a time when record numbers of American and allied troops are losing their lives during combat in Afghanistan, we should give the utmost priority to listening to our commanders on the ground. We owe it to the troops who have already lost their lives to provide our forces with the adequate number of troops to accomplish the mission that they set out to do.

    “After the release of General McChrystal’s assessment, some Obama administration officials have gone so far as to minimize the value of the Commanding General’s assessment.

    “Instead, President Obama should be predominantly relying on the advice of his two senior commanders for the region, General Petraeus and General McChrystal.”

    Petraeus and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Michael Mullen have voiced support for deploying additional troops, but Petraeus has stopped short of endorsing McChrystal’s specific report. As Gen. Jones’ comments indicate, the military is far from united over how best to prosecute the war, however.

    Inhofe also stated Monday: “Politics, indecision, or ambivalence have no place in this process when we are clearly at a crucial stage of the war. Time and decisiveness are critical. As many have said, time may not be on our side in Afghanistan. With the winter approaching and the time to allocate additional forces dwindling, it is imperative that we enable our military leaders and the troops on the ground with all the resources and tools they require to make inroads against the insurgency.

    “While I agree that the Afghan Security Forces (ASF) also need to be dramatically increased to adequately protect the Afghan people and fight the Taliban, those efforts should happen in conjunction with an allied troop increase, not in place of such an increase. ‘Wait and see’ is not a war strategy and certainly not an approach that our military commanders are recommending,” he stated.

    While Miller believes McChrystal’s statements about Biden’s ideas went too far, she says she understands the frustration of some military leaders with an extended policy review that, in some ways, actually began even before Obama assumed office. She says Obama’s policy reversals on a host of issues – military tribunals, CIA torture investigations, and support for a shield law to protect reporters’ sources are but three examples – have left onlookers both at home and abroad wary of the direction Obama’s new Afghan strategy may take.

    “It’s been a series of flip-flops, and they have people very nervous,” she says.

    Obama also finds himself under serious pressure from the left wing of his party. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., has proposed legislation that would halt sending any additional troops to Afghanistan. Lee enlisted 21 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus as co-sponsors.

  7. Q: interesting to see where Judith Miller has landed. The Manhattan Institute is a conservative think tank. George Gilder and other conservatives of note are there or have passed through there. (See above article).


    He’s ragging on the current Resident (ROTUS) as much as the previous Resident.

    Too bad, Roberto, you could have had Hillary.

  9. ADMIN says:

    What if, as Marty Peretz asks: “what if his narcissism blinds him to the issues and problems in the world and the inveterate foes of the nation…?” We believe without doubt the narcissism indeed does blind them.


    well, O’s narcissism has already BLINDED him to the issues and problems of this country…he has scattered his attention on everything but what the people of this country need for him to FOCUS on…

    flit here, fly there…speech here, speech there…press conference here, press conference there…scattered and squandered time when O should be hunkering down and focus on urgent and immediate problems like a lazer beam…

    …we got the wrong person for the job…he doesn’t have the chops or the needed concentration and experience for what this office demands…

    …herbert says ‘blase’…MO ‘let them eat cake’…O just continues grinning here, there and everywhere…teleprompter always close by…

  10. Re medical malpractice costs — finally an actual figure!

    From w’s

    One of the suggestions being bandied around toward reducing the egregious amounts of money the US spends on health care is to make changes to medical malpractice and tort laws, so that doctors don’t have to spend as much money insuring themselves against malpractice suits, and don’t have to perform defensive procedures that they believe are medically irrelevant, but which will help defend them against a malpractice suit should one occur. This sounds really appealing, given how much doctors pay on malpractice insurance, and how frequently they are spuriously sued – if you’re an OB/GYN who performs births, you’re going to be sued by someone about every year and a half, and you will win almost all of those lawsuits. There’s only one problem – changing malpractice and tort laws wouldn’t save enough around to make a difference – Harvard Economists went looking in 2005, and determined that the US only spends about $12 per person per year on medical malpractice payouts, which isn’t even noise in the system. Much more data and conversation [ at h…/…w ]

  11. t was gallant of the president to say to the Olympic committee that Michelle is “a pretty big selling point for the city.” Gallant, but obviously untrue. And — this is where we pass from the merely silly to the ominous — suppose the president was being not gallant but sincere. Perhaps the premise of the otherwise inexplicable trip to Denmark was that there is no difficulty, foreign or domestic, that cannot be melted by the sunshine of the Obama persona. But in the contest between the world and any president’s charm, bet on the world.
    If you like people who have their entire face crammed into one quarter of its surface area, if scoop jaws and nasty retorts are you thing, then he is right when he says Michelle is a big selling point for Chicago.

  12. Bo’s narcissism is a liability to the U.S, as the trip to Copenhagen so aptly illustrated. He just oozes narcissism and entitlement, as does MO.

  13. changing malpractice and tort laws wouldn’t save enough around to make a difference – Harvard Economists went looking in 2005, and determined that the US only spends about $12 per person per year on medical malpractice payouts, which isn’t even noise in the system.
    This is materially misleading, and I have a sneaking hunch that the American Trial Lawyers Association (plaintiffs bar) is the source. If the cost of malpractice payouts is that small, why are doctors leaving the profession, or curtailing their practices to not deliver babies. Something does not add up. Also, the bulk of the wasted cost results from the performance of unnecessary cya tests, which hospitals are only to happy to perform because they generate additional income at great cost to the system. I for one would not rely on this article for policy making purposes. I am glad you posted it to see how the other side is arguing the case. But I think it is materially misleading, or seems so at least to me. Perhaps someone else has a different take. If so I would be glad to hear it.

  14. “Obama Aides Act to Fix Safety Net”


    Where the heck is all the money coming from to do this?

  15. The malpractice premium of my mothers doctor was $100,000 per year, and to curtail that premium she quit delivering babies and eventually left the profession. She had no malpractice claims against her ever. But that is what the traffic would bear. When I think about this what I weigh in my own mind is the need for injured patients to be fully compensated for their losses including pain and suffering occasioned by proven medical malpractice which is legitimate, vs. the incidence of horrendous punitive damages and class action law suits by people who knowingly assumed risks and trial lawyers like John Edwards, who make a fortune through punitive damages and contingent fees.

  16. “This is a food fight in the war room, and it’s getting ugly,”

    McCrystal waited how long for bambi to give him the time of day. Meanwhile men and women are dying at the hands of the Taliban while bambi twiddles. I for one am glad that McCrystal forced bambi’s hand. And bambi should be deeply ashamed of himself for putting a trip to Copenhagen ahead of this and many other dire issues the U.S. is facing…namely unemployment and health care.

  17. Eugene’s Robinson’s article about Gen McChystal was about the most disrespectful thing this Obama suction cup has ever writen.

  18. Carafano says Obama appears to be “replaying all the worst decision making of McNamara and Johnson in Vietnam.”




    “Eugene’s Robinson’s article about Gen McChystal was about the most disrespectful thing this Obama suction cup has ever writen.”


    Double agreed.

  19. Mr. Split Personality…

    Rahm shows his pragmatic ways in deal with prescription drug manufacturers

    By Alexander Bolton – 10/06/09 06:05 AM ET

    White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel is in the unusual position of arguing against healthcare bills he championed as a House member.

    Emanuel, one of the principal architects of healthcare reform, played a crucial role in striking an accord with the pharmaceutical industry earlier this year. And now some congressional Democrats want to rip that deal to shreds.

    In exchange for billions of dollars in concessions to help finance health reform, drug companies received a promise that health legislation that Emanuel has touted would not be in the final bill.

    Emanuel and other White House advisers made a calculation early in the healthcare debate that they needed at least one powerful industry on board with their plans to overhaul the nation’s healthcare system. Suspecting that the insurance industry would probably not be on board, the divide-and-conquer strategy focused on the pharmaceutical industry.

    A veteran of the Clinton White House, Emanuel witnessed the death of healthcare reform in 1994 after it was attacked repeatedly by powerful players in the healthcare community.

    Fifteen years later, that experience appears to be guiding Emanuel’s thinking.

    A White House aide told The Hill, “Having stakeholders at the table who previously opposed reform has been an important part of this process.”

    Some Democrats on Capitol Hill believe Emanuel and others could have gotten more from the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), adding they did not sign off on the pact and are not bound by it.

    It’s a politically intriguing situation for Emanuel, who during his career in the House positioned himself as a leading antagonist of the pharmaceutical industry.

    He spearheaded a drive in 2003 to pass legislation allowing for the importation of cheaper drugs from Canada and other countries. In 2006, while chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, he championed a push to allow the government to negotiate drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries. The latter was included in the House Democrats’ “Six in ‘06” campaign platform.

    Both proposals have long been opposed by PhRMA.

    In the deal crafted by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and approved by Emanuel, drug companies agreed not to oppose healthcare reform and even help pay for it. The industry agreed to cut the cost of brand-name prescription drugs for seniors by $80 billion over 10 years, covering about half of those seniors who fall into the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole.”

    In return, Baucus and White House officials said they would support a reform package that would not include the drug importation measure nor the measure to allow the government to negotiate drug prices on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries, according to a report in The New York Times.

    The Senate is an important battleground if the White House deal with PhRMA is to be preserved. That is because legislation passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee already includes several provisions disliked by the industry.

    The legislation crafted by panel chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) would give the secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services authority to negotiate Medicare drug prices and would require the industry to pay an additional $63 billion over 10 years in Medicaid rebates.

    In the weeks ahead, Democratic Policy Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan (N.D.), Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and others will push policies that the White House pledged to fend off.

    Dorgan said he “wasn’t involved” in the deal. Dorgan added that a senior White House official denied that the president would oppose drug re-importation provisions in healthcare reform.

    Dorgan said he will offer an importation amendment to the healthcare reform bill when it reaches the Senate floor, something that administration officials may find difficult to lobby against. Not only did Emanuel sponsor drug re-importation bill that passed the House in 2003, Obama himself was a former co-sponsor of Dorgan’s proposal and campaigned on the issue last year.

    Unlike many Democratic proposals, Dorgan can count on the support of a few Republicans. Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), whom many Democrats consider a crucial vote in the healthcare debate, is the lead GOP co-sponsor of the measure. Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and David Vitter (R-La.) have also supported it.

    When the House defied a veto threat from President George W. Bush and passed the re-importation bill in 2003, Emanuel and other proponents of the legislation congratulated each other on the House floor.

    Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-Mo.), who was among those who worked with Emanuel on that bill, said she does not understand why her former colleague agreed to the deal.

    “PhRMA got off easy,” she said.

    Rep. Marion Berry (D-Ark.), who has asked Democratic leaders to attach re-importation language to the House healthcare bill, said, “They never should have engaged in that negotiation before knowing more about what they were doing.”

    Waxman told The Hill that he is also “open-minded” about including drug re-importation legislation in the healthcare package if it passes the Senate.

    Critics of the proposal argue that the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that it would not save much money, but Harkin and liberal advocates disagree.

    “Our assumption is that if the prohibition that prevents Medicare from bargaining for cheaper prices was rescinded and Medicare did have the ability to bargain for cheaper prices, it would have a dramatic impact on getting prices down,” said Ron Pollack, executive director of Families USA, a liberal group.

    Pollack defended Emanuel by saying the PhRMA deal would be worthwhile if it helps Congress expands health coverage to millions of Americans.

    But one senior Democratic senator said the $80 billion in concessions from the drug industry amounted to “pocket change” when compared to its projected profits over the next decade.

    Another lawmaker, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), a member of the HELP Committee, said, “I don’t think that’s enough and whatever those agreements were, they are not agreements I’m a part of … I’m hopeful we can do a lot better there.”

    But Brown indicated he understands Emanuel’s deal-making, noting that the former Illinois lawmaker “now has a new boss.”

    Ken Johnson, a senior vice president at PhRMA, however, disputed the notion that drug companies have won an overly favorable deal. He noted that pharmaceutical stock prices have remained flat and that pharmaceutical indexes have fallen on the Dow Jones Industrial and S&P 500 exchanges.

    “Part of our agreement will provide immediate relief for seniors and disabled Americans who hit the coverage gap, cutting their out-of-pocket costs in half,” said Johnson. “Our agreement also will provide billions of dollars to help expand coverage to millions of uninsured Americans. That’s a huge commitment, which will force our companies to make some very tough choices.”

  20. NEW YORK—When American diplomats sat down for the first in a series of face-to-face talks with their Iranian counterparts last October in Geneva, few would have predicted that what began as a negotiation over Tehran’s nuclear programs would wind up in a stunning demand by the Security Council that Israel give up its atomic weapons.

    Yet that’s just what the U.N. body did this morning, in a resolution that was as striking for the way member states voted as it was for its substance. All 10 nonpermanent members voted for the resolution, along with permanent members Russia, China and the United Kingdom. France and the United States abstained. By U.N. rules, that means the resolution passes.

    The U.S. abstention is sending shock waves through the international community, which has long been accustomed to the U.S. acting as Israel’s de facto protector on the Council. It also appears to reverse a decades-old understanding between Washington and Tel Aviv that the U.S. would acquiesce in Israel’s nuclear arsenal as long as that arsenal remained undeclared. The Jewish state is believed to possess as many as 200 weapons.

    Tehran reacted positively to the U.S. abstention. “For a long time we have said about Mr. Obama that we see change but no improvement,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. “Now we can say there has been an improvement.”

    The resolution calls for a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East. It also demands that Israel sign the 1970 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and submit its nuclear facilities to international inspection. Two similar, albeit nonbinding, resolutions were approved last September by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna.

    At the time, the U.S. opposed a resolution focused on Israel but abstained from a more general motion calling for regional disarmament. “We are very pleased with the agreed approach reflected here today,” said then-U.S. Ambassador to the IAEA Glyn Davies.

    Since then, however, relations between the Obama administration and the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, never warm to begin with, have cooled dramatically. The administration accused Tel Aviv of using “disproportionate force” following a Nov. 13 Israeli aerial attack on an apparent munitions depot in Gaza City, in which more than a dozen young children were killed.

    Mr. Netanyahu also provoked the administration’s ire after he was inadvertently caught on an open microphone calling Mr. Obama “worse than Chamberlain.” The comment followed the president’s historic Dec. 21 summit meeting with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Geneva, the first time leaders of the two countries have met since the Carter administration.

    But the factors that chiefly seemed to drive the administration’s decision to abstain from this morning’s vote were more strategic than personal. Western negotiators have been pressing Iran to make good on its previous agreement in principle to ship its nuclear fuel to third countries so it could be rendered usable in Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities. The Iranians, in turn, have been adamant that they would not do so unless progress were made on international disarmament.

    “The Iranians have a point,” said one senior administration official. “The U.S. can’t forever be the enforcer of a double standard where Israel gets a nuclear free ride but Iran has to abide by every letter in the NPT. President Obama has put the issue of nuclear disarmament at the center of his foreign policy agenda. His credibility is at stake and so is U.S. credibility in the Muslim world. How can we tell Tehran that they’re better off without nukes if we won’t make the same point to our Israeli friends?”

    Also factoring into the administration’s thinking are reports that the Israelis are in the final stages of planning an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations. Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who met with his Israeli counterpart Ehud Barak in Paris last week, has been outspoken in his opposition to such a strike. The Jerusalem Post has reported that Mr. Gates warned Mr. Barak that the U.S. would “actively stand in the way” of any Israeli strike.

    “The Israelis need to look at this U.N. vote as a shot across their bow,” said a senior Pentagon official. “If they want to start a shooting war with Iran, we won’t have their backs on the Security Council.”

    An Israeli diplomat observed bitterly that Jan. 20 was the 68th anniversary of the Wannsee conference, which historians believe is where Nazi Germany planned the extermination of European Jewry. An administration spokesman said the timing of the vote was “purely coincidental.”

    Write to

    Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

  21. Where China leads, the US followsWashington is increasingly beholden to Beijing’s point of view – but some fear Barack Obama is being too accommodating

    Simon Tisdall, Tuesday 6 October 2009

    Reaching the parts other countries cannot reach, China did the Obama administration a noteworthy favour this week, persuading North Korea’s eccentric godfather, Kim Jong-il, to cool it after months of name-calling, missile firings and a nuclear test. The price of the Dear Leader’s compliance? The chance to talk directly to the Americans. “Hostile relations [with] the US should be converted into peaceful ties through bilateral talks without fail,” Kim said.

    The agreement represented a diplomatic coup for China after Pyongyang walked away from negotiations on its atomic weapons. It also advanced Barack Obama’s global non-proliferation campaign. But perhaps its greatest significance was that in this case, as elsewhere, Beijing, not Washington, took the lead. By taking on the role of facilitator, China in effect took control.

    The US is having to get used to these manifestations of China’s growing reach. Whether addressing climate change, achieving a “balanced” global economy and “realistic” exchange rates, or pursuing fair trade based on World Trade Organisation rules, Washington is increasingly beholden to Beijing’s point of view. China is, after all, its largest creditor. And when it comes to geo-strategic issues such as Iran, Burma, Somali piracy or North Korean nukes, it is increasingly dependent on China’s goodwill or, at least, its co-operation.

    Obama set the tone this year, stressing the desirability of pursuing a pragmatic global partnership. Speaking in February, secretary of state Hillary Clinton spelled out what that meant. Concerns about China’s lamentable human rights record, for example, could not be allowed to “interfere with [joint efforts to tackle] the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis”.

    But confirmation today that Obama has put off meeting the Dalai Lama until after his visit to China next month has reawakened fears that Washington is going too far in accommodating Beijing’s interests, that its new policy of “strategic reassurance” comes at the cost of abandoning both friends and principles, and that in the end, the US will be the loser.

    The Tibetans have put on a brave face. But it’s the first time in nearly two decades that the exiled Tibetan leader has been refused an audience, however informal, with the US president. And the snub undoubtedly creates a precedent other countries may follow.

    Critics of Obama’s policy argue that when China’s interests diverge from those of the US, it is much less obliging. Thus does its growing stake in Iran’s oil and gas fields lead Beijing to oppose tougher UN sanctions on Tehran over its suspect nuclear programme. China has ignored western pleas to halt its construction of energy pipelines through Burma, cease arming Sri Lanka’s repressive government, and stop investing in Sudan. Despite improved cross-straits relations, China’s deployment of missiles aimed at Taiwan continues apace.

    Wen Liao of Longford Advisors, a Hong Kong consultancy, argued recently that China’s rising world role was a positive development. Its “new-found assertiveness” could help create stability and prosperity in Asia and beyond. For example, China, disapproving (like the US) of Russia’s “dismemberment” of Georgia last year, had successfully encouraged its central Asian allies to refuse to recognise the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

    Veteran US diplomat Henry Kissinger also believes in closer bilateral co-operation as “the centre of gravity of international affairs” shifts to Asia. “It would be especially pernicious if opposing blocs were to form on each side of the Pacific,” he said in a recent article. But Michael Lostumbo, a Rand Corporation analyst, warned that while China sometimes played a constructive international role, other unpredictable forces were at work in the People’s Republic. They were responsible for the anti-Japanese riots of 2005 and continuing intolerance of minority groups such as the Tibetans and Uighurs – all products, in his view, of the “extreme nationalism” evident in an insecure country that worried its neighbours and yet still cast itself as a victim. China’s rapid military build-up contradicted President Hu Jintao’s boast at last month’s UN general assembly that “China has always been and will continue to be a positive force for world peace”, Lostumbo suggested.

    Even if Obama is putting his trust in the “new China”, it seems many people round the world do not share his faith. According to the 2008 Pew Global Attitudes Survey, 77% of Chinese believe people in other countries generally like China. In fact, in 23 countries surveyed, only about one-third said they did – and the numbers are falling.


    The former first couple are now living in Dallas, and Laura Bush is now working with the arts community there. “I’ve been very happy to be home. Dallas has been very welcoming and is a dynamic and vibrant city. I’m the honorary chairman of the opera and new performance hall, so that’s been fun.”

    She feels for the Obamas, who have two young daughters to raise, and credits the Clintons with setting a rule for press coverage on children living in the White House. “Fortunately, because Bill and Hillary had asked the press to let Chelsea have a normal life, we had a precedent for Barbara and Jenna. The press gave them some room to grow and make mistakes, which every college student does!” she laughed. “When Barbara and Jenna did make the front page once, Luci Johnson wrote a letter saying her mother, Lady Bird, had told her, ‘Just remember, don’t do anything you wouldn’t want on the front page of the New York Times, because if you do it, it’ll be there!'”

    Mrs. Bush had the ladies roaring with laughter, when she admitted some of her White House memories. “Cheri Blair [Former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair’s wife] and I loved to commiserate about the press…and other things! George says that any time he was kind of like, ‘Why me?’, I always said ‘Hey buster, you volunteered for this!’ I volunteered too, I didn’t get paid for it, but I was along 100 percent.”

    The former first lady said she gained great respect for Hillary Clinton as she watched her difficult campaign for the 2008 election. “Our campaigns are so long and so brutal that the people who finally win are almost self-selected because they have emotional and physical stamina to run for office. As I watched Hillary Clinton during her run, I had and have a lot of admiration for her. It’s tough every day. It’s not just physical or emotional, but just the chance of saying one thing that gets blown up by the media!

  23. This site had a lot of info that I hadn’t seen before, and some different slants on hc issues:



    Sadly, for women, things haven’t panned out all that well with this administration. Despite receiving 56 percent of women’s votes, President Obama’s record on women’s issues thus far is sparse, and suggests something that he either has a tone-deaf nature—or, if you’re inclined to a more sinister view, that he may be uncomfortable with women.

    He surely hasn’t surrounded himself with many. Of his 24 Cabinet picks, only six were women. Perhaps even more telling are President Obama’s czar picks, which do not require Senate confirmation. Of the 35-40 picks he’s made to date, only three have been women. That’s less than 10 percent.

    There were harbingers of the Pew poll results—starting on Day One with Rick Warren, Obama’s choice to deliver his inaugural invocation. There was also the selection of Alexia Kelley, founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good to a major Department of Health and Human Services post. And there’s what Obama didn’t say in his health-care speech.

    Also ignored in the health-care bills circulating are important women’s issues such as gender-based pricing and domestic violence as a pre-existing condition. The advocate for these issues could have been Valerie Jarrett, who chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls. When President Obama selected Jarrett in March, I wrote an op-ed for The Daily Beast in which I argued that we should give Jarrett a chance, even though she has a scant record on women’s issues. I received a lot of critical emails and blog traffic; mea culpa, my critics were right and I was wrong. Shortly after her selection, Jarrett took leave to focus on Chicago hosting the 2016 Olympics.

  25. LOL…Admin,

    I read the interview about Laura Bush this morning. My first thought is why isn’t she gushing about meme?

  26. “Beneath the mask, is a mask.”

    Beneath the mask is bealzebub.
    he is a dangerous, meglomaniacal, evil POS and you have had him nailed from the beginning, admin. i came to the party late, in january of 2008 while desperately searching for a place that would provide perspective on the primary and I’ve been here ever since.

    It is disgusting, obscene and tragic that jack Squat is squatting in our WH. What’s even more egregious are these so-called POS so-called journalists daring to stick their toes into the icy waters of reality now that they think it’s safe.

    I read that Condi Nast is closing 2 mags – Gourmet and Brides something or other. Let’s hope Vanity Fair is next to go out of biz, followed quickly by all MSM newspapers and cable companies.

    The day of MSM is over.
    The day for Big Pink and other honest internet sites is here.

  27. But that is what the traffic would bear.


    Considering what we know about consumer health insurance, and the lack of competition across state lines — I’m not sure that insurance premiums are evidence for much more than greed of insurance companies.

    What I note is that the people who are pushing ‘tort reform’ hardly ever give any definite figures with perspective, percents, etc. So I expect there’s something fishy in their claims.


    Financial Follies 2.0

    A year later, the banking industry remains largely unregulated. Why one former official thinks Obama’s current team won’t be able to turn the economy around.

    One year after the global economic collapse, the United States has yet to adopt any legislation to change the way it oversees or regulates financial industries. Banks that received bail-out money still don’t have any restrictions placed on the way they spend the government’s cash, and although President Obama wants Congress to create a new consumer financial protection agency to act as a watch dog against unfair lending practices and confusing credit card contracts, the idea has met massive resistance from Washington’s well-funded business lobbyists.

    But there are ways to regulate businesses and financial transactions without spending piles of money or passing new laws, says William Black, a former federal regulator during the Savings & Loan crisis and a professor of economics and law at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Black appears in Michael Moore’s new documentary “Capitalism: A Love Story,” in which he acts as Moore’s narrative Sherpa, guiding viewers through the history of federal financial reform. Black spoke with NEWSWEEK’s Nancy Cook about the possibility of a new federal financial agency; the problem with current regulators like Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury; and the search for every industry’s Achilles Heel. Excerpts:

    NEWSWEEK: A few weeks ago marked the one-year anniversary of the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers. Since the financial collapse, there have been no indictments. The Dow is ready to hit 10,000 again. Where is the outrage?
    Black: During the Saving & Loans crisis, we had over 1,000 convictions that involved insiders and gigantic borrowers. Now we have zero. The FBI did not even begin to investigate the large subprime lenders until March 2007. People would be upset if they had the facts, or if you asked them how many criminal referrals there were for mortgage fraud. (There were 65,000 last year.) Meanwhile, the administration is saying there is no problem and that the financial crisis is over. That’s the exact opposite of what you want to say and do if you want dramatic resources to change things.

    In dissecting the financial collapse, what do you think went wrong?
    Eighty percent of the toxic mortgages that were done were unregulated, but that still leaves 20 percent of a huge market. Had the examiners looked, the incident of the fraud was so great that they couldn’t have missed it. The FBI warned about toxic mortgages years ago, but in response to the 9/11 attacks, the FBI transferred 500 white collar specialists to national security. The Bush administration refused to replace the FBI agents it transferred–even though Enron collapsed within about two months.

    Now, you have to think in terms of lags. The Enron case was going to trial. There are over 100 FBI agencies assigned to Enron alone. With the lag, who was left to investigate white collar crimes? It’s nice to have warned about toxic mortgages. It would have been nicer to stay on top of the warning, but there was nobody left in terms of the numbers. As late as 2006, there were only 180 FBI agents working on mortgage fraud. At its peak, we had 1,000 FBI agents working on the Savings & Loans fraud. Regulators can’t bring criminal cases, but the regulators are the ones who have to create the road map for successful regulations for fraud. When you screw up the regulatory process, you have, de facto, decriminalized these elite complex frauds.

    Do you think the team Obama has put in place can overhaul the regulatory agencies?The administration’s officials have all been failures as regulators. [Chairman of the Securities Exchange Commission] Mary Shapiro’s big thing was self-regulation. That worked real well: the self-regulation of the investment banks. Ben Bernanke [Chairman of the Federal Reserve] I’m also very critical of, but I do give him credit for being willing to drop a lot of his anti-regulatory ideology in the face of the crisis. He literally wrote the book on the Great Depression, but he was not going to go down in history as the person who caused the second Great Depression. Some of the things Bernanke did were very bad, but he is in sharp contrast to Geithner who has been wrong about everything in his career. When Geithner was once answering a question in response to Ron Paul, he said, ‘I’ve never been a regulator.’ He was then the President of the New York Federal Reserve, and he purports that he was never a regulator? That is a demonstration of what is wrong with the Federal Reserve banks if the head of the unit doesn’t think he’s a regulator. He’s a disaster.

    What about the criticism that regulators are not paid enough, or well enough to attract talent and keep it?

    The pay can be very bad, but it’s not simply that the pay is low. The agency regulating the Savings & Loans was not permitted to pay as much as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management pays. So, in terms of the initial selection, the better people will go to the other agencies. At the SEC, leading up to WorldCom and Enron, the turnover also became obscene. The average lawyer at the SEC stayed barely over two years, and your first year, you’re kind of useless. The far biggest thing is leadership. As long as the leader is some kind-of clown, the agency will fail.

    What needs to happen now?
    It’s been two-and-half years since the secondary markets collapsed, and there is zero meaningful regulatory reform adopted by legislation. But you don’t need laws to do things in the regulatory ranks. You’ll never have enough regulators or top-of-the scale regulators, so you always look for the Achilles heel. In the Savings & Loans case, that was growth. In 1990 to 1991, there was going to be a subprime crisis. Lenders were starting to do the same practices, and we told them, ‘No.’ There was no crisis.

    The SEC, for example, has never effectively regulated the credit rating agencies, but the rating agencies are the Achilles heel. There are only three rating agencies. If you send your 20 best people from the SEC into any of the rating agencies, they can evaluate credit risk. They can find out on day one that the rating agencies never check loan files. On day two, they can say that the rating agencies can’t give out more ratings without checking loan files. On day three, the secondary market collapses and the bubble bursts early.

    Regulators have to be creative and have to be aggressive. They have to know how to succeed not having the resources, but there is nearly always is an Achilles Heel.

    Does the Obama Administration have the political will to bring about financial reform?
    No and no–although I’m not even sure that the central problem is will. The administration seems not to believe that you need fundamental change. I know they’ve given speeches recently. The rhetoric is starting to come around, but the proposals are still designed to create the status quo before the crisis. It’s analytically bankrupt. Nothing they’re trying for would have prevented the current crisis had it been in place, and it’s very unlikely that it will prevent crisis in the future.

    In particular, the administration want to create the secondary market that caused trillions of dollars of losses. They still want a massively, too-large financial structure — so large that it clearly harms the economy. They still want to compete and be the place where finance will reside. That’s like saying, “We want to be there when it blows up.”


    She’s a plain-spoken pol from Toledo who wants to put Wall Street bankers behind bars – Marcy Kaptur

    Hillary/Kaptur 2012 : )

    Go Marcy!

    Marcy Stands Against the bailout scam…

  30. “A year later, the banking industry remains largely unregulated. Why one former official thinks Obama’s current team won’t be able to turn the economy around.”


    And just yesterday I listened to one media idiot on Lou Dobbs say that at the very least we should acknowledge obama’s victory in saving the banks. He was defending his master against the SNL skit on the weekend that spoke to so many about all his failings.

  31. Laura Bush is still a class actt, unlike the 1st lady impersonator now in the WH.

    I just watched that Savior Self Clip. That is CREEPY!
    Planet earth about to be recycled!
    How about;
    Jack Squat about to be recycled?

  32. admin Says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    Wow! Big Kudos to Hillary from Laura Bush..

    Thats a happening!

    Thanks for posting the news, admin-

  33. Dear Admin,

    Brilliant post. 🙂

    I just wanted to remind you that Obama stated that if Michelle were to debate Bill Clinton as part of the primary process, he was quite sure that she would win. I think these two have psychotic breaks.

  34. Admin – one more for Marcy…she carries Hillary’s voice now in this dismal Congress…

    her speech telling people to “squat in their own homes” is in this article…I could not figure out how to bring that here…although I tried…


    Marcy explains the ‘scam’ so average people can understand – the american people and their homes are only assets to be acquired and O and the democratic congress is doing “squat’ to help the american people…it’s all a charade…three monty robbery…

  35. I just wanted to remind you that Obama stated that if Michelle were to debate Bill Clinton as part of the primary process, he was quite sure that she would win. I think these two have psychotic breaks.


    It’s their delusions of grandeur, self-importance, and narcissism. BC would win anytime, anywhere. His grasp of the issues is so much greater than the two pretenders, it isn’t even funny. They are not in the same league, whatsoever.

  36. Bill Clinton would leave both of them speechless in a debate where he did not have to prop them up…he would debate circles around both of them…

    …let’s see the ‘old page’ of yesterday Bill and Hillary Clinton have a fair debate between O and MO…and see who knows what…

    …not even close…ha!

  37. “I just wanted to remind you that Obama stated that if Michelle were to debate Bill Clinton as part of the primary process, he was quite sure that she would win. I think these two have psychotic breaks.”


    Woah! No kidding. And he said it with a straight face???

  38. admin:

    The only thing worse than a narcissist is a racist narcissist or a narcissistic racist (?)

    If you don’t think this video is too provocative, please embed 🙂

  39. Pelosi says new tax is ‘on the table’

    here’s hoping SF voters have learned something about Nancy and give her the gate!

    A new value-added tax (VAT) is “on the table” to help the U.S. address its fiscal liabilities, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday night.

    Pelosi, appearing on PBS’s “The Charlie Rose Show” asserted that “it’s fair to look at” the VAT as part of an overhaul of the nation’s tax code.

    “I would say, Put everything on the table and subject it to the scrutiny that it deserves,” Pelosi told Rose when asked if the VAT has any appeal to her.

    The VAT is a tax on manufacturers at each stage of production on the amount of value an additional producer adds to a product.

    Pelosi argued that the VAT would level the playing field between U.S. and foreign manufacturers, the latter of which do not have pension and healthcare costs included in the price of their goods because their governments provide those services, financed by similar taxes.

    “They get a tax off of that and they use that money to pay the healthcare for their own workers,” Pelosi said, using the example of auto manufacturers. “So their cars coming into our country don’t have a healthcare component cost.

    “Somewhere along the way, a value-added tax plays into this. Of course, we want to take down the healthcare cost, that’s one part of it,” the Speaker added. “But in the scheme of things, I think it’s fair look at a value- added tax as well.”

    Pelosi said that any new taxes would come after the Congress finishes the healthcare debate consuming most lawmakers’ time, and that it may come as part of a larger overhaul to the tax code.

    The Speaker also emphasized that any reworking of the tax code would not result in an increase in taxes on middle-class Americans.

  40. The Speaker also emphasized that any reworking of the tax code would not result in an increase in taxes on middle-class Americans.


    That is a lie. The health insurance reform will result in large increases in taxes for middle class Americans. If one has employer provided health care, the benefit will be taxed as income. In addition, there will be higher premiums, deductibles, and co-pays, since employers will face a 40 % tax on “cadillac” health plans; plans above $8,000 or 9,000/year.


    (it is even worse than the lies they are telling)

    “Labor Department comes clean about fake jobs”:

    FINALLY, a confession!

    I’ve been writing in this column for years that the way the Labor Department calculates the number of jobs in this country is deceptive.

    In 11 of the 12 months, the government adds massive numbers of jobs — sometimes more than 100,000 — that it thinks, but can’t prove, exist.

    This is because the Labor Department uses something called the birth/death model, which assumes that no matter how bad the economy is, there are itty-bitty, newly-formed companies — which can’t be reached by government surveyors — that are creating jobs.

    I’ve said that this assumption is ridiculous — that these companies probably don’t exist. And non-existent companies can’t create jobs.

    Not only is the public fooled by this practice, but policymakers are being led astray. So the Labor Department, essentially, lied again when it reported last Friday that only 263,000 jobs disappeared from the economy during September.

    As shocking as that figure was, the more truthful number was actually worse because there were 34,000 of these phantom birth/death jobs included in the count. Nearly 1 million of these non-existent jobs have been added to the government’s count since the beginning of 2009, mostly this past spring.

    As I’ve said before, these bogus jobs are what caused the employment numbers to look slightly better in March, April, May and June, and created the notion that the economy was somehow on the mend.

    Right after Friday’s report came out, Bloomberg News called Chris Manning, the national benchmark branch chief at the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, and asked about the 34,000 probably non-existent jobs.

    “In this period of steep job losses, the birth/death model didn’t work as well as it usually does,” Manning told Bloomberg. “To the extent that there was an overstatement in the birth/death model, that is likely to still be there.” No freakin’ kidding! This year alone, this model has added over 700,000 jobs that don’t exist to the government’s count.

  42. birdgal Says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    The Speaker also emphasized that any reworking of the tax code would not result in an increase in taxes on middle-class Americans.


    The woman is a pathological liar. She deserves to be kicked to the curb (and hard)

  43. The woman is a pathological liar. She deserves to be kicked to the curb (and hard)


    Unfortunately, the people of SF love her.

  44. Here is some more information about the demise of the dollar. Something is definitely up because have the news says there is a group of nations trying to get rid of the dollar and then we have several saying it isn’t so. I don’t know.

    The demise of the dollar
    In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading

    By Robert Fisk
    Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars.

    Dollar Collapse Warning
    This Is It, This Is The Red Alert..Get Ready For The Dollar Collapse.

    In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.

    Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

    The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.

  45. DeLay to quit ‘Dancing With the Stars’

    you mean he will be forced to go back to his old job- Bug Exterminator? hee!


    “Tom DeLay is gearing up to quit ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars” as a result of stress fractures in both of his feet, according to a report from People magazine.

    The former Republican House Majority Leader will withdraw on tonight’s live results show, according to People”


    Delay appears to have a serious case of osteoporosis where stress fractures are a common occurrence resulting from very little trauma.

  46. “The woman is a pathological liar. She deserves to be kicked to the curb (and hard)”


    Then I guess she won’t have any problem lying about bambie’s birth certificate or lack thereof.

  47. # JanH Says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    “The woman is a pathological liar. She deserves to be kicked to the curb (and hard)”


    Then I guess she won’t have any problem lying about bambie’s birth certificate or lack thereof.


    Under Oath? That even would be ticket worthy!!

  48. even=event

    birdgal, there hasn’t been a fresh poll on Pelosi’s approval rating since May or June…

    I just checked Gallup… maybe someone will suggest a fresh poll on her approval rating to Gallup or Rassmussen.

  49. S Says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 6:16 pm

    Love Marcy!

    Thanks for the reminder there are still a few in Congress fighting for the average Joes.

  50. Gallup Poll has Congress Falling to 72% disapproval…. 21% approval. Lowest since 01/09

    Nancy may be sitting in the dumpster and doesn’t know it yet…

  51. Obama cuts off funding for center documenting Iranian human rights violations
    Yet another Which-Side-Is-Obama-On Alert: “Obama Cuts Off Funding for Iranian Human-Rights Documentation,” by Michael Rubin at The Corner, October 6 (thanks to Banafsheh):

    I’ve got to say, even for the Obama administration, this is a real shocker.

    The Clinton State Department has decided to cut off all funding for the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC), which was compiling lists of protestors imprisoned in this summer’s unrest, as well as those who were killed in the crackdown.

    IHRDC is what human-rights advocates should be: methodical, precise, and apolitical in their work. And yet, the Obama administration has, without explanation, cut off all federal funding to the group which has consistently fulfilled its mandate.

    Anyone, across the political spectrum who has any interest in human rights in Iran keeps the IHRDC reports on their desks.

  52. Axelrod met with Roger Ailes to whine about Fox News’s non-worship of Obama

    If Sarah Palin had her own show, the entire White House would become apoplectic..

    He’s got one cable news network fact-checking comedy skits about him and another running hour-long infomercials for his health-care plan.

    And he still can’t stop complaining.

    At a time of tension between their organizations, White House senior adviser David Axelrod met with Fox News chairman and chief executive officer Roger Ailes two weeks ago, sources tell POLITICO.

    The two met privately in Manhattan during the president’s visit to the United Nations.

    The two discussed news coverage and the relationship between the organizations.

    An FNC spokesperson tells POLITICO that Ailes and Axelrod had a “cordial conversation” over coffee while the president was in town.

    In Axelrod’s defense, so dominant is FNC these days that Red Eye’s pulling more viewers in the 25-54 range at 3 a.m. than CNN is at 8 p.m. Which I guess means the White House is better off scheduling Hillary for an interview with Pinch, the New York Times marionette, than with Campbell Brown. More whining:

    Though White House aides are hesitant to criticize the network on the record, their disdain for the programming–including Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck–is clearly evident. “They are the paid political programming for a party, and occasionally a couple of news stories break out in the midst of 23 hours and 45 minutes of political rantings and opinion,” said one senior administration official. “Everything about it is one-sided political opinion directed at a base. Period.”

    In honor of the “biggest bunch of crybabies” to hit D.C. in years, enjoy the Onion’s special report on ObamaCare, a pitch-perfect parody of what the left would have you believe runs 24/7 on Fox News. Exit quotation: “Let me dispel these ridiculous rumors once and for all and set the record straight: Under my plan, seniors are going to be killed the way they want to be killed, end of story.”

  53. Mrs. Smith, Delay has spent too many years sitting at a desk plotting the ruin of many people to have gotten much exercise. He is really out of site and is VERY inhibited. I watched him for two weeks, he is a very uptight individual. Gee I wondered what he was doing in the 60’s, probably singing in church.

  54. I have gained a lot of respect for Mrs. Bush after her comments. I am sure as a woman, despite political differences, she empathized with Hillary-and g-d knows, she had to deal with a very difficult man as well. As for MO, lets be quite honest, she came off as a racist early in the campaign and as a anti-american. They “fixed” her up real fast an d with the lies and distortions of big media, entertainment rags, and just about all other media, they made her out to be some avant guard, modern day ,professional woman , mother and all around saint….it is an image so affront to the truth that it is exactly the same type of “fairy tale” Bill Clinton described Obama’s campaign early in. She is a fraud and truthfully, I prefer him to her any day of the week. hater th

  55. “As for MO, lets be quite honest, she came off as a racist early in the campaign and as a anti-american.”


    And if anything, she has gotten much worse.

  56. It was no fun at our end lil ole grape. 🙂

    Whoever we angered will really be upset by the next article, so fasten your seatbelts.

  57. awwwwwww…poor axeldud. I hope Fox shut him down.
    Another mistake, another sign of desperation by the Obama Administration. Never get into a pissing contest with someone who buys ink by the barrel and has the largest audience in broadcast journalism. And if you want to converse with them, never send in a little prick like Raham Emanuel who looks like a 98 pound weakling and threatens like a dockside bully, because threats of this nature will bite your administration in the ass. You can count on it now. Have you noticed that far from backing off, FOX has turned up the heat on these traitors since Emanuels failed attempt to kick ass and take names.

  58. Wow! What happened??? I thought someone shut the site down, because they didn’t like the articles and comments. This is one of my go-to sites and I missed it, when it was down.

  59. Me too, I could not get in for 12 hours, called a relative to see if they could long it. i thought it had been shut down also. I had a lot of time on my hands.

  60. said one senior administration official.
    who refused to be identified and to be held accountable for his comments and is therefore not worth listening to.

  61. Talk about panic, it just went to blank page last night, said done, and the same this morning. Then I could not comment, talk about frustrated.

  62. Thanks admin for running off the purps who can dish it out but can’t take it! 🙂



    This is my post from the other night:

    # Mrs. Smith Says:

    October 5th, 2009 at 10:13 pm

    Couple my post at 10:07 with Basil’s at 7:36 here:
    “As one senior official commented to us: “Obama does not want to make Iran the touchstone of his foreign policy.” If this fails, then the White House fallback position is to fashion — albeit without any explicit acknowledgment — a Cold War-style deterrence policy toward Iran. This may set the stage for some form of Israeli unilateral action in the coming months.”
    Last night, I found this article that follows almost exactly to the letter what I surmised the night before as “The Perfect Storm” Iran’s connection to Russia and the consequenses if Israel goes to War:
    Secrets Leaked on the Deepening Iran Crisis
    Two major leaks occurred this weekend over the Iran matter.
    In the first, The New York Times published an article reporting that staff at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. nuclear oversight group, had produced an unreleased report saying that Iran was much more advanced in its nuclear program than the IAEA had thought previously. According to the report, Iran now has all the data needed to design a nuclear weapon. The New York Times article added that U.S. intelligence was re-examining the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) of 2007, which had stated that Iran was not actively pursuing a nuclear weapon.
    The second leak occurred in the British paper The Sunday Times, which reported that the purpose of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s highly publicized secret visit to Moscow on Sept. 7 was to provide the Russians with a list of Russian scientists and engineers working on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
    The second revelation was directly tied to the first. There were many, including STRATFOR, who felt that Iran did not have the non-nuclear disciplines needed for rapid progress toward a nuclear device. Putting the two pieces together, the presence of Russian personnel in Iran would mean that the Iranians had obtained the needed expertise from the Russians. It would also mean that the Russians were not merely a factor in whether there would be effective sanctions but also in whether and when the Iranians would obtain a nuclear weapon.
    We would guess that the leak to The New York Times came from U.S. government sources, because that seems to be a prime vector of leaks from the Obama administration and because the article contained information on the NIE review. Given that National Security Adviser James Jones tended to dismiss the report on Sunday television, we would guess the report leaked from elsewhere in the administration. The Sunday Times leak could have come from multiple sources, but we have noted a tendency of the Israelis to leak through the British daily on national security issues. (The article contained substantial details on the visit and appeared written from the Israeli point of view.) Neither leak can be taken at face value, of course. But it is clear that these were deliberate leaks — people rarely risk felony charges leaking such highly classified material — and even if they were not coordinated, they delivered the same message, true or not.
    The Iranian Time Frame and the Russian Role
    The message was twofold. First, previous assumptions on time frames on Iran are no longer valid, and worst-case assumptions must now be assumed. The Iranians are in fact moving rapidly toward a weapon; have been extremely effective at deceiving U.S. intelligence (read, they deceived the Bush administration, but the Obama administration has figured it out); and therefore, we are moving toward a decisive moment with Iran. Second, this situation is the direct responsibility of Russian nuclear expertise. Whether this expertise came from former employees of the Russian nuclear establishment now looking for work, Russian officials assigned to Iran or unemployed scientists sent to Iran by the Russians is immaterial. The Israelis — and the Obama administration — must hold the Russians responsible for the current state of Iran’s weapons program, and by extension, Moscow bears responsibility for any actions that Israel or the United States might take to solve the problem.
    We would suspect that the leaks were coordinated. From the Israeli point of view, having said publicly that they are prepared to follow the American lead and allow this phase of diplomacy to play out, there clearly had to be more going on than just last week’s Geneva talks. From the American point of view, while the Russians have indicated that participating in sanctions on gasoline imports by Iran is not out of the question, Russian President Dmitri Medvedev did not clearly state that Russia would cooperate, nor has anything been heard from Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the subject. The Russian leadership appears to be playing “good cop, bad cop” on the matter, and the credibility of anything they say on Iran has little weight in Washington.

    It would seem to us that the United States and Israel decided to up the ante fairly dramatically in the wake of the Oct. 1 meeting with Iran in Geneva. As IAEA head Mohamed ElBaradei visits Iran, massive new urgency has now been added to the issue. But we must remember that Iran knows whether it has had help from Russian scientists; that is something that can’t be bluffed. Given that this specific charge has been made — and as of Monday not challenged by Iran or Russia — indicates to us more is going on than an attempt to bluff the Iranians into concessions. Unless the two leaks together are completely bogus, and we doubt that, the United States and Israel are leaking information already well known to the Iranians. They are telling Tehran that its deception campaign has been penetrated, and by extension are telling it that it faces military action — particularly if massive sanctions are impractical because of more Russian obstruction.
    If Netanyahu went to Moscow to deliver this intelligence to the Russians, the only surprise would have been the degree to which the Israelis had penetrated the program, not that the Russians were there. The Russian intelligence services are superbly competent, and keep track of stray nuclear scientists carefully. They would not be surprised by the charge, only by Israel’s knowledge of it.
    This, of course leaves open an enormous question. Certainly, the Russians appear to have worked with the Iranians on some security issues and have played with the idea of providing the Iranians more substantial military equipment. But deliberately aiding Iran in building a nuclear device seems beyond Russia’s interests in two ways. First, while Russia wants to goad the United States, it does not itself really want a nuclear Iran. Second, in goading the United States, the Russians know not to go too far; helping Iran build a nuclear weapon would clearly cross a redline, triggering reactions.
    A number of possible explanations present themselves. The leak to The Sunday Times might be wrong. But The Sunday Times is not a careless newspaper: It accepts leaks only from certified sources. The Russian scientists might be private citizens accepting Iranian employment. But while this is possible, Moscow is very careful about what Russian nuclear engineers do with their time. Or the Russians might be providing enough help to goad the United States but not enough to ever complete the job. Whatever the explanation, the leaks paint the Russians as more reckless than they have appeared, assuming the leaks are true.
    And whatever their veracity, the leaks — the content of which clearly was discussed in detail among the P-5+1 prior to and during the Geneva meetings, regardless of how long they have been known by Western intelligence — were made for two reasons. The first was to tell the Iranians that the nuclear situation is now about to get out of hand, and that attempting to manage the negotiations through endless delays will fail because the United Nations is aware of just how far Tehran has come with its weapons program. The second was to tell Moscow that the issue is no longer whether the Russians will cooperate on sanctions, but the consequence to Russia’s relations with the United States and at least the United Kingdom, France and, most important, possibly Germany. If these leaks are true, they are game changers.
    We have focused on the Iranian situation not because it is significant in itself but because it touches on a great number of other crucial international issues. It is now entangled in the Iraqi, Afghan, Israeli, Palestinian, Syrian and Lebanese issues, all of them high-stakes matters. It is entangled in Russian relations with Europe and the United States. It is entangled in U.S.-European relationships and with relationships within Europe. It touches on the U.S.-Chinese relationship. It even touches on U.S. relations with Venezuela and some other Latin American countries. It is becoming the Gordian knot of international relations.
    STRATFOR first focused on the Russian connection with Iran in the wake of the Iranian elections and resulting unrest, when a crowd of Rafsanjani supporters began chanting “Death to Russia,” not one of the top-10 chants in Iran. That caused us to focus on the cooperation between Russia and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on security matters. We were aware of some degree of technical cooperation on military hardware, and of course on Russian involvement in Iran’s civilian nuclear program. We were also of the view that the Iranians were unlikely to progress quickly with their nuclear program. We were not aware that Russian scientists were directly involved in Iran’s military nuclear project, which is not surprising, given that such involvement would be Iran’s single-most important state secret — and Russia’s, too.
    Possible Outcomes
    There are two possible outcomes here. The first is that having revealed the extent of the Iranian program and having revealed the Russian role in a credible British newspaper, the Israelis and the Americans (whose own leak in The New York Times underlined the growing urgency of action) are hoping that the Iranians realize that they are facing war and that the Russians realize that they are facing a massive crisis in their relations with the West. If that happens, then the Russians might pull their scientists and engineers, join in the sanctions and force the Iranians to abandon their program.
    The second possibility is that the Russians will continue to play the spoiler on sanctions and will insist that they are not giving support to the Iranians. This leaves the military option, which would mean broad-based action, primarily by the United States, against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Any military operation would involve keeping the Strait of Hormuz clear, meaning naval action, and we now know that there are more nuclear facilities than previously discussed. So while the war for the most part would be confined to the air and sea, it would be extensive nonetheless.
    Sanctions or war remain the two options, and which one is chosen depends on Moscow’s actions. The leaks this weekend have made clear that the United States and Israel have positioned themselves such that not much time remains. We have now moved from a view of Iran as a long-term threat to Iran as a much more immediate threat thanks to the Russians.
    The least that can be said about this is that the Obama administration and Israel are trying to reshape the negotiations with the Iranians and Russians. The most that can be said is that the Americans and Israelis are preparing the public for war. Polls now indicate that more than 60 percent of the U.S. public now favors military action against Iran. From a political point of view, it has become easier for U.S. President Barack Obama to act than to not act. This, too, is being transmitted to the Iranians and Russians.
    It is not clear to us that the Russians or Iranians are getting the message yet. They have convinced themselves that Obama is unlikely to act because he is weak at home and already has too many issues to juggle. This is a case where a reputation for being conciliatory actually increases the chances for war. But the leaks this weekend have strikingly limited the options and timelines of the United States and Israel. They also have put the spotlight on Obama at a time when he already is struggling with health care and Afghanistan. History is rarely considerate of presidential plans, and in this case, the leaks have started to force Obama’s hand.
    By George Friedman
    http… w…

  63. Bring on the next article, I have all of this frustration pent up I can use on it.

    OH, for the first time EVER a Republican is Mayor of Albuquerque. In addition two of the Dem council people got thrown out by Reps. The Rep in my area won, beating out Dem named Cadigan who went to O early.

    This Rep who got the job has personnel talked to me 3 times. I have not heard a word from Cadigan.

    Something is in the Wind. I don’t think NM is as Dem as those polls are showing. I was sad for Chavez, as he was a Hillary supporter. However, the Dems caused that Rep win, and Dem lose as they ran another Dem against him (we don’t have one candidate for each party).

  64. confloyd Says:
    October 6th, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Delay had been inhaling pesticides for 20 yrs before becoming House Majority Leader. He was a
    ‘Bug Exterminator’ before he went to work for the Bushes.

  65. Wow! What happened??? I thought someone shut the site down, because they didn’t like the articles and comments. This is one of my go-to sites and I missed it, when it was down.
    We cannot be sure, but the most likely explanation is someone in this White House was angered and did it, or had someone in their employ or continuing campaign do it. For us, it is a badge of honor, like a battle scar, and we owe it all to admin. These things do not happen randomly. They prove that Admin is firing for effect. On the odds, this came from someone on the Axelrod side of the business, but it could have come from the Emanuel as well. The timing coincides generally with the administration attack on FOX, its refusal to grant an interview to Chris Wallace and the failed effort by Emanuel to strong arm Roger A. Personally, I hope he let the little prick cool his heels in the visitor’s lounge for an hour before seeing him. This whole res gestae has desperation written all over it, including this emergency meeting between bambi, madam tassaunds wax works and mortimer snerd reid on the economy. They are slowly coming to the conclusion that they are politically vulnerable. Ya think?

  66. admin Says:
    October 7th, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Yep, the Celestial Choir video was made in Providence, RI.. It’s become a cult Classic for Pinkers!

  67. newmexicofan:

    Congrats!…. about time!!!

    I also wondered what happend to this site??? but like everything else, certain length of absence makes me appreciate it even more!!!

  68. Times Online says our Vanity President rejects the Biden option on Afghanistan — do they set Joe up to knock him down?

  69. Mrs. Smith: Foreign Affairs is partly owned by Slate, and is therefore not a credible source for information. You can find a decent article there now and then but for the most part they worship in the cathedral of Bambi and are not worth listening to.

  70. NewMexicoFan, Deeds in Virginia is also blaming the “national” Dimocrats for his difficulties. It’s probably that he is a bad candidate but Obama’s boobery cannot be helping.

    As to the next article, yup, the B.O.T.s will be particularly unhappy. We were going to publish it last week but wanted to do the Olympic articles and the narcissism article first.

  71. Does Obama Have the Backbone?

    By Richard Cohen
    Tuesday, October 6, 2009
    Barack Obama’s trip to Copenhagen to pitch Chicago for the Olympics would have been a dumb move whatever the outcome. But as it turned out (an airy dismissal would not be an unfair description), it poses some questions about his presidency that are way more important than the proper venue for synchronized swimming. The first, and to my mind most important, is whether Obama knows who he is.
    • Does Obama Have the Backbone?
    • What’s the Right Strategy for Afghanistan?
    • Shattered Confidence In Europe
    This business of self-knowledge is no minor issue. It bears greatly on the single most crucial issue facing this young and untested president: Afghanistan. Already, we have his choice for Afghanistan commander, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, taking the measure of his commander in chief and publicly telling him what to do. This MacArthuresque star turn called for a Trumanesque response, but Obama offered nothing of the kind. Instead, he used McChrystal as a prop, adding a bit of four-star gravitas to that silly trip to Copenhagen by having the general meet with him there.

    This is the president we now have: He inspires lots of affection but not a lot of awe. It is the latter, though, that matters most in international affairs, where the greatest and most gut-wrenching tests await Obama. If he remains consistent to his rhetoric of just seven weeks ago, he will send more troops to Afghanistan and more of them will die. “This is not a war of choice,” he said. “This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which al-Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.”

    Obama could have gone further. Not only would the Taliban be restored, but the insurgency might consume Pakistan. If that happens, then a nuclear power could become a failed state — Pakistan’s pretty close to that now — and atomic weapons could fall into the hands of terrorist organizations. India, just next door and with mighty antipathy for Muslim terrorism, could well act on its own. The bloodbath the British tried to limit in 1947 when they partitioned the subcontinent might well resume — this time with nuclear weapons.

    The stakes in Afghanistan are great. But they are not ours alone. Russia is nearby. So are China and Iran. So why Americans have to shed most of the blood for a Taliban-free Afghanistan is just one of the questions Obama will have to answer. Another is why Americans have to die for a set of possibilities that seem remote to most people.

    America, after all, has little tolerance for loss of life. The killing of eight American soldiers in Afghanistan over the weekend was front-page news. Contrast that with the numbers from Vietnam — 61 dead from a single battalion in a single 1967 battle. As for the Taliban fighters, they not only don’t cherish life, they expend it freely in suicide bombings. It’s difficult to envisage an American suicide bomber.

    The war in Afghanistan is eminently more winnable than was Vietnam. The Taliban is far from universally liked or admired. Still, the war will require more than a significant commitment of troops and, of course, money. It will take presidential leadership, a consistent staying of the course — an implacable confidence that the right choice has been made despite what can be steep costs. I am thinking now of Lyndon Johnson spending nights in the Situation Room, a personal anguish that belied the happy belief of antiwar demonstrators that the president was a war-mongering ogre.

    Foreign policy realists question whether any effort in Afghanistan can succeed. Possibly they are right. The interventionists, if I may call them that, suggest the realists are being unrealistic — that Afghanistan matters and it matters much more than Iraq or, before that, Vietnam ever did and that we can prevail. Possibly they are right.

    But the ultimate in realism is for the president to gauge himself and who he is: Does he have the stomach and commitment for what is likely to continue to be an unpopular war? Will he send additional troops, but hedge by not sending enough — so that the dying will be in vain? What does he believe, and will he ask Americans to die for it? Only he knows the answers to these questions. But based on his zigzagging so far and the suggestion from the Copenhagen trip that the somber seriousness of the presidency has yet to sink in, we have reason to wonder.

  72. Does Beck read Big Pink and other pro Hillary sites? As I listen to him, he has a grasp of what we learned during the primary. Thank God for someone getting a clue, finally.

    I have a suggestion for a new name for Him: numbnuts.
    It has parallel meanings, uncaring/unthinking/unfeeling and nuts would describe ACORN and those other nuts like ACORN that theived and thugged their way to the nomination.

    So, NumbNuts’ admin was trying to strong arm Fox, huh? I wonder how that worked for them?

  73. I wrote a note of appreciation to Richard Cohen today. I have not always seen eye to eye with him, but he is one journalist who is asking the right questions at this point, and for that I am grateful.

  74. you know something….for once BO said something “right”…even though he menat it differently…

    “when he said that Michelle is the best person to sell Chicago”…on yes she most certainly would SELL the peope of Chicago and send them to slummy apartments!!!1

  75. Beware of silencing the military
    Tue, 10/06/2009 – 1:45pm

    By Kori Schake

    The release of Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s report on the war in Afghanistan has occasioned full-throated cries of insubordination from the president’s liberal supporters. The most ignorant and offensive of these is Eugene Robinson’s belief that the military “need to shut up and salute.”

    Let’s leave aside that liberal commentators showed no such compunction when the Bush administration was being criticized by the military — including both active-duty servicemen like Army Chief of Staff Eric Shinseki and retired servicemen like Lt. Gen. Greg Newbold — for its conduct of the Iraq war and for Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s disrespect of their views.

    Then, dissent was patriotic. Now, evidently, our military is not to be afforded views on the war they are fighting.

    But shutting up the generals would be a terrible mistake, one much more hurtful to the Obama administration than to the military. Here are the main reasons the administration should not take the counsel of its supporters and silence the dissent being vented by our military.

    They’re more popular than he is. The American military is the most respected institution in these United States, with 82% of the public expressing high confidence, routinely outpacing all other institutions in American life — to include the presidency (51%), the Supreme Court (39%) and Congress (17%). They’re likely to win this one in the eyes of the American people, and that can’t be good for the president.

    They want to support him. After President Bill Clinton commenced his administration with the ill-fated executive order on homosexuals serving openly in the military, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin wrote him a terrific memo about how to repair relations with the military. The fundamental point was that the military is a winnable constituency for any president. They want him to succeed. Treating them like they’re the enemy will offend their professionalism.

    They understand the difference between policymaking and execution. It’s their job to salute and carry out orders once the president gives them, but that does not proscribe them from influencing policy in the making. Go back and read the transcript of Gen. Colin Powell’s lecture at the National Defense University during the “gays in the military” imbroglio for a poignant reminder of how well they get it. It will be a better policy if the president takes account of their concerns.

    They know more about war than you do. Less than 1% of Americans serve in the military, and few of our political elites have any experience of the military. Those who are serving or have served do actually know more about the theory and practice of warfare than those of us who have not. They’ve risked their lives to acquire the knowledge, and deserve us giving deference to their judgment on what it takes to fight and win the nation’s wars.

    He was persuading allies to remain committed to the fight. President Obama is not General McChrystal’s only boss. As the NATO commander, he works for all the governments with forces committed to the mission in Afghanistan. In his comments in London, McChrystal was defending the strategy President Obama asked allies to commit to, and for which their forces are risking their lives. He was helping make the case for the war to skeptical European publics; surely the White House does not want to do all that heavy lifting itself?

    Ask yourself why it leaked. Internal government documents like the McChrystal report on Afghanistan tend to be leaked in one of three circumstances: (1) someone who cares desperately about the policy believes an administration is about to make a catastrophic mistake; (2) someone involved in policy formation believes their point of view isn’t getting a fair hearing; or (3) someone wants to force the administration to publicly defend its choices. The latter usually occurs when, say, the national security advisor tries to intimidate military commanders into politicizing their advice. Or when the president curries favor with the military by telling the Veterans of Foreign Wars he’s all in, then a month later getting cold feet when the bill for achieving his objectives comes due. Whichever of these factors drove this leak, the administration should take it as a canary in a coal mine they aren’t building consensus within the government, either for their process or their preferred course of action.

    You get the military leadership you deserve. If you penalize military leaders who give you unwelcome advice, they’ll stop giving you their best judgment. They’ll either fall silent, (as then Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Richard Myers did in the run up to the Iraq war), or they’ll retire (as Lt. Gen. Newbold did in the run up to the Iraq war and Gen. Ron Fogleman did after the commander of the Khobar Towers facility in Saudi Arabia at the time of the bombing was later denied promotion), or they’ll go through the motions of what you’ve asked and achieve little (as Gen. George W. Casey, now Army chief of staff, did when he was the top U.S. commander in Iraq). The president needs — and should want — military leaders who give their military judgment, which is all General McChrystal has done.

    Secretary Gates judiciously suggested in his speech to the Association of the U.S. Army Monday that the president has a right to receive advice confidentially. He is serving the president well by trying to turn down the temperature on this civil-military imbroglio. People in the White House would also be wise to stop trying to silence the military — or they won’t like the military they end up with.
    I like her: Kori Schake

    Kori Schake is a fellow at the Hoover Institution and holds the Distinguished Chair in International Security Studies at the United States Military Academy.

    She was senior policy advisor to the McCain-Palin 2008 campaign. She has held appointments on the National Security Council staff, the Joint Staff, the office of the secretary of defense, and on the State Department’s policy planning staff. She has also taught in the faculties of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, the University of Maryland School of Public Affairs, and the National Defense University. She is the author of Managing American Hegemony: Essays on Power in a Time of Dominance (Hoover Institution Press, 2009).

  76. someone wants to force the administration to publicly defend its choices. The latter usually occurs when, say, the national security advisor tries to intimidate military commanders into politicizing their advice. (From the above article)
    If this is true, then my confidence in Jones is misplaced. But even so, the military component is critical, but there are other legitimate factors to weigh in the balance as well. I still think McCrystal should testify before Congress.

  77. you know something….for once BO said something “right”…even though he menat it differently…

    “when he said that Michelle is the best person to sell Chicago”…on yes she most certainly would SELL the peope of Chicago and send them to slummy apartments!!!1
    A Freudian slip.

  78. # wbboei Says:
    October 7th, 2009 at 12:38 pm
    Mrs. Smith: Foreign Affairs is partly owned by Slate, and is therefore not a credible source for information. You can find a decent article there now and then but for the most part they worship in the cathedral of Bambi and are not worth listening to.
    Yes, they’ve been around with the “Madame Secretary” site since Hillary took the SOS position. Slate has a big readership, always has- when they start making factual math errors in their telephone polls
    putting Hillary at an untrue disadvantage. Someone has to speak up and it won’t be them, will it?

    So I always check and so should you. BTW Thanks for taking the time to send the “error” on to Beck. Maybe he will make it the focus of his show- denoting Obama’s desperation skewing polls hopefully to cast Hillary in a bad light.

  79. I think it’s a mistake to align yourself with anyone who criticizes Obama from the right – that is, if you’re a Hillary supporter. Beck, Hannity and all these people may be entertaining at time, but they are constitutionally completely at odds with everything Clinton has ever stood for. Their opposition to Obama is not rooted in principal but in their partisanship. That they are on occasion right about something is irrelevant. By quoting and celebrating what they say now, you only give them legitimacy later.

    Obama is fairly successful as a conservative. He is an utter failure as a liberal. He is simply facilitating the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the upper class – as Bush did before him. Beck and Limbaugh can offer no enlightenment on the essential problem because they are, generally, in favor of what he is doing though they cannot admit that. They only despise Obama because of the D behind his name. They supported the bank bail out when Bush was behind. They only oppose it when Obama does it.

    Health care reform may very well lower costs for Americans. We don’t know what bill will pass Congress and it is clear that Obama will sign whatever passes – unless it tampers too much with his deal with big Pharma. He’ll take credit for work he did not do. Our system of health care is the most expensive and the most inefficient. It would be hard to dream up a way that it could cost Americans more = that is, unless, we are forced by mandates to buy insurance that is not sufficiently regulated and challenged by a genuine, Medicare-like Public Option. Baucus is heading in that direction and there is some evidence that he is Obama’s proxy in the Senate. Harkin, a really good guy, says there will be a real public option. I hope he is right. As long as he is right, your costs will go down. The cost of health care is a primary reason for the stagnating wages in this country. Introding competition, as Clinton planned, will absolutely bring costs down.

  80. Mrs. Smith Says:

    October 7th, 2009 at 12:28 pm


    Mindboggling article. I am very impressed with Israel’s ability to uncover some of this strategic information, especially that of Russia/Iran. Well done.

  81. That is a good column by Richard Cohen. Hillary has so much more gravitas than Obama. Why people didn’t realize that back when it mattered will forever stump me.

    And I’m glad Big Pink is back up! 🙂

  82. Israel, U.S. to Simulate Iranian Missile Strike

    Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2009

    Israel and the United States are preparing for a missile defense exercise next week that would involve a mock missile strike by Iran, United Press International reported yesterday.

    The U.S. military has already deployed air-defense technology and 15 naval vessels to Israel for the latest iteration of Juniper Cobra, a drill conducted every two years beginning in 2000. The intent of the exercise is to help the two nations coordinate their missile and air-defense activities.

    A high-level Israeli military officer said the exercise would deliver a “loud and clear” message to Iran, which Jerusalem suspects is seeking a nuclear-weapon capability, the Maariv newspaper reported.

    A senior U.S. Army general is expected to oversee the drill. The Jerusalem Post reported that there are talks of the United States leaving behind for Israel three Patriot missile defense systems following completion of the exercise (United Press International, Oct.6).

  83. Majority Now Disapprove of Performance

    Raleigh, N.C. – A majority of North Carolina voters disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as President according to the latest results of a new Civitas Flash Poll released today.

    According to the poll of 600 registered voters, when asked if they approve or disapprove of the job Barack Obama is doing as President, 44 percent said they approved while 53 percent said they disapproved. Only three percent of voters said they were not sure. In early September, only 46 percent said they disapproved of his performance.

    “It looks like the honeymoon is definitely ending for President Obama,” said Francis De Luca, executive director of the Civitas Institute. “The hope for a new direction that many North Carolinians had wished for has quickly turned into disappearing jobs, a health care bill that nobody seems to like and foreign countries that aren’t impressed by a message of hope and change.”

    Obama’s initial job approval rating in a January Civitas poll was 60 percent favorable, six percent unfavorable. Last month, results showed voters were 44 percent favorable, 46 percent unfavorable.

    Along party lines, just over a quarter of Democrats disapprove of President Obama’s performance (71 percent favorable, 26 percent unfavorable). But among Unaffiliated voters (34 percent favorable, 63 percent unfavorable) and Republicans (17 percent favorable, 82 percent unfavorable) it turns sharply negative.

    “The only support Obama has left is from within his own party,” added De Luca. “The unaffiliated voters who overwhelmingly voted for him last November have abandoned their support for him and now stand almost 2:1 against him.”


  84. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one having trouble accessing this site. I kept getting a white screen. Very bizarre.

  85. Jobless Rate Is Key to Fate of Democrats in 2010


    Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who heads the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, said he remained confident that the unemployment picture would improve by next fall. At the same time, he said, “the Republicans run a real risk of being seen as the party rooting for economic failure.”

    President Barack Obama and the Democrats are all the more exposed on the jobs front because they touted the $787 billion economic-stimulus bill as a way to curb job losses. The Obama team asserted in January that the recovery plan would keep unemployment below 8% and push it down to nearly 7% by the end of 2010. Obama aides have since said that they didn’t grasp how sour the economy was at the time.

    [ ]

    The Obama administration and Democratic lawmakers are now scouring for ways to boost job creation and help the jobless, without proposing a second stimulus bill. One idea is to extend for another year the enhanced unemployment-insurance benefits set to expire in December, a move that could cost another $100 billion, by one estimate.

    O has only spent a portion of that $787 BILLION…while the people are hung out on the vine to die, the O admin is hoarding about $600 Billion that they could be using to actually helping struggling people…


    Obama’s Secret Jobs Plan

    The dollar plunges! How scared should we be? Economist Simon Johnson says not as much as you think—it’s part of Obama’s plan to restart the manufacturing sector and win the midterm elections.

    The dollar’s value plunged Tuesday, while gold simultaneously hit a record high ($1,045 per ounce). You might think this would worry the administration and send the Treasury secretary to the microphones in an attempt to head off further collapse in the currency. Do the darkest days of the Carter administration loom again, with inflation and unemployment both rising, apparently without limit?

    Far from it—the last few weeks of dollar depreciation is an amazing stroke of luck for the Obama administration, admittedly facilitated by their adroit maneuvering in the corridors of high international finance. If it lasts—and they need some more luck—this could save the midterm elections for the Democrats.

    …article goes on…

    the people and their losses are just a numbers game to this WH…even the foolish left is starting to see through this charade…

  86. I think it’s a mistake to align yourself with anyone who criticizes Obama from the right – that is, if you’re a Hillary supporter. Beck, Hannity and all these people may be entertaining at time, but they are constitutionally completely at odds with everything Clinton has ever stood for. Their opposition to Obama is not rooted in principal but in their partisanship.
    What is they are right on the merits, regardless of partisanship? What Talleyrand said about treason is also true of partisanship–it is a matter of timing. The result is what matters, not how you get there assuming of course that it is lawful. The policies Obama is pursuing on issues like health care will not advance but will pre empt what Hillary wants to accomplish. Finally, unless you ally yourself with one political party or the other you will be a voice in the wilderness. Remember we are fighting obama, the media and big money–we need a club. I think it is tactically smart to ally yourself with opposition forces, just as long as you know when to jump off. Using them one thing. Falling in love with them is something I would not recommend.

  87. Very Relieved indeed! We can add ‘resilient’ to the long list of ‘accolades’ for the 44 admins!!! I didn’t realize how dependent I’d become, until I encountered that blank screen over and over!! Thks!

  88. “I think it’s a mistake to align yourself with anyone who criticizes Obama from the right – that is, if you’re a Hillary supporter. Beck, Hannity and all these people may be entertaining at time, but they are constitutionally completely at odds with everything Clinton has ever stood for. Their opposition to Obama is not rooted in principal but in their partisanship.”


    In my case, yes and no. I never listen to Hannity and just every so often to Beck so I can’t speak to his message. However, even I know that if Hillary was in the Oval Office their vitriole would be directed towards her. In the meantime, If mainstream media refuses to vet bambi and hold him accountable, then this is the lesser of the two evils and I am going to enjoy it while I can.

  89. Basement Angel says: “I think it’s a mistake to align yourself with anyone who criticizes Obama from the right – that is, if you’re a Hillary supporter. … By quoting and celebrating what they say now, you only give them legitimacy later.”
    After having been attacked and misled by both right and left, I think most of us here no longer care where the truth comes from. “Legitimacy,” it seems to me, is here today and gone tomorrow, reputations are made and unmade in a moment, depending on the issues of the day. Big Pinkers seem to celebrate what rings true, no matter where it comes from, and that seems healthy to me. As for Hillary, she does the same.

    wbboei, thanks for the article by Kori Schake – really goes to the heart of the matter.

  90. Obama is NOT a conservative. A traditional conservative believes in small government, not world government. Nor is he a traditional liberal. A traditional liberal believes in helping people not multinational corporations. Obama is a post modern politician in the tradition to George W Bush, who was installed by the elites to do their bidding at the expense of the middle class. The other wire into him is from the Chicago Machine–as evidenced by the UOC fiasco. Notice how in both cases the elites had to break the rules and cheat in order to get their puppet in.

  91. After having been attacked and misled by both right and left, I think most of us here no longer care where the truth comes from. “Legitimacy,” it seems to me, is here today and gone tomorrow, reputations are made and unmade in a moment, depending on the issues of the day. Big Pinkers seem to celebrate what rings true, no matter where it comes from, and that seems healthy to me
    Well put.

  92. …last night when Hill44 went white, by some odd chance i happened upon a website I have never been to before and I was taken with what the writer had to say…often we forget or cannot really imagine another’s personal perspective:

    for what it is worth…

    September 11, 2009 — Anna Belle

    Like many Americans, I watched the President’s speech on health insurance reform. It really is amazing how Obama is able to tell people the truth–that he will fuck them over–and they love him for it. For all the pretty words and formulaic yet effective rhetoric, what stood out most to me in the speech was the hard reality of what is coming in the form of mandates, taxes, and fines.

    I was most surprised by his automobile insurance analogy. Apparently people have forgotten. Auto insurance was a movement that swept the nation too, an effort led by insurance lobbying industry. For some states, it was particularly problematic. In Kentucky, where I used to live, premiums for car insurance shot up over 200% in the years directly following the law that was passed that required people to have auto insurance or pay a hefty fine. They have continued to rise thanks to a compliant state legislature, and today Kentucky has some of the highest auto insurance premiums in the nation. This effected poor people, and it continues to affect poor people. It basically penalizes poverty. What else would you call it when you can’t put food on your table because you can’t get to work because you don’t have auto insurance and want to avoid the $500 fine for not having it, which, if you had it to pay, you would have bought car insurance with in the first place.

    The mandate was the one thing I vehemently disagreed with Hillary Clinton on. It was what stopped me from volunteering for her campaign earlier in the process. I knew what had happened with auto insurance, and I was aware of the so-called “Massachusetts model.” I was acutely aware of how this model would affect poor people, and that it wasn’t a bargain at all. I have been a working poor person for most of my life. Though I make more money now than I ever have, I still live paycheck to paycheck and my net paycheck remains unchanged from when I was making far less money, in part because health insurance costs have risen so high so fast (the other part is that my tax bracket changed). Make sure you absorb that: Though I make $15,000 a year more than I did just three years ago, my net paycheck is the same.

    I want to talk a little bit about the Massachusetts model in order to introduce an idea that I have been mulling over for some time. The Massachusetts model, like the plans before Congress now, is also based on a mandate that, unmet by the individual, results in fines. I hate to use Wiki as a source, but they have assembled an impressive volume of research on the model. In addition to mandates and fines, the state of Massachusetts brokers deals between people who have no access to insurance (because they work for companies that can’t or don’t provide it; or because they work for themselves) and the insurance industry. The Massachusetts model does not pay any health care costs directly outside of SCHIP and MassHealth, which were the partially federally-funded programs in place before reforms took place.

    What the reform means is that the state steps in as the broker for those who do not have health insurance and, via fines, forces them to buy insurance from private providers. Insurance companies were only too happy to have the deal, and as with the auto insurance fiasco, premiums rose dramatically. Still, people have to have health insurance now, so how to make them do it? How do you force someone to spend $3-5,000 a year on a service that will cost them probably another $3-5,000 in deductibles, when they are currently only paying about $500 a year directly for services, and then only when they need them*? How do you accomplish that neat trick? Well, you can take money they count on, like their tax return.

    *Obviously I am referring to reasonably healthy uninsured people here

    Initially, the Massachusetts tax penalty might have seemed paltry. It was the loss of the personal exemption, apparently valued at just over $200 a year. In 2008, however, the tax fine jumped to half the cost of the lowest premium available, roughly $912, according to the Wiki article. The article doesn’t say, but I would bet that the fine is scheduled to rise, as it has every year since they passed reform in 2006. And this brings me to my conspiratorial musings on what might happen if the United States adopts the Massachusetts model.

    Some people who read this blog may be unfamiliar with how working poverty works. The working poor do not generally make enough money to meet all the demands placed on them by the government and society in general. As a working poor person I can tell you that I felt terrible that I often had to drive without insurance, but I did have to do it because I had to work to pay rent, buy food, clothes, and school supplies for my daughter. I had to pay to “rent” her textbooks. I had to keep the piece of crap vehicle I could afford in working order which, because of the age, was costly and frequent. I had to pay increasingly outrageous utility bills. I had to have a phone in case we had an emergency. It should go without saying that our access to health care was spotty and expensive.

    This all adds up and can quickly overwhelm a person making $10 or less an hour. Add to that the $150 monthly premium for liability-only auto insurance and you can see how this life is constantly impossible, but somehow we make it. We working poor people juggle and balance, we strategize, and we take risks we don’t want to take, like going without car insurance, because we have to.

    Because we work, we do not have access to many services that are available to other poor people. The federal poverty level is set so low that working poor people generally do not qualify for food stamps, health insurance, or other services that are available to the non-working poor. One thing working poor people rely on, though, is what the Wikipedia article on the Earned Income Tax Credit calls “the largest poverty reduction program in the United States.”

    The Earned Income Tax Credit is a billion-dollar program that allows working poor people and marginally middle-class people with children to keep all of their tax return, and often increases this tax return substantially, affording a working poor family one opportunity a year to play catch up or to purchase things that cost so much money they cannot manage to save for them over time. An example of the latter would be replacing the engine in the car you own so you don’t have to make payments on a new used car, which would result in an additional monthly bill AND a huge spike in auto insurance costs, since full coverage is state-mandated for vehicles with liens.

    In 2004, earned income tax credit refunds accounted for $36 billion of the total amount of tax returns. This is for a program that, according to some estimates, 15-25% of the people who can claim it don’t even know about. From the Wiki:

    The average EITC amount received per family in 2002 was $1,766. Using this figure and a 15% unclaimed rate would mean that low-wage workers and their families lost out on more than $6.5 billion, or more than $12 billion if the unclaimed rate is 25%.

    So the EITC program could account for as much $48 billion of all tax returns for a given year. I imagine the program will grow with so many people out of work. Now let me ask you: do you think the health insurance industry is aware of these numbers? Even if they aren’t, do you think that if the government merely brokers insurance deals instead of providing actual health care that fines on tax returns might lead to a huge transfer of these yearly payments to insurance companies instead of working poor people?

    Furthermore, look at that tax return amount. Look at the Massachusetts model: $912 a year and climbing. If we use the Mass. model, that’s over half of a working poor person’s tax return. So long new car engine. So long getting to work. So long catching up. Hello more debt.

    This is what I worry about. In my college classroom, more than 85% of my students are non-working poor or working poor. I know that many of them do not have access to health care. I know they struggle to make auto insurance payments if they can, and that many drive without such insurance. But how can they get out of the hole they were merely born in if they don’t take that risk? My students have children who need health care they can’t provide, and that sometimes leads them to break down in my classroom, where I always try to offer a compassionate shoulder to lean on or cry on, though I am powerless to change their circumstance in the moment.

    What they’re talking about doing in Washington will not change the system at all. They aren’t talking about reigning in health care costs; they’re talking about expanding them. The real constituencies getting the service are health insurance executives, doctors, and hospitals. Like politicians at Tammany Hall, or like the mob, they want to twist your arm so you have to use the broken system of medical services that bleeds people dry every day. They will not change that system; they will just make everyone a slave to it.

    I feel even more impotent in the face of this huge change that is being pushed by rich corporate executives and the lobbyists they hire, delivered at the hands of wealthy people in Washington, who are the most out of touch with everyday Americans, and which finally is supported by a political left that knows damn good and well exactly what this all portends for those less fortunate, but who are so busy in a playground-style fist-fight with the right that they refuse to even look at things objectively.

    The political left also opposes health insurance reform, but they can’t get around that stupid playground fight in order to unify to defeat it. They are satisfied with working to put common Republican constituencies, people they call names like “functionally retarded adults,” in their place. I am utterly powerless in the face of all that. I cannot possibly hope to amplify my voice or my point of view above this din.


    ‘Anna Belle’ links to an article on Lambert to substantiate what she is saying:

    [ ]

    The Massachusetts reform went into effect in 2007. As of March 2008, 40% of those uninsured in 2007 remained without coverage. High-deductible policies lowered premium costs by shifting more of the expense onto individuals. Physicians for a National Health Program found that a healthy 43 year-old man making just over $31,000 a year would have to pay $5,096 before any insurance coverage kicks in, with additional co-pay and co-insurance costs.

    [ ]

    The “individual mandate” is a financial bonanza for the insurance industry just at at time when the relentless rise in premiums, far ahead of wages, have hit their ceiling of unaffordability.

    An April 2008 New York Times business column about sagging profits at UnitedHealth carried a frank appraisal of the declining employer-sponsored private health insurance market. “It is never a good thing if many of your customers can no longer afford what you’re selling,” Reed Abelson wrote. “In recent years despite soaring medical costs, insurers have made big profits by keeping premiums well ahead of health care inflation. But analysts say that business strategy may be reaching its limits, with companies finding it harder to raise prices without losing substantial numbers of customers.”

    The article closed with a quote from a health business analyst: “The hail Mary may be that we turn to some sort of universal care.”

    Shortly after the Presidential election the insurance industry officially embraced health care reform. A November 2008 press release from Blue Cross Blue Shield read: “The Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) and the 39 member Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies today announced support for every individual being required to have coverage and all insurers being required to accept everyone regardless of their health status.”

    If the government would only criminalize the uninsured and pay the premiums for the poor, the industry said, it would stop denying people insurance coverage because they are ill. The industry further promised that women would no longer be charged more than men for health insurance – again, if and only if the federal government would deliver paying customers – and guarantee the payments too.

    But there is growing recognition that the “reform” is most of all “truly meaningful” for the profitability of Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and its competitors. BusinessWeek announced on its front page:

    “The Health Insurers Have Already Won: How UnitedHealth and rival carriers, maneuvering behind the scenes in Washington, shaped health-care reform for their own benefit.”

    A Los Angeles Times headline read: “Healthcare insurers get upper hand. Obama’s overhaul fight is being won by the industry, experts say. The end result may be a financial ‘bonanza.’”

    Details of the swindle

    Congressional proposals include a minimum annual tax of $750 and/or a tax of 2.5% of adjusted income upon people who don’t purchase health insurance. For those who still could not afford the premiums, a hardship waiver could be requested. The Senate HELP bill defines “unaffordable” as 12.5% of income or more. (update: recently adjusted to @ 8% i think/S)

    Companies that presently arrange skimpy policies, for example the very high deductible plans like Wal-Mart offers, would be protected by a grandfather clause and exempted from regulations setting forth minimum covered benefits. Recognizing that the costs of health insurance are a nonstarter for individuals, subsidies for private health insurance policies would be granted for people whose incomes are 400% of federal poverty or less. And tax credits would be given to small employers to subsidize the employer share of insurance premiums and grant payments to employers whose plans cover retirees aged 55-64.

    …it goes on…


    if I am missing something clue me in…but this sounds like the last place to pull off a ‘Ponzi scheme’…there is nothing left to steal anywhere else…this is the last frontier to grab any money that is left from the poor working smoes…and all in the righteous and noble endeavor of “health care reform”

    …and the government is going to criminalize and force you to succumb…

    AnnaBelle is so correct about the left just playing games to beat the right…I have heard even koolaid drinkers like Matthews and as recent as last night I happened to hear Olbermann and Lewis Black discussing what a colossal rip off all this health reform mess is…and yet in the next breath they distract and attack the right…

    it is the democrats and the O admin that is selling us out…big time…

  93. basement angel, just so I am clear, as a registered Independent, I DO NOT belong to a PARTY.After what I have witnessed campaigning in the primary and the general election, I would NEVER belong to a party; it has become that the two parties are opposite wings of the same bird. Corruption rules.
    I would be for Hillary regardless of what party she belongs to; but wish strongly she did not continue to belong to the Dimocrat party as the Democratic Party does not exist anymore. But my faith in her is that she knows what is best for herself, her family, and her country. I trust her. The inability to trust a party has never been more apparent.And, yes [though I can not believe that I am saying it] I trust Beck, Cavuto, and Fox News and have some degree of respect for what they are trying to do [even if one of the goals is to dominant the ratings].I have viewed with critical thinking skills and find myself in agreement with most of what they are about and what they are doing nowdays.
    Check the archives, for long long ago, I predicted that The Fraud would thrust totalitarian government on us, I just did not know which form it would take: Marxism, Facism, Communism, Socialism, or a mixture.
    I can not die peacefully without knowing that future generations of my family are able to live without a dictatorship and all that brings. Life will not be good for my great-grandchildren as it stands now; and possibly life would not be worth living if our country continues in the direction it is now.

  94. “My students have children who need health care they can’t provide, and that sometimes leads them to break down in my classroom, where I always try to offer a compassionate shoulder to lean on or cry on, though I am powerless to change their circumstance in the moment.”


    What bothers me most about the healthcare/unemployment situation is that bambi and his dimwitted dims live in glass houses. They don’t see what the common man/woman/family are struggling to go through. And I’m beginning to wonder if they even care or are just in it for political gain.

  95. Her is what the real President does each and every day,while the Fiddler on the Hoof wastes our tax money playing white house with MO his guidance Councelor.


    Daily Appointments: Daily Appointments Schedule for October 7, 2009
    Wed, 07 Oct 2009 08:53:19 -0500

    Daily Appointments Schedule for October 7, 2009

    Washington, DC

    October 7, 2009


    11:35 a.m. Secretary Clinton meets the 2009 World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders, at the Department of State.

    2:00 p.m. Secretary Clinton meets with Quartet Representative Tony Blair, at the Department of State.
    Pre-set time for cameras: 1:00 p.m. from the 23rd Street entrance

    Final access time for print journalists: 1:45 p.m. from the 23rd Street entrance


  96. Re: S and the peacocksandlillies article. Annabelle has long been a friend of ours and Hillary’s. She writes from the heart and illuminates her thoughts by her real life struggle. She has my respect. She will smile that she was quoted here.

  97. S, the article by peacocksandlillies is very correct in its content and concerns. I truly believe that the only people who will benefit from the health insurance reform bill, are the insurance and pharmaceutical companies. They will rake in great profits, and the our tax bills will increase even further. It is so disappointing that the dims are being so dimwitted and short sighted. If the bill passes with a true public option, there might be some benefit in reducing health care costs. Otherwise, the costs will continue to spiral out of control and more people will be without coverage and may even end up in jail, if they cannot afford the imposed fines. Most of our legislators truly lack political courage.

  98. This is good news JanH…and no matter what people say, no American serviceman/woman has ever died for Israel..the same cannot be said for the Arab/Muslims…

  99. Have you noticed that the AARP ads have changed. I guess all of the cancellations made a difference. They are no longer claiming they back the Presidents plan, and are now saying they back what is good for the people.

  100. We have only one answer to this complex question of military doctrine, foreign relations, foreign aid, economics, etc. otherwise known as Afghanistan: MOBO!!!

    After she gets done whipping Bill Clinton in a debate, as Bambi predicted, we can put her in an A-container, load her aboard a C-47, air drop her to the front line, and turn her loose on the Taliban. Once they get a look at her angry demeanor and she gives them aint gonna take none of your shit they will throw their hands up in the air and surrender. Robbin Williams can do the narration. She and her hubby are delusional, while they are busy being “elegant”.

    Why Obama-World Is Dangerous

    In President Obama’s utopia he is fine with the idea of “American Exceptionalism” being challenged or even turned upside down. To Obama, an America that stands tall in contrast to others seems arrogant. To our enemies, an America that seems ashamed of herself seems weak.

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    Although he’s 48-years-old President Obama is, in many ways, still just a lost boy. He seeks to live, not in the real world, but in a utopia. His insistence on living in this world — though it may appear attractive to the uneducated, neglected and naive — is dangerous and impacts every American.

    As the first pundit in America to predict Mr. Obama’s political rise and electoral success, it is with great regret that I say the following: President Obama is not a strong leader. His willingness to cede most of his domestic agenda to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has cost him dearly in his first year. And his unwillingness to admit that the world is at a crossroads is a demonstration of his paralysis as a leader on the most important questions of our time.

    His rejection by the International Olympic Committee last week in Copenhagen was a stinging rebuke. And it confirmed not only his global impotence but also his inability to successfully push through projects he supports. It also revealed that the president has been relying on nothing more than his personality to win the day.

    President Obama believes his good press far too often, relies too much on support from his trusted advisers — instead of being open to genuine critical analysis — and seems to feel that the American people are too “unevolved” to understand his political message and methods. All of these realities are just pushing the president further into an altered state. They’re shaping his worldview and it’s having a disastrous impact on the lives of average Americans.

    Take the latest jobs report, for example. The report finds that the American people are suffering under an unemployment rate that is almost at 10 percent. And that’s not all –the more realistic, unofficial unemployment rate puts the figure at about 17 percent. Why? Because many Americans have simply stopped looking for a job. A proven strategy to grow the economy and jump start a hiring trend would be to keep tax incentives for small business from disappearing in 2010. And the president shouldn’t stop there he should add to them and allow the free market to work its magic. Working to expand a robust economy is the only answer to serious unemployment. But the president seems to believe that if he just has the right czar, in the right position, then job losses can be controlled. In the president’s utopia, employment and the number of jobs available are fixed and finite, and “saving them” is better than or, at minimum, equal to “creating them.”

    Then there’s health care. New poll numbers from Rasmussen find that the majority of the American people support health care reform but they do not, under any circumstances, support a government controlled “public option” — or takeover — of the industry. But President Obama doesn’t seem to grasp the expressed will of the people who elected him. In the president’s utopia it is *doctors,* not trial lawyers, that are being selfish and charging people for procedures they don’t need just to “make a buck.” In the world you and I live in, we know that doctors run the risk of a massive lawsuit every time they deliver bad news to a patient.

    In Afghanistan, President Obama has deliberated for over a month about about whether to expand our footprint there by no more than 40,000 troops. While the military commanders he put in place to do the job beg him for more troops 43 more soldiers have died. Mr. Obama met with General McChrystal for less than an hour on Air Force One when he was in Copenhagen (but for only the second time since commissioning McChrystal to the theater), while Vice President Biden continues to whisper in his ear that things in the region are not working. In President Obama’s utopia he wishes that war did not exist, but he has yet to realize that the threat from not dealing with it could be the worst scenario of all.

    On Iran, President Obama has issued a stern assessment of the rogue nation’s nuclear ambitions. In President Obama’s utopia, stern words should be enough. They should cause a reasonable world leader to be so concerned that they will pick up the phone and iron out the differences by the afternoon. Yet even after the IAEA’s meetings on Iran, even after the president issued another stern deadline, the administration has begun to backtrack. In President Obama’s utopia, the United States is not superior to other nations. That’s why we are powerless when we try to suggest what they should do. In fact, in President Obama’s utopia, if we simply give up our weapons he believes the bad guys will give up theirs.

    When it comes to the economy, “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need” sounds good. In a perfect world, such purity of goodness would be a place where we’d all like to live. But it would also be a place no one on this planet would recognize. In President Obama’s utopia, the socialists and the communists DO have it right. Maybe this is why, in his memoirs, the president writes about how delighted he was to hang out with them in college. But the depravity of the human race has always been — and will always be — the fatal flaw in socialist and communist theory.

    Finally, there is America’s image in the world. In President Obama’s utopia he is fine with the idea of “American Exceptionalism” being challenged or even turned upside down. Yet in reality no country has suffered more loss of its own, for the welfare of others, in history. To Obama, an America that stands tall in contrast to others seems arrogant. To our enemies, an America that seems ashamed of herself seems weak.

    President Obama is not a strong decision maker — most law professors aren’t. They are too accustomed to arguing issues from all sides. The president is also a man who envisions a world that will never exist. It is his inability to recognize this flawed vision that makes our country more vulnerable, more hopeless and one with a bleak future, at least in the short run. It is, in a word, dangerous.

  101. I’m glad I wasn’t the only one having trouble accessing this site. I kept getting a white screen. Very bizarre.

    I had trouble accessing this site also.

  102. Hillary Clinton faces a crisis on Northern Ireland visit

    Sinn Fein and the DUP at loggerheads over devolution of policing and justice powers

    October 6, 2009

    Hillary Clinton will face a full blown crisis in the peace process when she visits Northern Ireland this weekend. Sinn Fein and the DUP are at loggerheads over when policing and justice powers will be devolved to the Northern Irish government from the British parliament.

    Clinton, who is making an historic first trip ever for a U.S. Secretary of State to Dublin and Belfast, will need all her negotiating skills to try and bridge the gap between the two sides who are deeply divided. Indeed, there are now increasing signs that Sinn Fein might walk away from the assembly if a solution cannot be found and the DUP foot dragging doe not end .

    cont. here:

  103. Afghanistan is a winnable war if we throw ourselves into it as General McChrystal recommends. We helped the Afghan fighters win Joe Wilson’s War against the Russians. If we help them here we and they will succeed. If Obama does not support the General we will cede Pakistan and large parts of Africa to al Quaeda and the Taliban. Ultimately, cowardice by Obama will imperil our future.

  104. Compare and Contrast

    Noah Pollak

    As we wend our way through the first year of the Obama administration, it is hard not to notice a stark contrast in style between the American president and another democratic leader who has been in power for almost the same amount of time: Binyamin Netanyahu. The political trajectories of the two men have been almost perfectly opposite. Obama started off his presidency blessed by great popularity only to see his fortunes plummet, while Netanyahu began under a cloud of public uncertainty and suspicion yet today enjoys healthy public-approval numbers. More than anything else, the leadership styles of the two men explain their divergent fortunes.

    The most obvious difference between the two is in the level of public exposure that each has pursued. Obama seeks to place himself in the headlines of newspapers and to lead the television news broadcasts on a daily basis, achieving an omnipresence unprecedented in American politics. He has given scores of speeches, each heralded to be of great consequence to the nation and the world. He has staked much of his presidential power on the sheer force of his personality, giving little consideration to the sustainability of such a strategy or whether so much narcissistic pageantry is becoming to a national leader. His public pronouncements are astonishingly self-absorbed: to take one example, in their speeches to the International Olympic Committee in Copenhagen, the First Couple used the first-person pronoun 70 times in 89 sentences.

    Obama’s permanent publicity blitz has rendered his pronouncements banal and is helping to create an impression that he is all talk, no results. Who can recall with any precision what the president says from one day to the next? Why bother trying when another speech is moments away? CBS News’ White House correspondent noted on July 13 that Obama had already delivered his 200th speech — on his 177th day in office.

    Netanyahu has taken a completely different approach. He goes days without making public statements, often only commenting on events at his weekly cabinet meeting, and even so, by making the tersest of remarks. His response to the Goldstone Commission report was delivered without fanfare in a cabinet meeting and consisted in its entirety of a 330-word statement. Netanyahu has given only two major speeches during his premiership: the June address at Bar-Ilan University, where he rebutted Obama’s Cairo speech and laid out Israel’s terms for the peace process; and his UN General Assembly speech, where he shamed the “international community” for its indulgence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Netanyahu doesn’t say a lot, and he most certainly never talks about himself — but when he does speak, his people and the wider world know that his words are a reflection not of fleeting political calculation but of his fundamental beliefs. One of the ways Netanyahu has won the respect of a skeptical electorate is by cultivating an aura of seriousness and gravity through the scarceness of his presence on the public stage.

    Another major difference is each man’s conception of his own mandate. Obama appears to believe that the 52.9 percent of the vote he earned in 2008 means that the American people wish for him to undertake a dramatic transformation of their society, and he has joined this faith in the singularity of his mandate with the now famous adage that you never let a crisis go to waste. He never seems to have worried that the people would notice he was trying to use the recession to advance policies that had nothing to do with the causes of the recession, thus creating for himself a reputation of cynicism and dishonesty.

    In Netanyahu’s case, his governing coalition comprises 74 of 120 Knesset seats, or 61.6 percent of the electorate — and the shift from Left to Right signified by the Israeli election is far more substantial than the shift from Right to Left signified by the American one. Yet Netanyahu understood that his first months as prime minister would best be spent establishing his reputation as a careful and trustworthy leader. His policy initiatives have attempted to articulate and strengthen the Israeli consensus, not force a new paradigm on it. Despite his reputation, repeated mantra-like in press coverage, that he is a “hard-line” leader, Netanyahu has compromised in key ways. He endorsed Palestinian statehood in his Bar-Ilan speech, unprecedented for a Likud leader, and has restricted settlement activity in the West Bank and agreed to major reductions in roadblocks, checkpoints, and the like. The political fallout from Netanyahu’s major domestic failure — his land-reform initiative — was isolated because the Israeli public trusted him on a range of other issues. Well into his first year in office, his public approval numbers (and the Likud’s prospective share of Knesset seats) have been steadily increasing. Obama, by contrast, has suffered blow after blow in the court of public opinion as increasing numbers of voters become fearful of the next product of his outsized ambition.

    And Obama surely has been trying to do a lot. A recent New York Times profile noted “Mr. Obama’s do-everything-at-once strategy,” in which a major goal is to always “put points on the board.” In pursuit of all those points, Obama has made numerous grand declarations that set himself up for highly public failures. The loss of some of his initiatives and his inability to push forward on all of them at once have resulted in his agenda becoming bogged down, scattered, and incoherent. Netanyahu’s pursuit of modest adjustments and gradual change has spared him from such embarrassment.

    These two drastically different styles can be seen in the approach to diplomacy the two leaders have pursued. On the international stage, Obama appears either dogmatic (with Israel), obsequious (with Russia), or indecisive (on Iran and Afghanistan). All this nuance was supposed to earn him a great deal of soft-power capital, but instead it is simply attracting unflattering media attention and the contempt of foreign leaders. Netanyahu, on the other hand, cultivates a low-key ambiguity that keeps his options open. In their confrontation over Israeli settlements, Obama rushed out of the gates forcefully demanding a settlement freeze that included Jerusalem. Netanyahu publicly rejected the Jerusalem demand but otherwise maintained a posture of openness to negotiation and gainsaid claims of a rift between the two allies. In the end, Obama was forced to quietly retreat from his noisy opening position. Because Netanyahu had never committed himself to any precise outcome, he would have been spared such humiliation whichever decision had he made.

    Finally, there is the matter of partisanship. Netanyahu’s coalition includes the leftist Labor party, which holds the defense ministry, arguably the most important office besides the prime minister’s, and Netanyahu has repeatedly endorsed policies at odds with Likud doctrine. Obama has not held a meeting with congressional Republicans on his flagship health-care initiative in more than four months. Certainly some of this can be attributed to the requirements of the Israeli parliamentary system and to the Democrats’ large majorities in the House and Senate; but much of it comes down to leadership, with Obama’s divide-and-conquer approach leaving him unable to co-opt opponents but giving his critics, unified by their exclusion, an easy target to fixate on. Netanyahu’s policy flexibility combined with his inclusion of an important left-wing faction in his coalition has left his detractors without a solid handle to grasp, and because of this, his domestic opponents have been largely neutralized. When was the last time Tzipi Livni, the leader of the opposition, was heard from, much less made headlines?

    The basic political challenge for democratic leaders is to advance their agenda while safeguarding their popularity. According to Rasmussen, when President Obama assumed office, he had a 65 percent public-approval rating. Today that number stands at around 50 percent — but approval of his policies poll far lower, and the ratio of those who strongly approve of him versus those who strongly disapprove has plummeted by more than 35 points. Netanyahu has experienced the opposite. His public-approval numbers were below 33 percent when he took office but had climbed to 49 percent by July and were recently at 65 percent, with a mere 4 percent saying they strongly disapprove of his performance. This should give some evidence of whether democratic publics are more comfortable in times of uncertainty with leaders who govern with firmness and modesty as opposed to those who govern through shock and awe.

  105. I am told that he was either sent out as a weather balloon or has enough faith in his troops that he spoke out. They did not expect the answer they got how many times spoke to Obama.

  106. “President Obama believes his good press far too often, relies too much on support from his trusted advisers — instead of being open to genuine critical analysis — and seems to feel that the American people are too “unevolved” to understand his political message and methods. All of these realities are just pushing the president further into an altered state. They’re shaping his worldview and it’s having a disastrous impact on the lives of average Americans.”



  107. Thankgoodness, I could finally get on this site, I was have withdrawals!! I thought Admin had finally had enough of my conspiracy theories. LOL!! I still can’t access this site from yahoo though, I had to go thru that dreaded msn.

    Mrs. Smith, I have been wanting to tell you that I bought the “Clinton Tapes”, and your right its a great book and you can’t lay it down. I was struck by the shear numbers of politicians that were spoiled brats and would not support a bill just because they had some vendetta or just did not like the bill because they were’nt going to get credit for it. It seems to me there are a lot of third graders running the govt.

    I realize there are a lot of people that stabbed Hillary in the back during her campaign in that book, like Boren from Oklahoma, he one of the superduds that screwed her.

    It will take some time to finish the book, but the “Shock Doctrine” gets a little too much at times and you need to read something a little more uplifting.

  108. admin Says:

    October 7th, 2009 at 11:56 am
    Well, that was no fun. Apologies to all for the lack of access.

    Yes, same for me. I was pretty sure it was “obama’s paid army of Internet Brownshirts”. Admin, was it just a technical glitch, or do you suspect funny business?

  109. I am glad it has only sold 6k copies so far as perhaps, finally, people see the good in the Clintons and are tired of rehashing the crap he and Hillary had to put up with. They made it possible for an ass clown like BO to have a free ride as they took blow after blow by the press, up and including the last election, and still came out ahead in most reasonable people’s minds.

  110. It was “funny business” as you put it Rgb44hrc. Some are very angry with us right now. Wait till they see our latest.


  111. basement angel Says:
    October 7th, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I totally agree and find myself shaking my head that some in here celebrate the FOX extremists. I do not tune into anything FOX nor do I listen to some commentators on CNN and almost all of MSNBC which is just as bad but from the opposite end.

    I don’t believe BHO is deserving of the presidency nor has he shown to be loyal to anyone that put him there. I find it no excuse however to applaud the likes of Beck, Hannity etal.

  112. jbstonesfan, I haven’t read anything in the book so far in least bad about Bill or Hillary. THe guy that wrote it was a roommate of Bill’s in college. I thought it has been good so far because it calls out some of the pompous asses that screwed Hillary. You would have to have been a true blue Hillary supporter that can remember the names of the ones that stood out as pure evil during the campaign.

  113. In that case I retract my prior post…I saw some stuff on posted on a link on AOL that seemed to be embarrassing to Bill…..

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