Hillary, Harry, And Public Option Health Care

The day after her birthday, Hillary is still in the news. Hillary’s prominence is why Michelle is still yanking sleeves and Barack is still sneaking smokes.

Barack Obama’s Thugs (hereinafter, B.O.T.s) are increasingly aware that neither we, nor Hillary, are going away. As we know, Hillary is the real thing, not an inexperienced pretender, and real things last a real long time:

It’s tempting for some Beltway players to presume Clinton’s greatest prospects are behind her. Tempting, but hardly assured.

Clinton’s coalition is the sleeping giant of American politics. No other national politician, save Obama, has proven able to raise as much money. Much of her base was, like Obama, also loyal for deeper reasons than politics. This is doubly true for the Democratic women who were, and still are, personally invested in Clinton’s almost-historic presidency. It’s no coincidence that Clinton is on the cover of Parade magazine this week.

Clinton remains the second most prominent Democrat in the country. Her approval rating is higher than her boss, according to Gallup.

Clinton’s coalition is the true Democratic Coalition. It is the FDR coalition. It’s the coalition that builds the party and grows. Obama’s coalition, like Halloween, only materializes once and it is a Situation Comedy Coalition not fit for governing.

There are perils which Hillary supporters must always keep in mind as we exercise and drill in Winter quarters:

If she still wants it, her chance is likely 2016. Obama has good odds in 2012, as incumbents do. But Obama’s presidency could sink into unusually bad times. If so, don’t bet on a rerun of Jimmy Carter versus Edward Kennedy.

Kennedy never served under Carter. If she left early, with no excuse but her own ambitions, charges of betrayal would dog Clinton. Clinton’s investment in Democratic détente would be squandered. “Being on the presidents’ team gives you the chance to end the speculation that you are not on the presidents team,” as one Clinton White House veteran said.

Clinton has a term obstacle in this scenario as well. Secretaries of state generally serve four years. To leave early would inflame Obama’s base all over again. [snip]

Her past stature is precisely why Clinton attempts to lower her profile in new posts, at least at first. “I want to be a workhorse here, not a showhorse,” she reportedly told her Democratic colleagues after winning her 2000 Senate bid. The New Republic later complained, “Clinton has submerged herself in policy minutiae that would make a C-SPAN junkie snore.”

Nearly a decade later, Washington is again wondering about Clinton’s relative silence in the big show. The Kerry incident did not help. Yet overall, the low profile is a political blessing.

Hillary remains the future and still can be the 44th person to be inaugurated as president. Far from diminished, Hillary still has more remarkable petals left to blossom:

Clinton is different. She never ran a general election campaign. Therefore she does not have to live down mistakes. In fact, Clinton’s profile appears stronger for her bid. She proved her endurance and capacity to win votes. Importantly, she still is seen as presidential.

A Fox News poll in September found that 27 percent of Americans believe if “Clinton had won the election” she would “be doing a better” job as president. Another 25 percent said she would be doing as well as Obama.

More than half of the country, and even half of Democrats, views Clinton as the president’s equal or better. And Clinton likely agrees.

Our job, the job of all Hillary supporters and websites, is too smash the myth, the fake Big Media narrative, that Obama is doing about as well as could be expected from anyone. This myth is the most pernicious yet to emerge from the Obama protection racket which is Big Media and the Obama campaign machine. We, must make the case that Hillary would be doing much better than Obama no matter how bad the circumstances.

* * * * *

Yesterday, while we celebrated Hillary’s Birthday, Dimocrats and associated dimwits on the Big Blogs celebrated what they think is a big win for them on health care and the public option. We didn’t bother to put down the lace hand-fan when we heard the less than interesting news.

What caused the cheers and thrills from Dimocrats and dimwits – Harry (Reid of Nevada) had decided to announce the public option was “in”. We laughed at the little morsel thrown their way and what the dimwits allow to be called a “public option”. So, what happened (other than Hillary’s Birthday) yesterday?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid dismissed White House worries — and bucked his own reputation as a cautious lawmaker — by announcing Monday he’ll push ahead with a public health insurance option, even though he’s short of the 60 votes needed to pass it. [snip]

The early signs are not encouraging for Reid.

The Dickens you say. Why would Harry do such a thing without the votes? Isn’t it foolish, down the road, to promise what you can’t deliver?

“If we can’t produce 60, you’ve got two choices: Pull the bill, or amend it. And amending it means that you’ll also need 60,” said a Senate Democratic aide. “The question is if the handful of moderates stay resolute and oppose cloture on the bill, then we’ll have to convince liberals to vote to weaken the public option. And that may be a very tough hill to climb because some of them may say they’d just as soon go to reconciliation than to compromise at that point.”

Why would Harry go to Copenhagen without the votes? Is Obama-style stupidity and boobery, like the swine flu, catching?

Harry has his reasons. They’re not pretty, but Harry has his reasons:

What Harry Reid did Monday afternoon gave new meaning to the phrase “public option.

The Senate majority leader, after haggling behind closed doors with members of his Democratic caucus, realized that he couldn’t cobble together the 60 votes he needed to pass health-care legislation with a government-run health plan. So Reid chose another option: He shut down the private talks, booked the Senate TV studio and went public with his own proposal. [snip]

For Reid, it was an admission of the formidable power of liberal interest groups. [snip]

Reid, facing a difficult reelection contest next year at home in Nevada, will need such groups to bring Democrats to the polls if he is to survive. But there were a few problems with the leader’s solo move. He shifted the public pressure from himself to half a dozen moderates in his caucus. And he defied the Obama White House, which had hoped to keep a bipartisan patina on health-care reform by maintaining the support of Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine).

Then there was the small matter of lacking the votes to pass the public option. “Do you feel 100 percent sure right now that you have the 60 votes?” CNN’s Dana Bash inquired. Reid looked down at the lectern. He looked up at the ceiling. He chuckled. He put his palms together as if in prayer. Then he spoke. “My caucus believes strongly there should be health-care reform” was the non sequitur he offered. [snip]

Of course, everybody knew that Reid didn’t have the votes. That’s why he was standing there alone, a Gang of One.

Why did Harry do it?

As Democratic aides described it, the moment had less to do with health-care policy than with Nevada politics — and one vulnerable senator’s justifiable fear of liberal anger. Now, if the public option unexpectedly survives in the Senate, Reid keeps his hero status on the left. If it fails, he at least gets credit for trying. By the Nobel committee’s revised standards, his aspirations might even earn him the prizes in medicine and economics.

Harry does not have the votes, but like Obama he realizes Dimocrats are dimwits and the old razzle-dazzle has its uses. Harry does not have the votes and the votes he needs are still not convinced, but lying and over-promising works for Obama, so why not Harry? Stocks fell as insurers led the decline, Olympia Snowe has not melted, but Harry is giving it all the razzle-dazzle.

Harry and Obama love the old razzle-dazzle. But all that glitters, is not gold.

Hillary is gold.


85 thoughts on “Hillary, Harry, And Public Option Health Care

  1. Sorry to be missing all the Hillary Happy Birthday festivities. Family crisis is taking president.

    Many of you expressed my feelings for Hillary probably better than my words could ever convey.

    Anyhow- a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HILLARY! Many Happy returns…

  2. bringing this from the last article:
    it’s a very good interview.

    October 27th, 2009 at 10:58 am
    another link to share with you all.

    Spiegel interview with charles Krauthammer

    w w w . spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,656501,00. h t m l

  3. JanH, Lets hope that this rather early interest in Obama’s Library means he will refrain from running for a second term. I doubt he will be able to cover the BC story for another campaign. People want to know where this guy came from.

  4. “Obama’s coalition, like Halloween, only materializes once and it is a Situation Comedy Coalition not fit for governing.”
    Amen!!! Hillary Clinton continues to work her heart out and behave ethically. This is why she is ahead in the polls. She is a national treasure.

    Nevada politics/Chicago politics…one and the same. Bludgeon your ideas through no matter what it takes and always at the expense of the taxpayer.

    Excellent explose, Admin.


    Mrs. Smith,

    I hope all is well with you and your family now.

    Take care.

  5. Sounds like Social Security or our Health Care model

    Wolves Lose Hunting Skills in Mid-LifeBy LiveScience Staff

    posted: 26 October 2009 01:46 pm ET
    Buzz up! del.icio.us
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    redditComments (7) | Recommend (0)
    The savvy hunting skills of wolves decline when they reach mid-life, suggests a new study.

    The finding refers to wolves reintroduced into Yellowstone National Park in 1995, after they had been hunted out of the area in the 1930s. The reintroduced wolves typically live until nearly 6 years old. But according to the new research, which will be published in the December issue of the journal Ecology Letters, the wolves’ ability to kill prey peaks when they are 2 to 3 years old.

    The study researchers say the finding challenges a long-held belief that wolves are at the top of their game for their entire adult lives. Even so, the results make sense.

    “Wolves are not perfect predators,” said Dan MacNulty, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota. “They lack physical characteristics to kill prey swiftly, so they rely on athletic ability and endurance, which diminishes with age.”

    MacNulty added, “They’re like 100-meter sprinters. They need to be in top condition to perform.”

    For the Yellowstone wolves, performing well means hunting elk. After following the wolves since 1995, the researchers found there isn’t a strong correlation between the number of wolves in the park and the number of elk killed.

    Rather, elk numbers fluctuate based on the age structure of the wolf population at any given time. So when the wolf population is skewed toward the older animals, over age 3, the elk are killed at a lower rate. For every 10 percent rise in the proportion of wolves older than 3, the kill rate declined 10 percent to 15 percent. The drop in the elk population is also partially due to drought and grizzly bears, MacNulty said.

    While a high ratio of old-to-young wolves may benefit elk, it could strain the wolf population overall. That’s because when older wolves lose their mojo and can’t hunt successfully, the younger wolves share kill with them. But if the population becomes lopsided with mostly senior citizens, there won’t be enough young workers to support their elders, MacNulty said.

    Next, MacNulty hopes to create mathematical models to figure out the long-term effects of changes in the age structure of Yellowstone’s wolf population on the elks.

  6. Good article on the media double standard Obama benefits from.


  7. This is a good parallel on how much the media is in love with the fraud and froths at the mouth at his speeches. I am reading the “Clinton Tapes”, at the point of BC’s second inaugural speech the citizenry had tears in their eyes and the pundits hated it. BC’s poll numbers in the 70’s and the pundits were daily criticizing BC. They were bitching about the Clinton’s every night on the six o’clock news, while America’s citizens loved the Clintons.
    Its the exact opposite now. Most people don’t like or trust Obama, yet the pundits (exception Fox) addore Obama. What is wrong with this picture.
    I just wish they would get this healthcare fiasco over, we are going to be screwed, so lets just get on with the screwing and STF up.

  8. REid is followign the Obama way: fake out the liberals by pretending you tried and failed. In fact favor the big business donors who know you didn’t really try.

  9. No one is talking about the second in command Chinese General toured the Pentagon yesterday as well as Annapolis and several other bases! How can this be good for our country’s standing? I wish someone could explain the benefits of letting this happen. The media said it is to show they have nothing to fear from us, well I guess so, they bought the United States during the Bush’s and Obama’s administrations. I just don’t get it!

  10. djia,

    That was an amazing interview with Charles Krauthammer. I love how Spiegel kept trying to trip him up for dissing their idol. My favorite part was as follows:

    “SPIEGEL: Mr. Krauthammer, did the Nobel Commitee in Oslo honor or doom the Obama presidency by awarding him the Peace Prize?

    Charles Krauthammer: It is so comical. Absurd. Any prize that goes to Kellogg and Briand, Le Duc Tho and Arafat, and Rigoberta Menchú, and ends up with Obama, tells you all you need to know. For Obama it’s not very good because it reaffirms the stereotypes about him as the empty celebrity.”

    But the whole article is spot on. Thanks for posting the link.

  11. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1009/28788.html

    Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Tuesday that he’d back a GOP filibuster of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s health care reform bill.

    Lieberman, who caucuses with Democrats and is positioning himself as a fiscal hawk on the issue, said he opposes any health care bill that includes a government-run insurance program — even if it includes a provision allowing states to opt out of the program, as Reid’s has said the Senate bill will.

    “We’re trying to do too much at once,” Lieberman said. “To put this government-created insurance company on top of everything else is just asking for trouble for the taxpayers, for the premium payers and for the national debt. I don’t think we need it now.”

    Lieberman added that he’d vote against a public option plan “even with an opt-out because it still creates a whole new government entitlement program for which taxpayers will be on the line.”

    His comments confirmed that Reid is short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill out of the Senate, even after Reid included the opt-out provision. Several other moderate Democrats expressed skepticism at the proposal as well, but most of the wavering Democratic senators did not go as far as Lieberman Tuesday, saying they were waiting to see the details.

    Lieberman did say he’s “strongly inclined” to vote to proceed to the debate, but that he’ll ultimately vote to block a floor vote on the bill if it isn’t changed first.

    “I’ve told Sen. Reid that if the bill stays as it is now I will vote against cloture,” he said.

  12. almost missed this one:

    SEC and Homeland Security need Web backup, GAO says


    a few snips of this article that caught my eye.

    By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Securities exchanges have a sound network back-up if a severe pandemic keeps people home and clogging the Internet, but the Homeland Security Department has done little planning, Congressional investigators said on Monday.

    The department does not even have a plan to start work on the issue, the General Accountability Office said.

    But the Homeland Security Department accused the GAO of having unrealistic expectations of how the Internet could be managed if millions began to telework from home at the same time as bored or sick schoolchildren were playing online, sucking up valuable bandwidth.

    Experts have for years pointed to the potential problem of Internet access during a severe pandemic, which would be a unique kind of emergency. It would be global, affecting many areas at once, and would last for weeks or months, unlike a disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake.


    “Such network congestion could prevent staff from broker-dealers and other securities market participants from teleworking during a pandemic,” reads the GAO report, available here

    “The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for ensuring that critical telecommunications infrastructure is protected.”


    Private Internet providers might need government authorization to block popular websites, it said, or to reduce residential transmission speeds to make way for commerce.


    “Because the key securities exchanges and clearing organizations generally use proprietary networks that bypass the public Internet, their ability to execute and process trades should not be affected by any congestion,” the GAO report reads.

    It had also not even checked into whether the public or even other federal agencies would cooperate, GAO said.

    “The report gives the impression that there is potentially a single solution to Internet congestion that DHS could achieve if it were to develop an appropriate strategy,” DHS’s Jerald Levine retorted in a letter to the GAO.

    “An expectation of unlimited Internet access during a pandemic is not realistic,” he added.


    so is this “national emergency pandemic H1N1 a backdoor to controlling the internet?? (net neutrality) and free speech??

  13. gonzotx says:
    October 27th, 2009 at 11:29 am
    Hillary is Gold and the Fraud is Fool’s gold…


    good one, gonzotx…O is “Fool’s Gold”…

  14. I love it, Admin comments showing up in Pink. Way to go.

    Yes, I agree, that the Reid action is for his re-election. I know that OO does not want to get a bill on his desk with the public option in it.

    It will be interesting to see how the voters take this. In addition, a key player of the Dims is acting for his own self interest and not displaying a team spirit. Of course, he probably has already witten notes to OO and other stating, this is just for show. Just like OO did with Canada.


    “Or just wait until after I take office, and I’ll whine about everything and blame my predecessor.”

    This WSJ piece exposes the whiny fraud for being well, whiny, and fraudy.

    Toward the end is this quote comparing Bill Clinton’s smart approach with the current Resident at 1600:

    “In September 1993, Bill Clinton invited his predecessor, George H.W. Bush, to the White House to help promote the North American Free Trade Agreement to a divided Congress. In contrast, when Mr. Obama announced our withdrawal from Iraq in February at Camp Lejeune, N.C.—an honorable withdrawal Mr. Bush’s surge helped make possible—the president limited himself to a quick “courtesy call.” Mr. Bush was neither present nor mentioned at what might have been a healing moment on a divisive war.”


    The Post-Gracious President
    Whenever he must make a difficult decision, Mr. Obama complains it’s Bush’s fault


    Nine months after Barack Obama entered the Oval Office, his most adamant critics must concede he’s delivered on “change.” And we see it in our first post-gracious presidency.

    The most visible manifestations of the new ungraciousness are the repeated digs the president and his senior staffers continue to make against George W. Bush. Recently, the administration has given us two fresh examples. The first is about Afghanistan, the other about the economy.

    On Afghanistan, Mr. Obama’s chief of staff went on CNN’s “State of the Union” earlier this month to discuss the presidential decision on Afghanistan that everyone is waiting for. “It’s clear that basically we had a war for eight years that was going on, that’s adrift,” said Rahm Emanuel. “That we’re beginning at scratch, and just from the starting point, after eight years.” Translation: If we screw up Afghanistan, blame Mr. Bush.

    The other came from Mr. Obama himself, speaking at various Democratic fund-raisers last week. “I don’t mind cleaning up the mess that some other folks made,” the president said. “That’s what I signed up to do. But while I’m there mopping the floor, I don’t want somebody standing there saying, ‘You’re not mopping fast enough.'”

    This is a frequent Obama complaint. The logic is clear if curious: While it’s OK to blame Mr. Bush for spending too much, it’s not OK to point out that Mr. Obama is already well on track to spend much more.

    Far from one-off asides, Mr. Obama’s jabs at his predecessor have been a common feature of his speeches, fund-raisers and the like. They seem especially to pop up whenever Mr. Obama discovers some decision he must make is not as easy as he’d thought. And they date back to the first moments of his presidency.

    After a perfunctory thank you to Mr. Bush, a newly sworn-in President Obama declared that Americans had gathered for his inaugural “because we have chosen hope over fear,” that his administration would “restore science to its rightful place,” and that he would never allow America to “give [our ideals] up for expedience’s sake.” In other words, President Bush had chosen fear over hope, was being “expedient” rather than defending the nation, and had chosen religious fundamentalism over science when making decisions in areas such as embryonic stem-cell research.

    In his first trip overseas, Mr. Obama continued the Bush bash. In France, he declared that in recent years “there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive.” In answer to a question he underscored the point, suggesting that European solidarity over 9/11 was lost when America allowed itself to be “sidetracked by Iraq.”

    In May, when it became obvious that his administration would not make good on his promise to close Guantanamo by this coming January, he explained it this way in a speech on national security. “We’re cleaning up something that is, quite simply, a mess . . . [T]he problem of what to do with Guantanamo detainees was not caused by my decision to close the facility, the problem exists because of the decision to open Guantanamo in the first place.”

    In August, he returned to the theme that while he can criticize his predecessor, it’s unfair to criticize him. “I expect to be held responsible for these issues because I’m the president. But I don’t want the folks who created the mess . . . to do a lot of talking. I want them just to get out of the way so we can clean up the mess.”

    Nor is it only a matter of rhetoric. In September 1993, Bill Clinton invited his predecessor, George H.W. Bush, to the White House to help promote the North American Free Trade Agreement to a divided Congress. In contrast, when Mr. Obama announced our withdrawal from Iraq in February at Camp Lejeune, N.C.—an honorable withdrawal Mr. Bush’s surge helped make possible—the president limited himself to a quick “courtesy call.” Mr. Bush was neither present nor mentioned at what might have been a healing moment on a divisive war.

    Policy differences, of course, are fair game for sharp debate, and in the end history will apportion the credit and blame due Mr. Bush. By any measure, however, Mr. Obama’s ongoing snipes against a predecessor who is no longer involved in setting policy are extraordinary. They are more extraordinary still issuing from a president who campaigned on a promise to transcend the political divisions of the past.

    Barack Obama may believe that his incessant whining about all the challenges his predecessor left him lets America know how tough he has it. The danger to his presidency is that it can sound awfully like “I’m not up to the job.”

  16. djia
    October 27th, 2009 at 2:17 pm


    YES…because they know it is the only media they do not control. It is 1984 25 years later…

  17. “By any measure, however, Mr. Obama’s ongoing snipes against a predecessor who is no longer involved in setting policy are extraordinary. They are more extraordinary still issuing from a president who campaigned on a promise to transcend the political divisions of the past.”


    It impresses me that more and more that his weaknesses are being acknowledged.

  18. from BP

    Signing away sovereignty


    Americans concerned about the decline of American power under the presidency of Barack Obama should turn their radar on and keep it on. We should be aware that Obama intends to roll out for Senate approval a series of international treaties that will further bind America to the will of the international community if they are ratified.

    Bit by bit, America’s autonomous power is being taken away. The Boston Globe provides a public relations gloss by calling these treaties a means of fulfilling “Obama’s vision of global cooperation.” This is one view, I suppose. Another view would be that our policies will be tied down by these treaties — and we will be judged by international bureaucrats and held to their interpretation of what our obligations are under the treaties.

    More @ link

  19. But the Homeland Security Department accused the GAO of having unrealistic expectations of how the Internet could be managed if millions began to telework from home at the same time as bored or sick schoolchildren were playing online, sucking up valuable bandwidth.

    Experts have for years pointed to the potential problem of Internet access during a severe pandemic, which would be a unique kind of emergency. It would be global, affecting many areas at once, and would last for weeks or months, unlike a disaster such as a hurricane or earthquake.


    Or like a nuclear attack? Maybe they ought to invent some kind of network for that. Lots of universities could all hook their computers together.

  20. There’s always the possibility that he becomes so damaged that he does not dare run again in 2012 and decides to not run for a 2nd term. He has that sort of personality, he Obama thinks he’ll be washed away in 2012 he may bottle it.

  21. And then there’s Blanche:
    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) – U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln says she’s reluctant to support health care legislation that would include a government-funded insurance option.

    www dot wxvt.com/Global/story.asp?S=11390994

  22. Glenn Beck again today is showing his true colors and that is the color of neocon. They’ve apparently struck a deal with healthcare because today it was all about debunking Global warming. Of coarse he started of with BC lied about Lewinski and it went downhill from there. If he keeps this up he will lose his high ratings. There are a lot of PUMAS that are following Beck, he will soon see his ratings going down.
    The whole crux of it was that nuclear is the cleanest energy and we can’t have it because of the liberals, but it was the nuclear industry that put Obama in the Presidency. This is such a farce, the republicans are playing games with the mindless voters out there again. They are feeding the masses the same ole shit about the Clintons when they are the ones with dirty hands. They know they are the ones that put this messiah in and are lying about it. THey have started the democrat against the republican war again so we won’t realize we are losing our middle class in favor of globalism. I am just tired of the games.

  23. confloyd,

    I will admit that I tuned into Beck one time only and had to put on the mute button after 10 minutes. His yelling just got to me. He seems to need to lecture and what should be a 5 minute diatribe to get to the truth seems to go on forever with him.

    I’m not saying that he hasn’t done some good. He has ferreted a few things out of bambi’s crooked mob. But overall, I am not a fan.

  24. 27/10/2009

    U.S. leaning toward indirect Mideast peace talks

    U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in Israel on Saturday night, for her first official visit since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government was sworn in.

    Clinton’s visit is underlined with the goal of reaching a compromise that could see the resumption of peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

    In light of the ever-wide gaps between the Palestinians and the Israelis, voices are growing within the Obama administration to shift strategy and suffice with indirect – rather than direct – negotiations.

    The secretary of state is now taking a more active role in the diplomatic process in the Middle East, which has thus far been overseen by special envoy George Mitchell.

    Mitchell is due to arrive in Israel on Thursday for preparatory discussions prior to Clinton’s trip.

    Clinton is expected to meet Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and President Shimon Peres on Sunday. Before her arrival in Israel, Clinton will take part in a meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Morocco.

    Netanyahu, meanwhile, will travel to the United States to address the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in Washington, which takes place from November 8 to November 10. The prime minister’s bureau said Netanyahu expects to meet with President Barack Obama during his stay in the capital.

    Last week, Mitchell said it was premature to declare his efforts to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks as a failure. In a report submitted to Obama last week, Clinton said that little progress was made in advancing the peace process.

    Clinton has said that Obama administration efforts should center on bolstering Abbas’ position. Her comments were in a report to Obama last week on attempts to renew negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

    Meanwhile, Channel 10 News reported last night that Abbas has told the White House that he is considering stepping down because of the lack of progress in the peace process.

    A senior political source who was privy to the State Department report noted that in it Clinton had stressed the significant setback to Abbas in Palestinian public opinion because of the initial decision not to press ahead with bringing the Goldstone report on the Gaza Strip to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations.

    Days before the report was delivered to Obama, Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat went to Washington, where he warned of a potential nightmare scenario as a result of the difficult domestic situation faced by Abbas and the overall desperation in the Ramallah headquarters of the Palestinian Authority government over the stalled peace process.


  25. A little more…

    Clinton to visit Israel on Saturday evening

    October 27, 2009

    US secretary of state to arrive in Israel after meeting with Arab officials in Morocco in bid to advance peace talks. US special Mideast envoy George Mitchell will set ground for Clinton’s visit arriving day earlier.

    US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will arrive in Israel on Saturday night and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday in order to further the political process with the Palestinians, Ynet learned on Tuesday.

    US special envoy to the Middle East George Mitchell will also be arriving in the Jewish state on Friday to set the ground for Clinton’s visit.

    The secretary of state will be meeting with Arab officials in Morocco before coming to Israel.

    The east Jerusalem-based al-Quds newspaper reported earlier this week that Clinton will soon be visiting Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Clinton briefed US President Barack Obama on Thursday on efforts for the renewal of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. No progress has been made as of yet.

    Israel remains firm in its assertion that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his staff are not doing enough to promote the political process. The Palestinians have recently set a date for elections in the PA for January 2010, which threatens to delay the process further.

    ‘Greater Palestinian effort’

    Meanwhile, the White House has urged both sides to step up their efforts of renewing the negotiations and called for the cessation of construction in settlements. Clinton and Obama have discussed the progress that was achieved on several points. The secretary of state mentioned that the Palestinians have exerted greater effort in the fields of security and Palestinian institution-building “but they are required to do more to end the incitement and prevent terror.”

    Clinton will be arriving in Israel directly from Morocco.
    During her visit, she is slated to discuss, among other issues, the Arab countries’ gestures towards Israel, including that of the North-African nation, all in an effort to encourage the resumption of negotiations.

    However, moderate nations such as Morocco and Saudi Arabia, which refuses to perform any gesture, appear unenthusiastic in the face of the American initiative, mainly due to fear and aversion of Netanyahu’s right-wing government.


  26. Actually tomorrow I think…

    Hillary Clinton due today on 3-day visit

    Wednesday, 28 Oct, 2009

    ISLAMABAD: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due here on Wednesday on a three-day ‘goodwill visit’ to address popular concerns and suspicions about America in Pakistan.

    She will meet President Asif Ali Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and civil society leaders during the visit that will largely focus on public diplomacy.

    During her public appearances she is expected to focus on problems being confronted by the people, including the energy crisis and economic constraints.

    ‘She is bringing a message of friendship and support to a country under tremendous pressure. She is going to discuss the IDPs (internally displaced persons) issue. She is going to focus on the real needs of Pakistani people,’ said Richard Holbrooke, US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan, before his departure for the visit along with Ms Clinton.

    Diplomatic sources believe the US secretary’s first trip to Pakistan, billed by the Obama administration as one of her most important trips after assuming the office, will concentrate on trying to determine the causes of growing anti-Americanism in the country.

    She would also seek to ascertain the position of various stakeholders on bilateral matters, they said.

    According to diplomats, the US administration is upset over the reaction in the country to its recent aid package.

    Ms Clinton is expected to have intense sessions with the army leadership and the opposition to assuage their concerns over the Kerry-Lugar legislation. She is also likely to convey the US position on the South Waziristan operation and urge Pakistan’s civil and military leadership to go for elimination of militants from the region.


  27. Todd: WH is Saying to Reid ‘Don’t Come Crying to Us When You Need That Last Vote’ on Opt Out Bill



    Chuck Todd Scrambles To Explain Damning White House/Harry Reid Comment…


  28. and how much is this going to cost?


    First, Second Ladies to Attend Game 1 of World Series


  29. JanH, I do think Beck did out some of the criminals in the Obama administration, but has many more and will out them as he sees fit, not what needs to be done.
    I also think had it not been for Bill Clinton, the One World GOvt. folks (Reagan,BushI & II) would have already implemented their plan. THe media is in on it and has been since Reagan. They no doubt have noticed Hillary’s numbers are up, so they plan on knocking her down too.
    It has always been in the back of my mind that the republicans used Obama to beat out Clinton so they could continue on the plan, which BTW has been getting done right down the line with GWB’s. Its the republicans we really need to watch, they are bad and have always been bad. Obama is one of them.

  30. youtube.com/watch?v=_IIzNmLDvb8&feature=player_embedded

    Goes by fast…some interesting info on the EU and England. Did not know England can only make up 1/4 of it’s laws and really has little say so on immigration. They really are coming for us….

  31. I also think had it not been for Bill Clinton, the One World GOvt. folks (Reagan,BushI & II) would have already implemented their plan.

    He did pass NAFTA…I AM SORRY TO SAY

  32. gonzotex, yes he did, he was trying to work with them, and it did nothing but put blood in the water for the rethugs. Hillary was against Nafta, and she told him that it was a rethug thing.
    We could have had Hillary for the exception of the dumbasses that fell for their messiah that has turned out to be the messiah the rethugs had hoped for.

  33. Arkansans think favorably of Clinton legacy

    27 October 2009 Arkansas News Bureau

    LITTLE ROCK — Arkansans are still high on Bill Clinton and his presidency eight years after the former Arkansas governor left the White House at the end of a tumultuous two terms, poll results released today showed.

    The poll commissioned by Talk Business Quarterly magazine showed 50 percent of Arkansans think Clinton will be remembered as an above average or outstanding president, while 25 percent think he’d be remembered as an average commander in chief.

    Twenty-three percent said he’d be remembered as a below average or poor president and 2 percent said they did not know.

    Asked whether the Clinton library has had a positive or negative impact on the state since it opened five years ago, 68 percent said positive, 7 percent said negative and 25 percent said they did not think the presidential library had had any affect at all on the state.

    Wilson Research Associates of Washington, D.C., conducted telephone interviews with 600 likely Arkansas voters Oct. 12-15. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percent.

    Democratic poll strategist Robert McLarty of The Markham Group and Republican political strategist Clinton Reed of The Political Firm composed the questions.


  34. JbStonesFan, the ability to post gravatars is available (some people use their pictures as gravatars). They usually make for a cluttered look. Maybe we shouldn’t be so fashion conscious. 🙂 If people want gravatars we’re not adverse to them.

  35. Above video seems cut off on the right. Hmmm 3/4 of EU’s laws come from BRUSSELS!!! The Fraud is always finding an excuse to go there. Netherlands must be the epicenter of the Dammed

  36. Do you have a Cousin Pookie? What in the world is wrong with this fool….from BP

    Obama Invokes “Cousin Pookie” to Help Va. Dem
    October 27, 2009 · 30 Comments
    Posted by Mark Knoller
    (AP )
    (NORFOLK, Va.) In a last-ditch, against-the-odds effort to help Creigh Deeds win election as governor of Virginia next week, President Obama invoked the assistance of “Cousin Pookie.”

    Addressing a campaign rally for Deeds at an arena at Old Dominion University, Mr. Obama used a device that served him well during his presidential campaign – especially before African-American audiences.

    “Go out and get your cousin who you had to drag to the polls last November, Cousin Pookie, you go out and get him and you tell him ‘you got to vote again this time.’”

    African-American voters in Virginia helped Mr. Obama become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win the state since 1964. And he clearly hoped the “Pookie” appeal might work for Deeds, now running 11 points behind Republican opponent Bob McDonnell in the latest Washington Post poll.

    Initially the White House thought Deeds would have an easier time in a state that Mr. Obama won and that also has two Democratic senators: Jim Webb and Mark Warner, and an outgoing Democratic governor, Tim Kaine, who also serves as chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

    But on the flight to Norfolk aboard Air Force One, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Virginia should not be seen as a blue state. He said it’s “probably as purple as it can get,” given its long-time presence in the “red column for so long.”

    White House aides concede Deeds has been outspent and out-campaigned by McDonnell, who resigned as Virginia’s attorney general to run for governor.

    Mr. Obama even kidded Deeds at the rally, saying he “may not be perfect.”He joked that his tie may occasionally be askew and his hair mussed, in comparison to the made-for-TV good looks of opponent McDonnell.

    “But is that what the people of Virginia are looking for,” asked the president. “Are you looking for slick – or are you looking for somebody who’s going to be fighting for you?”

    Virginia and New Jersey are the two states electing governors this year. And the White House does not want the results to be portrayed as a referendum on Mr. Obama should the Democratic candidates be defeated.

    Gibbs was already making the argument here in Virginia, by pointing to a poll that showed “70 percent of the people believe that they were not making a decision on their vote based on the president.”

    Gibbs said today’s rally was the final campaign appearance Mr. Obama would be making for Deeds, but would campaign once again in New Jersey for Gov. Jon Corzine, the incumbent Democrat seeking re-election to a second term.

    As for Virginia, Mr. Obama called it “a tough race” in the context of “a tough economy” – a tacit acknowledgement that even “Cousin Pookie” might not turn it around for Creigh Deeds.

  37. Sors’s in Action…I will cut off your money, or cut off your balls….

    Moveon.org Issues Warning to Democrats Opposed to ‘Public Option’
    Any Democrat who opposes the government option will lose support from the organization’s 5 million members, according to an e-mail sent by the group to its supporters. Moveon.org Issues Warning to Democrats Opposed to ‘Public Option’

    Any Democrat who opposes the government option will lose support from the organization’s 5 million members, according to an e-mail sent by the group to its supporters.


  38. And the Fraud plays golf and talks directly to cousin Pookie, you know cousin Pookie from Virginia? But dang, the fool just can’t make time to speak to generals or make his mind up about that little ol’ war being fought against his brethren, those middle eastern cousin’s, cousin Mohamand… article from BP

    In Deadliest Month, 53 U.S. Troops Die in Afghanistan

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Eight Americans died in combat in southern Afghanistan on Tuesday, bringing October’s total to 53 and making it the deadliest month for Americans in the eight-year war. September and October were both deadlier months overall for NATO troops.


  39. http://realclearpolitics.blogs.time.com/2009/10/27/wsjnbc-poll-obama-approval-51/

    President Obama’s job approval rating remains at 51% in the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, while the number of people who think the country is headed in the right direction has dropped to 36%.

    Obama now has a 51.7% job approval in the RealClearPolitics Average.

    The survey (Oct. 22-25, 1009 A, MoE +/- 3.1%), released tonight, shows the mood of the country remains low since its peak in April, when 43% felt the country was on the right track and 61% approved of Obama’s job performance. Obama’s handling of the economy, foreign policy and health care remain largely unchanged since last month.

    On health care, 42% say Obama’s health care plan is a bad idea — 4 points more than say it’s a good one — and 40% believe health care quality will decline as a result, which is twice as high as those who think it will get better. Nearly half think the cost of health care will go up as a result, while just 13% think it will decrease.

    Still, more people (45%) think it would be better to pass Obama’s plan than for things to remain the same (39%). And nearly half (48%) favor “a public health care plan administered by the federal government that would compete directly with private health insurance companies.”

    While Congress remains in a fierce fight over how to go about reforming the health care system, two-thirds of the country continues to disapprove of the job the legislative body is doing.

    Despite Congress’s poor rating, the public doesn’t appear to be taking it all out on Democrats, who hold a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate and a 79-seat edge in the House. Asked who they would prefer control Congress after the 2010 midterm elections, 46% said Democrats and 38% said Republicans. The 8-point gap is an increase from last month when Democrats led by just 3 points.

    However, the anti-incumbent mood remains, as 49% said it’s time to give a new person a chance rather than their current representative be re-elected, which 41% said should happen.

  40. admin
    October 27th, 2009 at 9:58 pm
    JbStonesFan, the ability to post gravatars is available (some people use their pictures as gravatars). They usually make for a cluttered look. Maybe we shouldn’t be so fashion conscious. If people want gravatars we’re not adverse to them.


    Prefer the good old H44 uncluttered look!

    But if you must do some bling, at least please don’t allow sigs! Some forums have sigs that are longer than the comments and break up the flow of actual content! Please not!!!!

  41. TurndownObama, we like the uncluttered, clean, non-gizmo-y appearance. We decided against nesting comments because it blocks the flow of conversation and looks “cluttered” too. We’ll continue to concentrate on the content.

  42. I stopped reading at wall st/NBC poll. Those guys would watch Obama come out and poop on the stage on 10 minutes and call it the speech of a lifetime and poll him at 55%.

  43. …Mrs Clinton is in Pakistan to discuss US concerns about the increasing numbers of militant attacks and the security of the country’s nuclear weapons.

    At a news conference in Islamabad, she condemned the “vicious and brutal” attack in Peshawar and said the fight against the Taliban was “not Pakistan’s alone”. Mrs Clinton pledged extra US support in Pakistan’s fight against the militant insurgency. “We commit to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Pakistani people in your fight for peace and security, we will give you the help that you need in order to achieve your goal,” she said.

    news dot bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/8329244.stm

  44. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091027/ap_on_re_as/as_afghanistan

    KABUL – Roadside bombs — the biggest killer of U.S. soldiers — claimed eight more American lives Tuesday, driving the U.S. death toll to a record level for the third time in four months as President Barack Obama nears a decision on a new strategy for the troubled war.

    The homemade bombs, also called improvised explosive devices or IEDs, are responsible for between 70 percent and 80 percent of the casualties among U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan and have become a weapon of “strategic influence,” said Lt. Gen. Thomas Metz in Washington.

    The attacks Tuesday followed one of the deadliest days for the U.S. military operation in Afghanistan — grim milestones likely to fuel the debate in the United States over whether the conflict is worth the sacrifice.

  45. Hillary Clinton speaks in Pakistan after massive bomb blast


  46. From Times Online October 28, 2009

    More than 80 dead in blast as Hillary Clinton arrives in Pakistan

    More than 80 people were killed by a car bomb in Pakistan today as Hillary Clinton arrived to offer US support for the government’s crackdown on militants.

    Since Pakistani troops launched an assault against Islamist extremists in the tribal borderlands near Afghanistan a series of terrorist attacks have shaken the country.

    Eyewitness and police in the north-western city of Peshawar said the bomb struck the area of the Meena market, which is generally visited by woman shoppers. The blast set many shops on fire and people were trapped inside a multi-story building, which collapsed after becoming engulfed by flames.

    Mohammad Gul, a police official at the hospital, said: “I am counting the dead bodies, 86 are confirmed dead, the injured are more than 200, there are children and women among the dead.” “Most of the bodies are charred beyond recognition,” another doctor told The Times.

    The attack came a couple of hours after Mrs Clinton, the US Secretary of State, had arrived for talks with Pakistani leaders amid tightened security. Her diplomatic mission was to help shore up support for the attacks on militants, which are increasingly controversial within Pakistan.

    Mrs Clinton was three hours’ drive away in the capital, Islamabad, when the blast took place.

    Shakil Ahmed, a shopkeeper, said: “There was a huge explosion and black smoke covered the area.”

    Relief workers said the number of casualties could rise as most of the 200 wounded were in a critical state. Others may still be trapped inside buildings. A medical official outside the casualty wing of a local hospital called on passing members of the public to donate blood as the doctors described harrowing scenes on the wards. “There are body parts. There are people. There are burnt people. There are dead bodies. There are wounded, I’m not in a position to count. But my estimate is that the death toll may rise,” said Dr Muslim Khan.

    More than 300 people have been killed in a spate of militant activity in the last three weeks since 30,000 Pakistani troops moved into the South Waziristan Tribal region, the nation’s main stronghold of Taleban and al-Qaeda militants.

    Pakistan has been placed on high alert amid fears of retaliatory strikes by extremists. The terrorists have regularly targeted Peshawar, the capital city of troubled North West Frontier Province.

    No one claimed responsibility for today’s attack but police blamed the Taleban who have been involved in previous assaults. Taleban leaders warned that they would stage more attacks if the army did not end its offensive against the militants.


  47. ‘Jobs Created or Saved’ Is White House Fantasy: Caroline Baum

    Oct. 28 (Bloomberg) — Heresy, thy name is Christina Romer.

    Last week, the chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers — a position that carried the title “chief economist” until Larry Summers took up residence in the White House — testified to the Joint Economic Committee on the economic crisis and the efficacy of the policy response.

    Here’s the executive summary in case you missed it:

    The crisis: “Inherited.”

    The economy: “In terrible shape” (the inherited one).

    The shocks to the system: “Larger than those that precipitated the Great Depression.”

    The policy response: “Strong and timely.”

    The efficacy of the policy response: a 2 to 3 percentage point addition to second-quarter growth; 3 to 4 percentage points in the third; and 160,000 to 1.5 million “jobs saved or created,” a made-up metric if there ever was one. (More on that later.)

    What was most puzzling about Romer’s Oct. 22 testimony was her comment on the waning effect of fiscal stimulus.

    “Most analysts predict that the fiscal stimulus will have its greatest impact on growth in the second and third quarters of 2009,” Romer said. “By mid-2010, fiscal stimulus will likely be contributing little to growth.”

    At first it was just fringe elements, such as conservative blogs and the not-really-a-news-organization Fox News, that pounced on Romer’s statement. Then other news outlets started to question her statement, which seemed to fly in the face of White House assertions that only a small portion of the stimulus — $120 billion, or 15 percent — has actually been spent. Most of the criticism of the stimulus coming from the president’s own party has been, “too little, too late,” and here’s Romer saying it’s kaput.

    Thanks for That

    Instead of being banished to the woodshed, Romer was consigned to the White House blog, where she slipped into professorial mode to explain the arcane distinction between the effect of the stimulus on the change in gross domestic product and its effect on the level of GDP.

    Stimulus has its biggest impact on the growth rate of GDP when it’s implemented, Romer said, using a car-and-driver analogy: Step on the accelerator, the car goes from zero to 60. Stimulus will keep the level of GDP and employment higher than they would have been even after the growth-rate effect fades, she said.

    Her logic is impeccable. It’s her premise that’s flawed.

    Dispensing Lucre

    When the government distributes lucre or loot, people spend it. If your interest is national income accounting, spending other people’s money is great. Spending is a back-door way for government statisticians to measure what matters, which is the real output of goods and services.

    But the government has no money of its own to spend; only what it borrows or confiscates from us via taxation. Oops.

    “Government job creation is an oxymoron,” said Bill Dunkelberg, chief economist at the National Federation of Independent Business. It is only by depriving the private sector of funds that government can hire or subsidize hiring.

    That’s why “jobs created or saved” is such pure fiction. It ignores what’s unseen, as our old friend Frederic Bastiat explained so eloquently 160 years ago in an essay.

    Econometric models synthesize all sorts of variables and spit out a GDP forecast. From there they derive the change in employment using something called Okun’s Law, named after the late economist Arthur Okun, which describes the relationship between the two.

    Fiction Lags Reality

    Actual hiring seems to be lagging behind the model’s land of make-believe. For small businesses, which are the source of most job creation in the U.S., the government’s increased and changing role in the economy isn’t a confidence builder. Businessmen have no idea what health-care reform will mean for their cost structure or what whimsical tax policies the government might impose when it realizes those short-term deficits are running into long-term unfunded liabilities.

    No wonder capital spending plans were at an all-time low in the third quarter, according to the NFIB monthly survey. Only 30,383 jobs were created or saved by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to Recovery.gov, the government’s once-transparent Web site that has become a complex blur of numbers, graphs and pie charts. These are only the jobs reported by federal contract recipients. The Obama administration will report the larger universe of ARRA-related jobs on Oct. 30.

    An extrapolation of what would have happened without the fiscal stimulus isn’t much consolation to the 9.8 percent of the workforce that is unemployed. Nor is Romer’s prescription for the economy and labor market very comforting in light of the trillions of future tax dollars that have been spent, lent or promised by the federal government.

    “If you take your foot off the gas, the car goes from 60 back down to a slow crawl,” Romer said in clarifying blog post.

    Gentlemen, start your engines.


  48. JanH
    October 27th, 2009 at 11:56 am

    Thank you, Jan-


    The new site looks wonderful. Also your comments highlighted in “pink” bring attention to info you want us to know about. Great makeover.

  49. While checking Ras Pres Tracking today ( -11), could not help but notice the paragraph following:
    Eighty-five percent (85%) trust their own judgment more than reporters and 53% say the average reporter is more liberal than they are. Sixteen percent (16%) say reporters are more conservative.

    www dot rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/obama_administration/daily_presidential_tracking_poll
    I’m hoping voters are as astute as they claim to be.

    Since Michelle’s last dig at Hillary still rankles this mind(MO’s not going to make the mistakes Hillary made), I’m taking some fair satisfaction in knowing that while Hillary risks severe danger in Pakistan, MO and Jill Biden will attend the opening game of the World Series tonight. NY TV advising fans to arrive early to game – security tight, lines slow. What a waste of extra security & traffic.

  50. “Eighty-five percent (85%) trust their own judgment more than reporters”
    hmmm…with the exception of the idiot bots I suppose.

    When BC was potus, the media war against him was constant and totally lopsided. Not to say he walked on water, but the media was definitely in bed with the repubs at that time. And yet his favorable ratings and accomplishments were very impressive.

    I was thinking yesterday that this would have been the same scenario if Hillary had taken the potus position as was her right.

  51. holdthemaccountable, I did not hear that MO said that, when, do you have a link?? What a beoch that woman is, she is so jealous of the Clinton’s she can’t stand it.

    I know they seem to send Hillary places that are blowing up the minute she touches down. All I can say, nothing better happen to Hillary or there will be hell to pay from the PUMAS.

  52. I don’t know what mistakes Hillary could of made, at least she did not marry a gangsta fraud. She is actually married to a true Statesman, unlike the POTUS of the world we have now.

  53. Didn’t meme also say that during the campaign, along with all the other assinine garbage that spewed from her mouth? She has already made more tasteless mistakes than all the first ladies combined.

    As far as accomplishments go, there won’t be any where she is concerned. A garden that she supervises? Oh my!

  54. I’m waiting for the rancid media to call out Hillary and say that there were no bombings when Hillary arrived in Pakistan. She has already been redeemed for the way they twisted her words during the campaign about being in a dangerous area that was bombed. And when she was found to be right, the media who had blackened her over this stayed quiet like mice.

  55. As far as First Ladies go, she will down just like her husband, on the bottom right next to GWB! Hillary is by far the most accomplished FIrst Lady in history. SHe also raised a great child, all doing this under the scrutiny of the press. Chelsea has never know what it was like to live without the press. Hillary was able to raise a very normal child under horrible circumstances.

  56. birdgal, me too. I am glad they got her one too. THe “One” has one already. It seems Holbrooke and the rest of them can go to these places virtually without problems. When Hillary goes it seems she just misses a bomb, WHY? There was a plot to kill her in Africa, but Pakistan? Thats a pretty scary place, they managed to get Bhutto. She was of coarse a sitting duck for it though.

  57. If Al Queda wants to make a statement that they are still in the running, even after having a few losses lately, then this is the time to show their bluster. Hillary is in Pakistan praising the army for pushing them back. The rebels won’t stand for it.

  58. Clinton sends delegation to Honduras

    27 October 2009

    In a fresh attempt to solve the political dispute in Honduras, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has sent a high-ranking delegation to the Central American country for talks.

    Negotiations between representatives of ousted President Manuel Zelaya and de facto ruler Roberto Micheletti broke down last week. Mr Zelaya was deposed in a military-backed coup d’etat in June; opponents accused Mr Zelaya of attempting to change the constitution in order to run for the presidency again. The country’s de facto leader, Roberto Micheletti has refused to step down in the run-up to the 29 November elections.

    According to Washington, elections can only be free, fair and transparent if the elected head of state is ruling the country. The White House says time is running out and called on both sides to be flexible; analysts believe the situation could escalate unless a solution is found quickly.

    Earlier today, the body of Mr Micheletti’s 25-year-old nephew Enzo was found near Choloma, some 250 kilometres north of the Honduran capital Tegulcigalpa. He had been missing since Friday. According to the authorities, the killing could have been politically motivated.



    Buying the votes of those with the highest voting rate (seniors), $250 at a time.

    A Drop in the Wrong Bucket

    Published: October 27, 2009

    If you wanted to help the economy and you had $14 billion to bestow on any group of people, which group would you choose:

    a) Teenagers and young adults, who have an 18 percent unemployment rate.

    b) All the middle-age long-term jobless who, for various reasons, are not eligible for unemployment benefits.

    c) The taxpayers of the future (by using the $14 billion to pay down the deficit).

    d) The group that has survived the Great Recession probably better than any other, with stronger income growth, fewer job cuts and little loss of health insurance.

    The Obama administration has chosen option d — people in their 60s and beyond.

    The president has proposed sending a $250 check to every Social Security recipient, which sounds pretty good at first. The checks would be part of his admirable efforts to stimulate the economy, and older Americans are clearly a sympathetic group. Next year, they are scheduled to receive no cost-of-living increase in their Social Security benefits.

    Yet that is largely because they received an artificially high 5.8 percent increase this year. For this reason and others, economists are generally recoiling at the proposal.

    President Obama’s own economic advisers raised objections, as my colleague Jackie Calmes has reported. Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution told me she thought the idea was crazy — and then noted she was in her 70s. Rosanne Altshuler, co-director of the Tax Policy Center in Washington, says that the checks “seem to be pure pandering to seniors.”

    Indeed, the politics are attractive. People over 65 vote in large numbers. Saying no to them is never easy.

    And therein lies a problem that’s much larger than one misguided $14 billion proposal.

    With the economy gradually improving, members of Congress and White House officials are just starting to think more seriously about the budget deficit. Fifty-three senators voted down a narrow health care bill last week, with many citing its potential impact on the budget. On Monday, Christina Romer, the chairwoman of Mr. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, gave a speech in which she said the deficit was “simply not a problem that can be kicked down the road indefinitely.”

    Just about everybody agrees that solving the deficit depends on reducing the benefits that current law has promised to retirees, via Medicare and Social Security. That’s not how people usually put it, of course. They tend to use the more soothing phrase “entitlement reform.” But entitlement reform is just another way of saying that we can’t pay more in benefits than we collect in taxes.

    “If the long-term issue is entitlement reform,” says Joel Slemrod, a University of Michigan economist, “the fact that the political system cannot say no to $250 checks to elderly people is a bad sign.”

    The first Social Security check was mailed in 1940 to Ida May Fuller, a retired legal secretary in Ludlow, Vt. It was for $22.54. Every month for the next 10 years, Ms. Fuller received a check for that same amount.

    The original Social Security legislation had not included an inflation adjustment, which meant benefits did not keep up with the cost of living. A decade later, Ms. Fuller’s checks were worth about 40 percent less in real terms than when she started receiving them.

    Congress finally increased benefits in 1950 and then continued to do so in fits and starts, sometimes faster than inflation, sometimes slower and usually in an election year. President Richard M. Nixon and a Democratic Congress brought some order to this process in 1972, by automatically tying benefits to the movement of an inflation index in the previous year.

    The changes were part of the transformation, during the middle decades of the 20th century, in how this country treated the elderly. In the 1930s, they had little safety net and frequently struggled to meet their basic needs. Four decades later, they were the only group of Americans with guaranteed health care and a guaranteed income. All in all, it was certainly for the good.

    But by the 1970s, you could start to see the early signs of excess. In their bill, Mr. Nixon and Congress included a little bonus: the increase in Social Security payments could never be less than 3 percent, no matter what inflation was. In the 1980s, Congress reduced the floor to zero — meaning that benefits would be held constant if prices fell — but the principle remained the same: heads, it’s a tie; tails, Social Security recipients win.

    This year, the coin finally came up tails.

    With oil prices plunging and other prices falling, last year’s high inflation (which led to the 5.8 percent increase in Social Security payments) has turned into deflation. Overall prices have dropped 2.1 percent in the last year, according to the relevant price index.

    Social Security payments, however, will remain as they were, which means that recipients are already set to receive an effective raise, even without Mr. Obama’s $250 checks. No matter what happens with that proposal, 2010 will be the first year since at least the Nixon era that the buying power of an individual worker’s Social Security goes up.

    Compare that to what’s happening with minimum-wage workers in Colorado. Their wage is also tied to inflation, but it has no floor. So it will fall slightly next year, to keep pace with prices.

    Now, I understand that there are arguments on the other side of the issue. Lawrence Summers, Mr. Obama’s top economics aide, pointed out that the stimulus bill included one-time $250 payments for Social Security recipients, which were sent out this year, but tax cuts for workers both this year and next year. “We’re correcting an anomaly,” he told me.

    Others will argue that the elderly simply need help. Some have been the victim of age discrimination. Too many still live in poverty. All of them are likely to see their Medicare premiums rise in 2010. This recession has spared no group.

    But older Americans really have survived the recession better than most.

    Many of them started buying assets years if not decades ago, meaning they were not the main victims of the stock and housing bubbles. They had a cushion. In addition, relatively few of them work in manufacturing or construction, the hardest-hit industries.

    Just consider: The real median income of over-65 households rose 3 percent from 2000 to 2008. For households headed by somebody age 25 to 44, it fell about 7 percent.

    Economic policy, like most everything else, is about making choices. Mr. Obama is choosing the elderly, rich and poor, to be more worthy of $14 billion in government checks than struggling workers or schoolchildren. Republicans have pandered in their own ways, choosing to oppose just about any cut in Medicare and, in effect, to stick your grandchildren with an enormous tax bill.

    In a way, I understand where the politicians are coming from. We voters may say that we are in favor of cutting the deficit, but usually mean it in only the theoretical sense. Who wants their own benefits cut? For that matter, who is even willing to have their Social Security checks hold steady?

  60. Obama gives donors special access, report says

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has rewarded top Democratic donors with perks ranging from holiday visits to the White House to policy briefings, carrying on a practice of past presidents despite his promise to change how Washington works, a report published Wednesday shows.

    At least 39 Democratic donors and fundraisers attended a White House reception on St. Patrick’s Day, and festivities held at the White House for Cinco de Mayo and Independence Day were financed at least in part by the Democratic National Committee, The Washington Times reported. Democratic National Committee documents it obtained showed the party promising top fundraisers who pledged to donate or raise certain amounts access to senior White House officials.

    Obama invited fundraiser Robert Wolf to play golf with him during the Obama family’s August vacation at Martha’s Vineyard. Wolf is chief executive of the UBS Group for the Americas and was appointed to Obama’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board. Also in August, Obama nominated fundraiser Alan Solomont as ambassador to Spain.

    Donors have also been invited to meetings with administration officials. For example, this summer, Obama deputy chief of staff Jim Messina went to Los Angeles and San Francisco to brief top donors on the administration’s national health care overhaul, the Times reported.

    During his 2008 presidential campaign, Obama promised to change the way things are done in Washington. But the donor rewards provided in Obama’s first months in office carry on a time-honored Democratic and Republican practice of giving special treats to top fundraisers and donors, such as appointments to ambassadorships and boards and invitations to policy briefings and holiday parties.

    A White House spokesman said many White House guests were longtime Obama family friends in addition to their fundraising connections, and, that given the millions of people who donated to Obama’s campaign, it wasn’t surprising that some visited the White House.

    “Contributing does not guarantee a ticket to the White House, nor does it prohibit the contributor from visiting,” Dan Pfeiffer, the White House’s deputy communications director, told the Times.

    Pfeiffer said Obama has put tough ethical standards in place to reduce special-interest influence over policymaking.


  61. Confloyd at 10:28 am do you have link?
    Sorry, no. One of the few times I trusted something in a comment without checking it out. Will report back if I can verify.

  62. Pfeiffer said Obama has put tough ethical standards in place to reduce special-interest influence over policymaking.


    Wow, what a lie. It has been the exact opposite, if one thinks about Wall Street, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, etc.

  63. And in the “no surprise” dept….

    ” October 28th, 2009
    White House War Boosts FOX
    Posted by Tom Bevan | Email This | Permalink | Email Author

    It’s no surprise. Heck, it may even have been part of the White House’s plan to galvanize its left wing base. Either way, the decision by Barack Obama and his administration to declare war on FOX News has had the inevitable effect of boosting the already dominant network’s ratings even more.

    According to numbers from Nielsen Media Research, in the two weeks prior to the launch of the White House’s offensive against FOX by Communications Director Anita Dunn on October 11, FOX was averaging 1.2 million viewers per day and 323,000 viewers in the coveted Adult 25-54 demographic.

    In the two weeks since Dunn’s remarks (and the subsequent comments by Rahm Emanuel, David Axelrod, and President Obama himself) FOX’s total average daily viewership surged 9% to over 1.3 million, while its viewership among Adults 25-54 shot up 14%.

    Also not surprisingly, FOX continued its ratings dominance in October. The top 13 rated shows represent FOX’s entire lineup except the 3am show Red Eye, which is still pulling in more viewers than MSNBC’s premier morning show, Morning Joe. Meanwhile, CNN and MSNBC recorded their lowest ratings of the year through the first three weeks of this month.

    In particular, CNN is in the midst of what looks to be a total ratings collapse. CNN’s average daily viewership among all households through the first twenty one days of October was just over half of what it was in January. The former cable heavyweight now ranks dead last among cable news networks – behind even its sister network Headline News.”

  64. October 28, 2009

    The Mail on Sunday (which is the Sunday sister paper of Britain’s Daily Mail) reports that:

    The British government is sending police and intelligence officers to the West Bank to try to stop a wave of brutal torture by Palestinian security forces funded by UK taxpayers. Their mission is to set up and train a new “internal affairs” department with sweeping powers to investigate abuse and bring torturers to justice.

    On Saturday a senior official from the Palestinian Authority, which runs the West Bank and its security agencies, admitted that torture, beatings and extra-judicial killings have been rife for the past two years, with hundreds of torture allegations and at least four murders in custody, the most recent in August. British detectives will also train the Palestinian police and Preventive Security forces in how to question suspects without torturing them. Britain spends £20 million a year funding the forces responsible for the abuse.

    In the West Bank city of Nablus, Nasser al-Shaer, a former academic from Manchester University who was deputy prime minister in the short-lived Hamas Palestinian Authority government elected in 2006, said many of those released from detention in recent months were telling the same story – of torture, including beatings, being suspended from the ceiling, and electric shocks.

    Now none of this is new. In spite of what the paper says, it has been continuing not just for the past two years, but since Yasser Arafat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and took over most of the West Bank in 1993. What is new is that a major newspaper (The Mail On Sunday is one of Britain’s highest circulation respected newspapers) is reporting on it.

    Of course, the abuse of human rights and use of torture is even worse in other “moderate” Arab countries like Egypt and Jordan, and far worse in non-moderate countries like Syria (which yesterday the European Union eagerly signed an Association Agreement with).

    Meanwhile, as Palestinian detainees are being tortured to death in Palestinian Authority jails, Palestinian prisoners (including convicted terrorists) in custody in Israel are studying for Israeli university degrees (at Israeli taxpayers’ expense) and also given cable TV, IPods and dental treatment – but international human rights groups criticize Israel, whose deputy foreign minister and former ambassador to Washington Danny Ayalon narrowly escaped being arrested in Britain for “war crimes” yesterday.

    And the world community that routinely and harshly condemns Israel even when Israel hasn’t done anything wrong, has failed to condemn the Katyusha rocket fired from Lebanon which narrowly missed an Israeli town last night.

    It is a strange world.


  65. dear dear dear admin,

    Threading has some advantages but only if there is an option for viewing chronologically. Otherwise it is too much work to check every thread for latest comments.

    Just so there are no sigs after each comment!!!

    Also it’s so much nicer to just find the conversation going freely among friends instead of having to jump through mechanical hoops all the time!

    signed, Turndown:
    politically leftist but bloggingly conservative 😉

    Now see, nobody wants to read something like that at the end of EVERY comment.

  66. TheRealist, this morning Mika Brezinski reported on the new NBC poll which pegs Obama’s approval number at 51%. Brezinski kept repeating that she thought that was a good number and Jim VandeHei, who knows better, agreed with her. When Obama hits 10% approval these dolts will still be saying he is popular.

  67. Mika’s anti-Israeli dad was an Obama advisor during the campaign so it’s n0o surprise…This Carter administration failure also suggested that US planesapproach and if necessary, shoot down IAF planes if they flew over Iraq to atack Iran..This is a guy whom has Obama’s ear.

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