Saturday, December 27, 2008
But with the naming of his cabinet appointees, (with the exception of Gates at Defense and Schapiro to head the SEC), his choices have been good ones and a huge improvement over the farce that was the Bush Administration. His choices also reflect that he is listening to his advisors in making these choices, most notably Biden. But even more than that, Obama's choices seems to reflect that, in the words of Dirty Harry, he knows his limitations.
Anyone with even a casual look at his background can see that his primary interest has always been his own ambitions. And he comes out of the morass of corrupt Chicago and Illinois politics, the same morass that produced Blagojevich. And like Nixon before him, the swamp of Illinois politics that produced him may eventually catch up with him.
But for now his cabinet appointees reflect his knowledge that this isn't going to be a four year book signing tour. His choices for his cabinet are highly opinionated and accomplished people who are capable of not only implementing policy but in formulating it. And that is probably what is going to happen.
The Obama Administration seems to be shaping up as a multiheaded Executive Branch with Obama playing the part he plays best -- the front man, making speeches and playing the part of President while the real work is done behind the scenes by people who actually know what they're doing. The public will get to see Obama taking the credit ( unless the Democrats screw up royally which is not beyond the realm of possibility) and listen to him make the same nonsensical speeches that sent a thrill up Chris Matthews leg.
In the last few days we have heard Obama tell us that "we are going to take a 21st century approach to agriculture" and that "we are going to take a 21st century approach to the economic crisis". Given that we are actually living in the 21st century that doesn't exactly sound like the product of a lot of brain power. Its exactly the kind of nonsense that made the news media act like a bunch of 13 year olds at a Hannah Montana concert.
It still remains to be seen what the Democrats will do once Obama is sworn in. Unfortunately,its been the Republicans so far, Shelby and Corker to be specific, who sound like they make the most sense when it comes to a bailout of Detroit.
But Obama has a lot of expertise close at hand. With Hillary Clinton Secretary of State can Bill as an off the record advisor be far behind?
Obama has always given every indication that he is not so interested in governing as he is in being President. His cabinet picks shows he knows and understands this and his limitations.That doesn't mean Democratic policies are going to work. The $700 billion bailout Pelosi rammed through the House and agreed to by the Senate has so far failed. It was supposed to stop the bleeding and restore confidence in the US economy. So far it hasn't worked. The Dow is down more than 1,000 points since the TARP was created and half of it has already been spent. So far its done nothing but outrage taxpayers.
But with Obama choosing people who have their own agendas, whether its Gates at Defense, Clinton at State or Daschle overseeing health care reform, Obama is essentially stepping aside and letting others run the show behind the scenes. And as long as he continues to do that there is the likelihood of success since Obama has a cabinet that can make his day.
Monday, December 15, 2008
But while the shoes missed there is something else that could be thrown at Bush by the Congress that wouldn't miss. And that is denying Bush his golden parachute.
No President in history has visited more disaster on the United States than George W. Bush. ( lets hope Obama doesn't come in a close second).
Bush's actions and inaction were responsible for getting at least 8000 Americans killed during his Presidency, Americans who'd be alive today if it weren't for his ineptitude and his policies not to mention all the other disasters and hardships he has caused this country.
Any one of the disasters brought on by Bush would be enough to condemn any Presidency. But there were not one but four. And they were the four of the biggest catastrophes to ever hit the country. And they happened not just during the Bush administration but because of it.
Thanks to Bush and Rice and their incompetent decision making in trivializing and dismissing terrorism as a threat to national security, privately expressing the belief that Clinton's warning that Al-Qaeda was the biggest threat to US national security in the world was overblown, and then ignoring 8 months of warnings that a terrorist attack against the US was imminent and doing nothing about it, New York was hit on Sept 11 with, the worst attack and worst loss of life on American soil committed by a foreign enemy in US history. This from the national security chest thumping Republicans who focused their attention on getting out of the ABM treaty with Russia so they could pursue a Star Wars initiative. and ignoring the terrorist threat ( it was the Republicans who accused Clinton of Wag the Dog when he ordered a missile attack on Al-Qaeda training camps trying to kill Bin Laden.)
There is enough evidence to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that 911 could have and would have been prevented by any President who took terrorism seriously. The dirty little secret never talked about and not touched by the press is that 911 could have been stopped, something I will prove in a subsequent post. But neither Bush nor Rice did a thing about the threat of Al-Qaeda until it was too late and 3000 people were killed.
Then there was Iraq, a totally dishonest war sold by dishonest means with a President, Vice President, National Security Advisor (Rice) and Secretary of Defense lying through their teeth every day for months ( helped by the same dishonest, incompetent cowardly press who gave Bush a pass on 911) trying to drum up support for a war that wasnt neccessary.
Not only was this the first pre-emptive war in American history violating American policy for 200 years, it was also, thanks to Bush the most mismanaged, and incompetently conceived war and post war occupation in history. There was a necessary war to be fought and every military and intelligence knew it was in Afghanistan. Instead Bush went for Iraq.
Then if that wasn't enough there was Katrina, a natural disaster that no one could have prevented except that a category 4 hurricane hitting New Orleans is one of five major disasters the NSC tells every incoming President he has has to have plans in place to deal with. Despite having a two day heads up that Katrina was going to hit New Orleans, it took Bush and his administration 5 days to get food, water and medicine into the city after Katrina hit. Not getting help to that city was responsible for people dropping dead on a US interstates, dying in hospitals and nursing homes or on the streets of New Orleans because they had no food,water, medicine or shelter.
Now the country is dealing with what most economists are calling the worst economic crisis since the Depression, also caused by Bush and Republican policies of deregulation and a Bush appointed Republican chairman of the SEC who never did his job. Bush let the foxes guard the chicken coop and the results are the mess the country is in now.
No President in history has deserved to have a shoe thrown at him more than Bush. But there is one the taxpayers, through the Congress can throw themelves.
Every President once they leave office gets the governments version of a golden parachute at taxpayers expense. The taxpayers provide a lifetime pension at full salary.The taxpayers provide for an office and full staff maintained forever. All transition expenses are paid for by the taxpayers. All travel expenses to anywhere in the US or abroad is paid for by the tax payers. A former President has use of private jets and all kinds of additional perks all at taxpayers expense..
Bush should receive none of this. Let Bush keep his Secret Service protection. But the tax payers should not be asked to provide him with a lifetime pension, an office, a staff and all the other perks that former Presidents get. He should be denied these things for the unprecedented mess he has caused and the disasters his Presidency has caused. He deserves no perks and they are not required except for Secret Service protection.
So how to do the taxpayers go about throwing this shoe at Bush? The place to start is with Charlie Rangel Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. There should be demands that the Congress deny Bush his golden parachute.
It would have to go for a vote on the floor and politics being what it is, mealy mouthed Democrats like Pelosi and Reid might very well stand in the way, but given the economic catastrophe Bush has caused along with all the other catastrophes of his administration, the taxpayers should not be footing the bill for a lifetime pension and other perks for Bush.
Calling and writing Charlie Rangel is the place to start demanding no golden parachute for Bush. He doesn't need the money anyway, but that's besides the point. It is a statement that the taxpayers can make about the Bush Presidency. And it would be the taxpayers way of letting the other shoe drop. And this one wouldn't miss.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Obama hasn't even been inaugurated yet but now a cloud is descending. It still remains to be seen if Republicans will call for an investigation into what Obama knew and when he knew it. Certainly the press wont. And maybe Obama and Blagojevich didn't discuss it but that's unlikely.
This might end with Blagojevich simply going to prison with that being the end of it, but that is unlikely also. In fact, Blagojevich is so corrupt if he did have anything on Obama he would certainly use it to get a deal for himself in some way. The question would be who he cuts it with -- the prosecutors or Obama himself.
There have only been three elected Presidents who, even as candidates seemed like a bad joke to me as Presidential material. The first was Nixon, the second George W Bush and the third is Barack Obama. None of them ever seemed Presidential in any way. Nixon and Bush lived down to my expectations.
Ive had the same feeling about Obama. He still seems like a bad joke. And the fact that he is the President-elect because the DNC was willing to rig the primary process to insure his candidacy in the most corrupt process and dishonest Presidential convention in history may yet come back to haunt all of them. Just as it always does.
"Thinking about the diversity of our culture and inviting jazz musicians, and classical musicians, and poetry readings in the White House so that once again we appreciate this incredible tapestry that's America, you know, that, I think, is going to be incredibly important, particularly because we're going through hard times," Obama said.
Now I happen to think that having jazz musicians and other cultural events at the White House is a nice idea, and too often people miss the importance of art and culture to a society, but it brings up the old Zen question, if jazz musicians play at the White House and people on an unemployment line cant hear it does it make a sound?
As they say, there is a time and a place for everything but was that the right time and the right place to be talking about jazz musicians in the White House?
Obama said practically at the same time, that things will probably get worse before they get better. That isn't his assessment, that is the assessment of everyone who understands economics. He just went out there and said what he was told to say by people who know. And I don't think people who are being hurt are going to take much comfort in the Obama's inviting jazz musicians to the White House.
Culture is important and simple things like music and art can help people get through hard times, but given that most people are not going to be attending a concert at the White House (The Axelrod of Evil's days of giving out free food and concert tickets are over), it's probably not a good idea for Barack and Michelle to try and play Jackie Kennedy right at the moment. There will be time for that if the economic plan works. For now, talk of jazz musicians at the White House will remind people a lot more of Marie Antoinette than Jackie Kennedy.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
What's most telling about this release is that this information would never have been released without Obama deciding that he wanted it released. Law enforcement would never issue such a press release on their own. It would not be in their interest to do so. But Obama obviously felt it was in his political interest to do so. And so he ordered it to be disseminated.
Even amid a financial crisis, it seems that Obama can't help but continue to play the kind of cheap politics reminiscent of Richard Nixon. In this case, before he is even inaugurated he is looking for brie and sympathy.
But even Nixon never stooped to the level of trying to play on public sympathy by using threats of bodily harm against him,threats everyone knows are mostly insignificant since 99.99% of them come from harmless but deluded crackpots who pose no real threat at all. Which is not to say each threat shouldn't be investigated by the Secret Service and the lunatics arrested. After all it is a federal crime to make such threats. But it is telling and very much in character that Obama would want that information released when no President before him thought it mattered much.
But releasing that information gave him the political pretense to do his scheduled TV interview with Barbara Walters and play the tin hero, making sure the subject was brought up and then showing that he is oblivious to the mounting threats and danger around him, showing the world that he is not afraid, that he is a person of courage who will do his job despite the threats. That is pretty much what he said. Whatta guy. Even before taking office Obama thinks that being President is all about him. I wonder if it gave Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann goosebumps.
Another aspect of how cheap a political play this really was, is the unintentionally revealing use of the word"more". The release said Obama has received "more" threats than any other President-elect in history, What that word tells us is what we already knew. That every other President-elect in history received threats like these from the usual collection of unhinged lunatics around the country. They always do.
But none of them, not Bush, not Clinton, not Bush 41, not Reagan, not Carter, none of them decided to use these threats for PR or political purposes by releasing news of them to the public. Not saying anything in the face of these lunatic threats is real courage. Instead Obama decided to prey on public sympathy by having that information released and in the process went one step further by playing the race card while at the same time being able to say "who me"?
Because " more threats than any President in history" translates into only one thing -- "because I'm black". (Actually half black) And everyone, including Obama, knows it.
In wanting to play hero before he even takes the oath of office, Obama seems to have no problem with suggesting to people that despite the fact that the country elected the first person of color in history to the Presidency, we are still a racist society and he is still a victim of that racism even though he happens to have been elected President of the United States. Again, whatta guy.
Underhanded Nixonian politics is not new for Obama. What is new is that he is playing it as President-elect.
One always hopes, politics being the dirty business that it is, that once a politician gets elected they stop being a politician and start being a statesman. Very few rise to that level and Obama, Mr. Change, is no exception.
Except to use threats against him, most of them meaningless, for his own political use is somewhat lower than any President has gone before. No President before him felt it necessary to release information about threats against them. Law enforcement would never do it on their own. Obama instructing them do it so he can play Braveheart is just more political games at a time when that is the last thing the country needs.
Whatever time Obama spent with his advisers discussing this and then making the decision to go ahead and issue the press release was time wasted.
The one bright spot so far is that he is appointing capable people to fill his administration. One can only hope that when it comes to actually governing, he does what he knows how to do best - get out of the way and allow people who actually know what they are doing to formulate and follow through on policy. And so far it looks like he may be doing just that while he handles being the front man and doing what he does best. Nothing.
For those who havent seemed to be able to find any of the articles related to these stories about the rise in threats to Obama, here is one from the Associated Press. The release was also read on CNN and was talked about as mentioned in the interview Barbara Walters did with Obama.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Now we know what actually went on in that closed door meeting at Clinton's Washington home back in June when Obama went to see Clinton hat in hand after Pelosi horsewhipped super delegates to come out and declare for him. Now we know what Lola wanted. And now we know what Lola got.
Four months before a stock market crash and a collapsing economy that all but sealed the victory for any Democratic candidate no matter who it was, Obama surely felt that he couldn't and wouldn't win as the nominee without Clinton's support or her voters. So he requested that meeting at her house which took place behind closed doors. The inside information at the time was that he offered her the Vice-Presidency in return for her support and she turned it down, understandably since, while Cheney had been the ventriloquist and Bush the dummy, usually the VP job is purely symbolic with no official Constitutional duties.
But it doesnt take much logic and insight to see now what was probably negotiated at the time. In all probability, after turning down the offer of VP, Obama offered her any job she wanted in an Obama administration if he should win, in return for her support. And she agreed. Which now explains a lot of Clinton's seemingly over the top support of someone she had campaigned against saying he wasn't qualified ( which happened to be the truth).
Clinton could have tried to fight it out and in my opinion if she had she would have won the nomination. But it was a risk. This deal was probably the next best thing and contained little risk for her other than giving up her campaign for the Presidency.
It's probable that since Obama's victory, Clinton has been pondering whether she wanted Attorney General or Secretary of State. It's no coincidence that a few days after Holder was named Attorney General, the news was leaked that Clinton will be offered Secretary of State. It is obviously the job she decided she wanted.
It is unlikely Clinton would have agreed to take the job if she had any substantial differences with Obama over foreign policy. So it is very likely that Obama's foreign policy will have more of a Clinton stamp than an Obama one since there is no way she would have agreed to carry out a foreign policy she didn't agree with.
The odd man out is Bill Richardson who, to believe James Carville, double crossed Clinton at the last minute by supporting Obama, probably in hopes of getting this job which he wanted really really really badly. This was to be Bill Richardson's twenty peices of silver.
Politics being what it is, it wouldn't surprise me if Clinton chose State partly to screw Richardson out of the job he coveted.Its also the second most important and visible job in any administration.
Of course some Obama sycophants in the press, David Bromwich over at Huffington Post to name one, have become apoplectic over Clinton's impending nomination as Secretary of State probably because its making him look like a fool after bad mouthing Clinton for 9 months in support of Obama, and now those in the press who spent 9 months tearing her down are going to have to eat their words. And who better to make them look like idiots than Obama himself?
Clinton as Secretary of State says a lot of things. First it says what was apparent back in June when Obama asked for that meeting -- that she was the one in the drivers seat calling the shots and told him what it would take to get her support. Obviously he made the deal. And now the IOU is being paid. Second, it shows that Obama knows he is in over his head and will have to surround himself with the best people he can find, and since he is going to have his hands full with a collapsing economy he obviously needed someone at State that had the visibility and impact to carry out foreign policy with almost the same authority as the President himself. So its' unlikely we are going to hear any more from the press about Clinton's trip to Bosnia as First Lady.
And one other thing. With Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, and Obama realizing this isn't going to be a book signing tour, it now seems fairly certain that an unofficial economic advisor who goes by the name of Bill is probably waiting in the wings.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
There were the Republicans, staunchly taking a stand against giving tens of billions of tax payer dollars with no strings attached to the grossly irresponsible CEO's of GM, Ford and Chrysler, and there were the Democrats pushing it for it.
If this is the kind of change we can expect from Obama and the Democrats its going to be an interesting four years. There was Dick Shelby, Republican conservative from the South arguing against throwing $27 billion to the Big 3 automakers and there was Chris Dodd, liberal Democrat from the north, making the case for it.
The more you watched the hearings the stranger things became with Bob Corker, the Republican senator from Tennessee standing up for the taxpayer and making the most sense, and Bob Casey, the Democrat from Pennsylvania sounding like a GM apologist and lobbyist and pontificating about this being an important issue and thanking the CEO's for coming. Thanks a lot Bob. The buffet will be served next to the cloakroom.
So the Democrats, with Obama and Pelosi leading the way now want to throw $27 billion at the 3 most irresponsible corporations in America, which everyone knows is only a down payment anyway since they will be back for more and its the Republicans sticking up for the taxpayers.
Since when do Republicans stick up for the taxpayers while the Democrats screw them? Since now, obviously.
Throwing $27 billion at the automakers is nothing more than trickle down economics, the failed Republican economic ideology that has never worked, now being pushed by Democrats hoping that by giving money to the same management teams that screwed up in the first place, it will all trickle down and save jobs and the companies themselves. The Democrats, the party that used to stand for justice now wants to reward the lousy management of the Big 3 for the horrible job they did fighting tooth and nail against fuel efficiency standards while foreign car makers embraced them, and then producing gas guzzling cars which people didn't want when the price of oil skyrocketed.
But the Democrats, who seem to be playing politics with this more than anything else, want to give $27 billion with practically no strings attached even though they know they will be back asking for more. And they are doing it, in Maxine Waters words, by rolling over.
How about insisting that if they give them the bailout money, that current management step down? How about a provision insisting that any executives at the Big 3 making $500,000 a year or more, work for a salary of $1 a year until the money is paid back?
The CEO's of these three companies which lost $70 billion over the last 3 years, make on average $28 million a year. Just to put that in terms people can understand, that is $600,000 a week.
And now they want the taxpayers to hand over $27 billion to help them out of all the bad decisions they've made business wise for years. It's the management of these companies that are responsible for the mess they are in not the economic crisis.. They blame it on the economic crisis but that hasn't caused the stock of Honda, Nissan, Mercedes, Audi, or Toyota to drop 80%. They are in the same economic environment and those companies aren't hurting the way Detroit is.
The reason they are on the verge of bankruptcy is because of the way they have done business for decades.
I write a lot about little things mean a lot and how big pictures can be drawn from small things. Ive seen it with Obama and his nonsensical verbiage designed to fool people who cant think for themselves into thinking that it sounds good when its all nothing but nonsense with nothing behind it.
I made a similar observation of a small thing that told me a lot a long time ago when it came to Detroit and American cars.
I never owned an American car and so I never made this observation until one day, about 20 years ago when I rented a car. I was getting familiar with the dashboard when I noticed something that caught my eye I thought was an astounding and,telling discovery. Very telling in the little things mean a lot category. The odometer on the Ford I was renting had only 5 digits. The odometer on my foreign car had an odometer with 6 digits. That kind of small thing revealed some big thinking. Who was designing and conceiving cars that were built to last ? Who were designing and building cars meant to give people their moneys worth and were meant to stay on the road a long time?
The difference between Detroit's 5 digit odometer and the 6 digit odometer of foreign cars tells you all you need to know about Detroit's management thinking and the mess they are in now and what they thought of their own product..
A commenter here wrote the other day disagreeing with my position,that if the Big 3 failed it would be a major disaster for the country. The Big 3 have already failed. They aren't very big any more. They've been failing for decades and lost $70 billion in the last 3 years while their CEO's were making $28 million a year for all their good work.
There should be no bailout of Detroit.They are using the economic crisis as an excuse. Its not the reason they are in the shape they are in now. If there is no bailout the auto industry will not go under. GM can go into bankruptcy and reorganize and/or there can be a merger with the other two. Detroit will build fewer but better cars. The money the auto makers want ( which would continue to pay those CEO salaries) could be better spent guaranteeing the pensions of every auto worker and doubling the unemployment and severance for those who get laid off and do it for a lot less than $27 billion. These are the people who should get assistance. Not the people who caused the problem,. The other auto makers will pick up the slack in about a year when things start to pick up and hire those workers.
There is no reason not to let GM go into bankruptcy like any other failed corporation. The airlines did it and they've come out of it it smaller but viable. The biggest point the CEO of GM thought he was making against bankruptcy was that a survey showed that 80% of consumers wouldn't consider buying a car from a company in bankruptcy The Democrats on the committee all nodded knowingly proving that crash test dummies come from anywhere and can even rise to the level of CEO and US Senator, ( and even President of the US as the last 8 years and the current President-elect has shown).
There is only one reason people said they wouldn't consider buying and it's because a car is in an investment. People want to know there will be a company standing behind the warranty. And what could be easier to deal with? The government, for a fraction of what the automakers want in bailout money, can guarantee the warranties on all of GM's cars just like the FDIC guarantees bank deposits. That money would only be needed if GM actually went out of business which is not likely.But It would take care of people's fears and it would cost the taxpayers a lot less if GM management couldn't turn it around.
The bailout as it stands now makes no sense but the Democrats seem intent on giving them the money, not on taxpayer terms but on auto makers terms..
Maxine Waters asked the 3 CEO's if they would be willing to set aside $1 billion of the $27 billion to help ailing dealers who were suffering under the credit crunch and laying off workers. Sitting there and watching her take no for an answer as each CEO essentially told her no, and watching her trying to make it sound like a yes was one of the more pathetic moments of the House hearing. None of them agreed to do it with GM saying they needed all the money for operating costs Chrysler another saying they felt they were already doing what she was asking and so didn't need to set aside $1 billion, to which Waters responded
"so is that a yes"?
The Democrats have the votes and so if they want to throw this money at the auto makers with no strings, no management sacrifice, no management change and no guarantee that it will save jobs, they can do it. But the auto makers sound like they are taking everyone for a ride and the Democrats seem to be ready to hop in. Its not what the Democratic Party of 10 years ago would have let happen.
NOTE: The Senate yesterday refused to approve the $27 billion auto bailout with even some skeptical Democrats refusing to go along. Harry Reid amazingly said " we dont believe we need the legislation". Oh no? Then why did you try and pass some? What Reid is now saying is that Bush can allocate the money out of the TARP something Bush has already said he wont do. The Republicans were willing to pass legislation that would allow the auto makers to take $25 billion already passed and allocated to the auto makers to help make more fuel effecient cars and divert that to meet their present emergency money needs but the Democrats said no. No? If this is an emergency then why not? If Obama is insinuating himself into this behind the scenes then its starting to look like trickle down ineptitude is hitting the Democrats.
Monday, November 17, 2008
The idea the idea is to give the Big 3 auto makers the $27 billion bailout they are looking for. It's a bad idea. But one that takes no political courage to embrace since its the politically easy thing to do.
Detroit is claiming they need the money because of the economic crisis. But in case no one has noticed, the same economic crisis exists for Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Volvo and every other foreign auto maker making and selling cars in the US.The real reason for Detroit's economic problems is that they have lost $70 billion in the last 3 years thanks to management that has been responsible for selling cars the public doesn't want because they haven't been as good as the competition's. That has nothing to do with the economic crisis and it's no reason to bail them out and reward their managment for all their lousy work.
But what is even more worrisome is that on the subject of the auto bailout we get more of what we've been getting all along from Obama -- more Obamaspeak which, to me is the product, not of some soaring intellect but a sloppy mind.
Here is one example:
"For the auto industry to completely collapse would be a disaster in this kind of environment"
First, no one has said the auto industry would completely collapse if they didnt get the $27 billion so it's either an example of his not seeing the problem for what it is, or it's more Obamaspeak -- words with nothing behind it. The second part of his statement is almost laughable, that "... the collapse of the auto industry would be a disaster in the kind of environment". What kind of environment would the collapse of the auto industry not be a disaster? Should we wait a few years and then let the industry collapse? No one wants to see the industry collapse and it won't whether they get the $27 billion or not. So it's more words designed to sound smart but are more Alice in Wonderland nonsense from the person who said words matter.
The people who need to be looked out for first and foremost in the auto industry right now are the workers. And for less than half the $27 billion Detroit wants -- $12 billion -- the goverment can guarantee the lifetime pensions of every auto worker at the Big 3. That makes more sense than than throwing $27 billion at auto industry managment who are responsible for years of neglect and making cars that weren't as good as the competiton. Yes, everyone says they learned their lesson and now they are making better cars. But spending $12 billion to make sure the people who had nothing to do with the auto makers losing $70 billion over 3 years have their pension and health care benefits in tact makes more sense.
GM going into bankruptcy is not the worst thing that can happen. Major airlines have done the same and come out of it stronger and more viable. The possibility of Ford and Chrysler having to merge is also a better idea than throwing tens of billions of taxpayer money at management teams that don't deserve it.Yes, if GM had to file for bankruptcy and restructure and Chrysler and Ford merged there would be a loss of jobs, at least temporarily. But the rest of that $27 billion could go to doubling the severance of any auto worker who loses their job, and extending their unemployment benefits to twice their duration giving them ample time to get on their feet or get rehired. And with Detroit producing fewer cars it would almost certainly mean the foreign auto makers employing American auto workers would eventually take up the slack and increase production and over time would be hiring more workers.
At the very least if Detroit was to get a bailout it should come from the original $700 billion from the original bailout bill, not a separate loan. The reason for that is you just cant keep throwing money at everyone. It wont work and wont solve the problems. You start in one place and improve that and then move on from there and not try and solve everything at once.The one thing to be concerned about in an Obama presidency is that he is so used to doing things for strictly political reasons, to try and say something to appeal to everyone ( as he did when his statements about Jerusalem blew up in his face during the primary) that he may try and give something to everyone as a political sop . But the problem is too big and too wide spread for that to be a solution otherwise everyone would be for it.
GM should be allowed to go into bankruptcy and reorganize. Yes it would have a short term negative psychological affect but practically speaking its not a bad thing. GM, Ford and Chrysler mismanagement has caused this problem with years of neglect and not being competitive with foreign auto makers and now they want tax payers to bail them out using the economic crisis as the excuse.
Spending $12 billion to guarantee the pensions and health care of all the autoworkers, and another $15 billion to double the severance and unemployment benefits of those who lose jobs makes more sense than a management bailout. The other thing to keep in mind is that if you throw this money at Detroit management, there is no guarantee people wont lose their jobs anyway.
Forcing GM to downsize, getting rid of management, encouraging a merger between Chrysler and Ford would mean they would produce less but better cars. It also means sales of the foreign auto makers ( all of whom employ American workers in the US) would increase and so would create new jobs there -- jobs that can be filled eventually by auto workers who might be casualties of the downsizing.At the very least, any money going to Detroit should come out of the $700 billion already allocated, not a separate bailout package . But Obama has been pushing for the bailout now and pushing Bush to support it, something Bush has said he wont do.
The one thing to look for, the one big red flag, a marker to throw down now with regards to Obama and the bailout is, if the bailout doesn't happen now and Obama comes to office and doesn't do it himself, its going to be a sign that his seemingly pathological insincerity is real. If he thinks the bailout is a good idea, then let him do it when he comes to office and let the results will be what they will be. But if, after pushing Bush to sign a bailout bill, he doesn't do it himself, then the next 4 years are going to be lost years with Obama doing what he is done his whole political life -- nothing.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
For much of the campaign Obama used speeches and phrases designed to sound good but upon closer examination was saying nothing. In the words of Gertrude Stein there was "no there there". A lot of people were taken in by it and a lot of people weren't.
But given the economic crisis anything that Obama has to say now means a great deal whether he like it or not. And so far what he has had to say has been as empty and nonsensical as his campaign speeches.
For those who think that Obama's use of oxymorons and language which is designed to sound thoughtful but is really nonsense, is just semantics and that this is nitpicking lets hope for all concerned that none of you are airline mechanics. Or detectives.
Detectives usually solve crimes by noticing small things, not big things. Sometimes things too small to be seen by the naked eye or something that to an untrained eye doesn't mean much but can lead a detective to solving the crime. That's why they are called clues. And that's why so far Obama seems to be without one.
The other day Obama issued a statement about the economy and how he plans to address it and once again, as he has throughout his political life, he used phrases that were designed to sound thoughtful but were nonsense. And one has to take into account the thought process that goes into such use of language.
With people wanting to hear from him regarding the economic crisis, he told people that his administration would apporach the economic crisis and act with "deliberate haste". "Deliberate haste" is pure Obama. That is the kind of Through the Looking Glass nonsense that sounds like its important and meaningful when it means absolutely nothing. Its the kind of thing that should come out of the mouth of the Queen of Hearts or the hookah-smoking caterpillar not a President -elect. But it's the kind of phraseology he's always used to make people think he knew what he was talking about when he didn't.
In plain English he was actually saying was that he is going to take his time hurrying up. Or he was going to hurry up but take his time. Maybe he meant he was going to employ something new -- fast deliberation -- you know, kind of like Wendy's or McDonald's. Maybe bail out GM from the $30 billion value meal menu. Even Yogi Berra didnt know what he was talking about.
I don't know if Obama has a speech writer in charge of oxymorons or if he writes them himself.My guess is he writes them himself. And why not? They've worked before. Not on the floor of the US Senate. And not on the floor of the Illinois State Senate. But they worked on the floors of newsrooms around the country and in TV studios inhabited by Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews as well as other campaign venues but the time for that is over.
Some people, especially those who supported Obama from the beginning will think this is all hairsplitting . Obviously these wont be airline mechanics or artists or writers or detectives or people who are used to paying close attention to things. which also eliminates journalists. Because speeches, especially Presidential speeches are usually carefully thought out, with words parsed and meanings and shades of meanings and subtleties discussed at length. Obviously not in Obama's case.
The fact is that everyone in the room thought "deliberate haste" sounded good. Which doesn't say much for everyone in the room because not one of them said, "what does that mean?" When you surround yourself with people who are more afraid of looking stupid ( because maybe they think they are) than asking an honest question, it doesn't bode well for effective problem solving.
But Obama now has to actually do something. People justifiably fed up with the havoc the Republicans caused ( and this economic crisis is directly related to Republican ideology regarding regulation and a Republican fox guarding the chicken coop chairman of the SEC) have turned to the Democrats who have historically handled economic issues better than the Republicans.
So Obama has to make good on the reason he was elected. The reason Montana voted for him. The reason Ohio and Michigan and Florida voted for him. The reason 8 states that voted Republican in 2004 voted for him. To fix the economy.And the reason that little things mean so much is that 70% of the GNP is consumer spending. And one of the biggest factors in consumer spending is confidence.
If Obama can't inspire confidence, which is the fastest thing a leader can do and what Roosevelt did in 1932, and has the quickest effect because it can be instantaneous, then it makes the job twice as hard because if people don't have confidence then they will want to see proof before they lift a finger and realistically any economic program has to have at least two years to work through the system.
So far given the 400+ drop in the market yesterday and the more than 1000 pt drop since he was elected, Obama hasn't inspired confidence. The day after the election a friend sent me a headline that said, "Biggest Post Election Drop in History". I wrote back asking if this was about the stock market or Obama's IQ.
Hopefully Obama will approach these problems with some concrete ideas that won't be motivated by politics. But whatever he does, he's going to have to be done with a lot more than deliberate haste.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
It was a year when the conventional wisdom said the Democrats could run Mickey Mouse and win but Obama's candidacy made the choices a lot harder for people who weren't voting their fears though its hard to blame working people in Michigan and Ohio for doing just that.
Many,understandably, voted to punish the Republicans and no one can say they didn't deserve it. The bad news is that the government is now in the hands of Pelosi, Reid and Obama by default, three people who have already proved they wont have a clue as to what to do with it. On the other hand no one expects them to be worse than the Republicans. Or will they?
When George Bush became President in 2000 many of us couldn't believe there were people so stupid as to actually vote for someone so obviously over his head and unqualified to be President. It wasn't enough to say the Supreme Court gave Bush the Presidency. It really shouldn't have been close and we said it was hard to believe people could be that stupid to elect someone so clearly unqualified.
After fulfilling our expectations and having 4 years of the most inept incompetent Presidency in history it seemed almost impossible to think people would be stupid enough to re-elect him. But people were and they did. And what followed was another four disastrous years.
Now its the Democrats turn as someone as unqualified, unprepared and inadequate as Bush has been elected but for completely different reasons because Obama has problems to deal with that Bush never had. Bush caused most of the problems, but that aside, they are still there and need solving and based on his track record Obama is not going to solve them.
Unfortunately, add to his lack of qualification that Obama is more dishonest,underhanded,and untrustworthy than any candidate in 40 years and while the repudiation of the Republicans for the last 8 years is well deserved, another four years of ineptitude is not deserved but that is entirely what people who voted for better is likely to get.
For those hoping Obama is actually going to do something to solve the problems facing the country,there is the likelihood that, like Bush he will make them worse. And the reason for that likelihood is that Obama has never done anything or accomplished anything or solved any problems in the past nor has he shown the slightest inclination to wanting to do so which is why he voted "present" over a hundred times in the Illinois state legislature and had a record of doing nothing in the US Senate. So why should anything be different now?
If Obama follows his pattern it will be to do nothing which is the safe thing to do. After all if you do nothing then you cant get blamed for much. Obama promised to start bringing the troops home from Iraq within 60 days after taking office. I'll give odds that never happens. Obama didn't spend 6 years in the Illinois state senate doing absolutely nothing because he is a dynamic problem solver. What he is and what he has made himself into is a symbol. Nothing more.
So will Obama turn the current economic crisis into a depression? Hard to say. Maybe. Will he make it better? Very doubtful. Like George W. Bush, he has never once ever shown he has the skill or the knowledge the intuition or problem solving skills or the conceptual ability to grasp a problem and solve it. What's even worse he's never even shown he has the desire to even try.
For many, his lack of problem solving won't matter. Like Reagan in the 80's he has been a symbol for people who need symbols instead of anything real. Or are superficial enough to believe that symbols will solve their problems.The primary symbol of course is that he is black but that is not why most people voted for him.They voted as much against the Republicans and holding them accountable for the last 8 years as anything else. And working people voted for him because they are concerned about losing their jobs and their homes and the economy is the number one issue in the country.
The media of course is going to milk the race thing for all its worth. That's who and what they are.They can always be depended on to make irrelevant things important and reduce important things to irrelevance especially if they think it will make buck. I'm sure if he could, Wolf Blitzer would start doing the news in blackface.
But it's not going to be any consolation after 8 years of Republican ineptitude and incompetence that if we have more of the same the face on the incompetence will be black instead of white. If things get worse, the fact that it will have a black face will mean nothing to the workers in Ohio or Michigan who lose their jobs.
Obama promised change because he knew how to press the buttons of people who wanted just that and made himself a symbol for people who wanted a symbol. But Obama has lied, reneged and broken every promise he ever made. That is indisputable. His path to success has been to do nothing or as little as possible and his goals have always been simply to get elected to the next office. But he has inherited a set of problems that need action. His history is that he will do little or nothing about them. That is what he has been in the past and taking action is just not who he is because its not who he's ever been.
Will the next four years simply be like the last four only with a Democratic Party label? Its not going to take long to find out. We'll know as soon as the first promise is broken and that might be with regards to Iraq. It also might be with the economy if things gets worse
Its been a tough year for choices. The Republicans deserved to be punished for their gross negligence and incompetence of the last 8 years.On the other side the Democratic congress hasn't exactly covered itself in glory and the Democratic candidate for President has shown the character of a shady used car salesman and zero problem solving or legislative skills. Yes he is black but I don't think the amount of melanin in his skin, the chemical that makes a black person dark and kept their ancestors from getting skin cancer from the sun's ultra violet rays, is going to help him much if the economy gets worse.
The country is just about finished with 8 years of an unqualified President. Its not going to take long to find out if there is going to be four more years of the same. A lot of people think there will be. Obama's speeches and ability to manipulate the easily manipulated won't help him now.
As Obama joked to a reporter a few years ago at one of his book signings, "Maybe it's time for me to actually go do something". He never did. And it could be because he doesnt know how. Let's hope for the sake of the people who voted for him that the real change is that he is the one who changes. If he doesn't, it could be a long four years for the people who expected more.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Bitter that the Democrats and Nancy Pelosi have been a disaster and delivered on very little ever since they became the majority. And probably bitter that they can't pose any valid arguments for supporting Obama that doesn't expose them as a collection of trained seals swallowing whatever nonsense Obama throws at them which is why they get so flustered and angry when others won't go along.
Bitter Democrats supporting Obama seem to think the best revenge is to elect the Democrats version of an unqualified President who has no business being in the Oval Office either. You can almost hear them in their bitterness saying " If the Republicans can have an unqualified, unaccomplished intellectually dishonest President in the White House so can we!".
As has been the case throughout the entire campaign and primary process, the biggest affliction affecting Kool Aid drinking Obama supporters has been projection, that stage of denial, in the case of Obama supporters mass denial, where someone projects onto other people their own feelings and behavior they want to suppress instead of admit and so project it onto others. So Clinton supporters who refuse to support Obama because he is an inept, unqualified dishonest underhanded snake oil salesman are called bitter by Obama supporters, while those supporting an inept,unqualified, dishonest underhanded snake oil salesman believe themselves to be enlightened.
Since there is not a single good reason to vote for Obama other than you are bitter about 2000 and Kerry;s moronic 2004 campaign, and 8 years of gross incompetence by George W. Bush,it is bitter Democrats who will be voting for Obama. The fact that Obama was the product of a rigged roll vote and a rigged primary process engineered by people in the DNC who are every bit as incompetent and dishonest as George W. Bush ( Howard Dean Nancy Pelosi and Donna Brazile) it doesn't seem to matter.
Even those deficient Democratic politicians like Dean, Pelosi, the bowing and scraping Bill Richardson and Chuck Schumer of New York,and all the rest who are missing the Truth Gene in their DNA seem to think the only reason to vote for Obama is to have a Democrat in the White House. Which 99% of the time would make sense. Except for this year.
Others say "Hillary is telling me to vote for him and I will do what she says" as if that is some kind of rational reason to do anything..
No one right now knows what the outcome will be. Obama has been trying to raise money to the very end. He is so confident of winning that he is buying commercials this morning in Florida. With all the money he has, if his internal polling showed he was a shoo-in ( what the dishonest enablers in the mass media are trying to make people believe) he would be channeling some of that money to Democratic candidates in tight congressional races around the country. He isn't. He is spending it on himself. Of course you can make the case that even if Obama was a shoo-in he would spend it on himself.
By tomorrow morning we will know if there are more bitter Democrats than rational ones since it will be the bitter and those caught up in race that will be voting for Obama. Predicting is a losers game since you could flip a coin and have a 50% chance of being right pr wrong. But for those who want to look for indicators, if Obama wins the close battleground states that now show him with a small, it will be the first time since the primaries began that the polls turned out to be right in states where the polls were close.
During the Democratic primary every state poll that showed Obama with a big lead proved accurate. But every poll that showed Obama with a small lead or Clinton with a small lead and a very tight race, proved wrong by landslide numbers against Obama.
In Ohio, Zogby had Obama and Clinton tied the night before the primary. Clinton won by 10. In California Rassmussen had Obama up by 1 the day before the primary. Clinton won by 15. The polls showed close races in New Jersey and Massachusetts. Clinton beat Obama by landslide numbers. The polls showed a tightening race in South Dakota with Obama with an ever shrinking lead. Clinton won by a landslide number.
This is not to say it will happen again. But if you're going to handicap and try to pick a probable winner, you handicap the past performances of the pollsters. That's what the "experts" are doing but failing to take into account how wrong the polls were in close races and by what margins.Again there is no way to know for sure. the best indicator that Obama's internal polling is showing he is in a dogfight is that he is still running commercials in battleground states.
If the polls do hold to form there will be a lot of bitter Democrats tearing up losing tickets when its all over wondering how Obama could have lost. If Obama wins we could be in for four years of "Scenes From a Bad Marriage".
NOTE: This post has been removed 5 times today by some pro Obama twit working at RCP. Whoever is doing it, he or she has been doing it for two weeks as 4 previous posts were taken down by someone with access, perhaps even the webmaster. Mine arent the only ones. Others have complained and had their anti-Obama posts removed by someone at RCP who is probably acting in as a rogue not officially for RCP. Perhaps I should be flattered that this political twit thinks these posts are so influential they should be removed from RCP.
This is the kind of political garbage that personifies Obama himself and his supporters. Whoever this neanderthal is should be exposed and fired.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Not only has Obama not told the truth about anything in 10 months,what turns out to be true is exactly the opposite of what he says is true. And nothing proves this more than his gratingly, completely phony line about voting your hopes not your fears.
Obama has done nothing in the entire election cycle except promote people's fears.That and if you don't support him you are a racist.
His finger mongering ranges from McCain will be another Bush (when its Obama who has embraced more Bush polices than McCain), McCain will screw the middle class on taxes, or McCain will keep us in Iraq indefinitely (when its Obama who has embraced the idea of a permanent 55,000 man force in Iraq. Also, while I opposed the surge as did Obama, the candidate who claims to be this great visionary was wrong, I was wrong, McCain was right. The surge worked).
But there is nothing Obama has used more to encourage people to vote their fears than Roe v. Wade.
Obama has been fear mongering Roe for a long time and by the tenor of some comments received here the last time this subject was dealt with, many swallow his fear mongering(though also, many don't).
Obama uses fear mongering Roe as the ace in the hole he ( and the unscrupulous wing of the Democratic Party) likes to play with women voters, the bloc he has the most problems with, to get them on board and in some cases he has been successful.
The problem is those who seem to buy into his fear mongering on Roe seem to pose the same irrational arguments as his rank and file supporters do with other issues and their main argument is that Roe would be preserved under Obama but be overturned under McCain.
As a proposition in logic and common sense that is total and complete nonsense. And the difference between the fear mongering by Obama and his supporters over Roe and how it is just that -- fear mongering -- is applying logic, reason and facts, something that always interferes with Obama and his supporters, but can be fun to dispense with at Halloween.
To give one example of the kind of irrationality gripping some with regards to Roe is an email I received from a woman whose name I obviously wont reveal. But I am reprinting her words here verbatim.
"You Hillary supporters who are voting for McCain/Palin because you're PEEVED!!! What is wrong with you?
How PEEVED will you be when you lose some of the rights we've fought for all these years when the Supreme Court takes them away? I, for one, don't want to see my daughter forced to be barefoot, pregnant, and out with a shotgun slaughtering moose for dinner!!"
I realize this is an extreme example. I don't know how much thought this woman has given to the fact that if her daughter ended up that way it might be because this woman leaves something to be desired in the way of motherhood, not to mention her daughter's own misbegotten choices rather than the fault of the government, but it does show how irrational the fears can become over Roe and how willing Obama is to exploit them.
To those who actually think a McCain presidency would lead to the overturning of Roe there are a number of things called facts to deal with first that expose that as being unfounded.
The main argument people try to make regarding Roe being overturned if McCain becomes President, is that he will appoint more conservative judges thereby insuring that Roe will be overturned. So the first question is, (which sounds like the set up to a joke) how many conservative judges do these people think it takes to overturn Roe? Nine?
Keep in mind, the reason Bush is President is because of the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision in Gore vs. Florida. Many legal scholars believe it was one the Supreme Court's darkest hours because the decision was based on politics not law. They have a point because it should be noted that the Supreme Court reversed the Florida Supreme court's ruling which did nothing but uphold Florida law but the Supreme Court never did strike down the law the Florida court was upholding as unconstitutional, only the decision to uphold it.
But the point regarding Roe is, that the 5-4 decision showed we had a conservative and right leaning court as far back as 2000. Had it been left leaning Bush would not have been President.
Since that decision Bush has had two additional conservative judges confirmed, Roberts and Alito.So the question must be asked, with a clearly conservative court in place now and having been in place really since 2000 and in the past 3 years has grown even more conservative with a conservative Chief Justice, and with a President who has stated publicly he opposes Roe on moral and religious grounds, and with a Justice Department that congressional hearings showed was highly political, why hasn't there been one single challenge to Roe during the entire Bush presidency? Why hasn't it been overturned already? You don't need nine conservative justices. All it takes is 5-4. So why hasn't it been overturned ?
If you don't know the answer to that and you are one of the fear mongers or one of the victims of it, you need to think about that and answer it before buying into the nonsense that a McCain presidency even if there were nine conservative justices, would result in Roe being overturned. It wouldn't.
And it wouldn't not only for the same reasons there hasn't been one single challenge to Roe during the Bush presidency, with a conservative court, a conservative President and a politicized justice department, I cant think of one single supreme court challenge to Roe in the 40 some odd years its been in existence. Maybe there has been and if there has I'm sure someone will point it out but I cant think of one. And there are reasons for that too.
You don't just say "goody we have a majority on the court we are going to overturn all the decisions we don't like". It doesn't work that way. And 99% of the people who are both fear mongering Roe or buying into Obama's fear mongering really don't know what it takes to get a case to the Supreme Court and one they will even take.
Which is why you haven't seen one single challenge to Roe in the 8 years Bush has been President or in the last 3 when the court has been even more heavily weighted to the right.
Roe is in no danger of being overturned in a McCain Presidency in spite how some who succumb to the fear mongering or those who want to fear monger, try and say that it will. Their biggest and emptiest argument is that McCain has said that he thinks it was wrongly decided. But there has been no President more strongly opposed to Roe than Bush and Reagan opposed it also and there were no challenges to Roe during either Presidency. And it wouldn't have mattered if there were. They could have had nine conservative judges on the court rather than five and it wouldn't have mattered.
Roe is safe. It is the law of the land and anyone who tried to challenge it would be rebuffed by lower courts. Appellate courts would rule against them on appeal. And on what grounds would they ( and no one can even say who "they" are) bring such a suit, since you have to have standing to bring such a law suit and who would have the standing to bring one against a woman to stop her from exercising her rights that have already been established and ruled Constitutional under Roe?
Someone has to say who would bring such a suit and on what grounds before they can even start to fear monger that a conservative court ( which we already have) would overturn Roe. The answer to both questions is obvious since it hasn't happened in 40 years.
There are substantial reasons there haven't been any challenges to Roe in 40 years or the last 8 or the last 3 .But reason and Obama and his supporters have proved to be mutually exclusive elements. After all, why use reason, logic and facts when they will get you nowhere and fear mongering will?
And that is what Obama was doing when he said at the last debate that the outcome of this election has Roe hanging in the balance ( if he could have played a phrase of Brahms organ music to make you shudder he would have).
This isn't the first time Obama has been caught in empty fear mongering. He did it in Ohio over NAFTA telling the voters of Ohio that if he were elected he would get rid of NAFTA while at the same time sending an emissary to the Consul at the Canadian embassy in Chicago to tell them not to pay any attention to anything Obama says publicly that he has no intention of getting rid of NAFTA, and that everything he says is all politics, maneuvering and posturing.
Telling people to ignore everything he says is probably the best advice Obama has ever given in his life. Hopefully a lot of people will take it and the end of Obama's tricks will be our treat.
Friday, October 24, 2008
This commercial will start to run this weekend in Ohio. It will also run with 3 others in Ohio and in Florida next weekend just prior to the election. Its unfortunate that in their desire to win at any cost, the upper echelon of the Democratic Party decided to rig the roll call vote at the convention instead of just letting procedures take its course, and unscrupulous media outlets and journalists like Jonathan Alter at Newsweek, Katherine Q Seeley at the New York Times, the Nation, Bill Richardson and others who tried to bully Obama into the nomination, decided dishonesty was the best policy and produced a candidate to fit that policy.
These commericals will try to undo all that and do the job the media refused to do.
Since someone asked how they can contribute online to the running of this commerical I'm installing a donate button below. Just click to donate and no contribution is too small. As Ive told others, $5 from a thousand people buys just as much air time as $5,000 from one person.
NOTE: These commericals are now running in Florida and will continue to run in both Florida and Michigan this weekend.